Recap of the uRos2017 conference

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Editor’s Note: This post comes from Nicoleta Caragea, uRos2017 conference organizer. uRos2017 is a conference held in November 2017  for collaboration around the use of R in Romania.  Through the RUGS program, R Consortium was honored to be a sponsor for this event. If you have an smaller event you would like support for, stay tuned for the official program announcement in early 2018.

uRos2017 conference

The International Conference New Challenges for Statistical Software – The Use of R in Official Statistics – uRos2017, the fifth in a series of events, organized at Romanian NIS dedicated to the use of R Project in Romania, was held between 6-7 of November 2017. The conference, which provides a public forum for researchers from academia and institutes of statistics, brought together over 60 participants from 20 countries (Austria, Canada, Columbia, Croatia, France, Deutschland, Italy, Irak, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey). Moreover, representatives from Eurostat and other international organizations (United Nations/UNIDO and FAO) attended as guests.

Not only was uRos2017 an opportunity to develop new ideas and cooperation in the field of official statistics, the event once again demonstrated the significant role played by National Institute of Statistics in the official statistics and gives Romania a prominent spot on the map of useRs.

uRos2017 growth

Throughout the five editions of the event, the international participation has increased exponentially.

The event hosted, besides the presentations, eight workshops lectured by prestigious professionals from official statistics and academia:

  • Mark van der Loo (Statistics Netherlands), Statistical data cleaning with R
  • Valentin Todorov (United Nations Industrial Development Organization), R in the statistical office: the UNIDO experience
  • Bernhard Meindl (Statistics Austria), Current developments in R-packages sdcMicro and sdcTable for statistical disclosure control
  • Marcello D’Orazio (Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations), Outlier detection in R: some remarks
  • Camelia Goga (Institut de Mathématiques de Bourgogne, Université de Bourgogne, France), Survey sampling techniques with R
  • Hervé Cardot (Institut de Mathématiques de Bourgogne, Université de Bourgogne, France), Fast robust center estimation, clustering and Principal Components Analysis with large samples in high dimension with R
  • Bogdan Oancea (National Institute of Statistics/University of Bucharest, Romania) and Ciprian Alexandru (National Institute of Statistics/Ecological University of Bucharest, Romania), From unstructured data to structured data – Web scraping for Official Statistics
  • Elena Druică (University of Bucharest, Department of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Romania), Working with the ‘pglm’ package in R. Explaining the number of nosocomial infections in Romanian hospitals

uRos2017 speakers 1 uRos2017 speakers 2

The proceedings of the conference, which took place in parallel sections and included 22 presentations and 8 thematic workshops, will be published in two issues of Romanian Statistical Review: no. 4/2017 and no. 1/2018. The first one has already been published and handed to the participants during the conference, and the second one will be released in March 2018.

Romanian Statistical Review 4/2017A novelty of this year’s edition is that the conference joined with “International Conference On Computing, Mathematics And Statistics 2017” (iCMS2017), held in Langkawi Island, Malaysia. Nicolaas Jan Dirk Nagelkerke, Matthias Templ and Martin Everett delivered keynote talks at uRos2017 Asia Pacific/iCMS2017.

As a satellite event of uRos2017, a meeting between Japan’s, Austria’s (UN/UNIDO) and Romanian NIS representatives took place on November 8. The meeting was an opportunity to exchange ideas and knowledge. The discussions regarded the following subjects:

  • Modernization of Romanian Official Statistics
  • The use of R in statistical surveys
  • Data editing (outlier detection, imputation etc.)
  • Generation of statistical reports using R with Sweave/knitr
  • Online data collection for business statistics surveys

You can find more information about uRos2017 at the conference website.

The R-omanian team, has agreed to organize uRos2018 together with our colleagues from CBS-Netherlands. Keep in contact on:

Q1 2017 ISC Grants

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by Hadley Wickham and Joseph Rickert

The Infrastructure Steering Committee (ISC) was very pleased with both the quantity and quality of proposals received during the recent round of funding which closed on February 10th. Funding decisions were difficult. In the end, the ISC awarded grants to ten of the twenty-seven proposals it received for a total award of $234,000. Here is a brief summary of the projects that received awards.

Adding Linux Binary Builders to R-Hub – Award: $15,000. Primary Contact: Dirk Eddelbuettel (edd at

This project proposes to take the creation of binary Linux packages to the next level by providing R-Hub with the ability to deliver directly installable binary packages with properly-resolved dependencies. This will allow large-scale automated use of CRAN packages anywhere: laptops, desktops, servers, cluster farms and cloud-based deployments.

The project would like to hear from anyone who could possibly host a dedicated server in a rack for long term use.

An Infrastructure for Building R Packages on MacOS with Hombrew – Award: $12,000. Primary Contact: Jeroen Ooms (jeroenooms at

When installing CRAN packages, Windows and MacOS users often rely on binary packages that contain precompiled source code and any required external C/C++ libraries. By eliminating the need to set up a full compiler environment or manage external libraries this tremendously improves the usability of R on these platforms. Our project will improve the system by adapting the popular Homebrew system to facilitate static linking of external libraries.

Conference Management System for R Consortium Sponsored Conferences – Award: $19,000. Primary Contact: Heather Turner (ht at

This project will evaluate a number of open source conference management systems to assess their suitability for use with useR! and satRdays. Test versions of these systems will be set up to test their functionality and ease of use for all roles (systems administrator, local organizer, program chair, reviewer, conference participant). A system will be selected and a production system set up, with a view to be ready for useR! 2018 and future satRdays events.

Continued Development of the R API for Distributed Computing – Award:  $15,000. Primary Contact: Michael Lawrence (michafla at

The ISC’s Distributed Computing Working Group explores ways of enabling distributed computing in R. One of its outputs, the CRAN package ddR, defines an idiomatic API that abstracts different distributed computing engines, such as DistributedR and potentially Spark and TensorFlow. The goal of the project is to enable R users to interact with familiar data structures and write code that is portable across distributed systems.

The working group will use this R Consortium grant to fund an internship to help improve ddR and implement support for one or more additional backends. Please contact Michael Lawrence to apply or request additional information.

Establishing  DBI – Award: $26,500. Primary Contact Kirill Müller (krlmlr at

Getting data in and out of R is an important part of a statistician’s or data scientist’s work. If the data reside in a database, this is best done with a backend to DBI, R’s native DataBase Interface. The ongoing “Improving DBI” project supports the DBI specification, both in prose and as an automated test. It also supports the adaptation of the `RSQLite` package to these specs. This follow-up project aims to implement a modern, fully spec-compliant DBI backends to two major open-source RDBMS, MySQL/MariaDB and PostgreSQL.

Forwards Workshops for Women and Girls – Award $25,000. Primary Contact: Dianne Cook (rowforwards at

The proportion of female package authors and maintainers has remained persistently low, at best at 15%, despite 20 years of the R project’s existence. This project will conduct a grassroots effort to increase the participation of women in the R community. One day package development workshops for women engaged in research will be held in Melbourne, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand in 2017, and at locations yet to be determined in the USA and Europe in 2018. Additionally, one day workshops for teenage girls focused on building Shiny apps will be developed to encourage an interest in programming. These will be rolled out in the same locations as the women’s workshops. All materials developed will be made available under a Creative Commons share-alike license on the Forwards website (

Joint Profiling of Native and R Code – Award: $11,000. Primary Contact: Kirill Müller (krlmlr at

R has excellent facilities for profiling R code: the main entry point is the Rprof() function that starts an execution mode where the R call stack is sampled periodically, optionally at source line level, and written to a file. Profiling results can be analyzed with summaryRprof(), or visualized using the profvis,  aprof, or GUIProfiler packages. However, the execution time of native code is only available in bulk, without detailed source information.

This project aims at bridging this gap with a drop-in replacement to Rprof() that records call stacks and memory usage information at both R and native levels, and later commingles them to present a unified view to the user.

R-hub #2 – Award: $89,500. Primary Contact: Gábor Csárdi (csardi.gabor at

R-hub is the first top level project of the R Consortium. The first stage of the project created a multi-platform, R package build server. This proposal includes the maintenance of the current R-hub infrastructure and a number of improvements and extensions including:

  1. R-hub as the first step of package submissions to CRAN
  2. R package reverse dependency checks, on R-hub and locally
  3. General R code execution, on all R-hub platforms
  4. Check and code quality badges
  5. Database of CRAN code
  6. The CRAN code browser

School of Data Material Development – Award: $11,200. Primary Contact: Heidi Seibold (heidi at

School of Data is a network of data literacy practitioners, both organizations and individuals, implementing training and other data literacy activities in their respective countries and regions. Members of School of Data work to empower civil society organizations (CSOs), journalists, civil servants and citizens with the skills they need to use data effectively in their efforts to create better, more equitable and more sustainable societies

Our R consortium will develop learning materials about R for journalists, with a focus on making them accessible and relevant to journalists from various countries. As a consequence, our content will use country-relevant examples and will be translated in several languages (English, French, Spanish, German).

Stars: Scalable, Spatiotemporal Tidy Arrays for R – Award: $10,000. Primary Contact Edzer Pebesma (edzer.pebesma at

Spatiotemporal and raster data often come as dense, two-dimensional arrays while remote sensing and climate model data are often presented as higher dimensional arrays. Data sets of this kind often do not fit in main memory. This project will make it easier to handle such data with R by using dplyr-style, pipe-based workflows, and also consider the case where the data reside remotely, in a cloud environment. Questions and offers to support are welcome through issues at: .


ISC Project Status Webinar

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Join us for a webinar on Jan 31, 2017 at 9:30 AM PST.

View Recording

Hear about R Consortium activities by watching the first ISC Project Status Webinar held on Tuesday, January 31st at 9:30AM PST (5:30PM GMT), 2017. Join us for 5 minute lightning talks on each active R Consortium project including:

  • R Hub – Gabor Csárdi
  • SatRdays -Gergely Daroczi
  • A Unified Framework for Distributed Computing in R – Michael Lawrence
  • Simple Features for R – Edzer Pebesma
  • Interactive data manipulation in mapview -Tim Appelhans
  • R Documentation Task Force – Andrew Redd
  • R-Ladies – Gabriela de Queiroz
  • Software Carpentry R Instructor Training – Laurent Gatto
  • Improving DBI – Kirill Mueller
  • RL10N: R Localization Proposal – Richard Cotton
  • RC RUGS (R Consortium) – Joseph Rickert
  • Future-proof native APIs for R – Lukas Stadler
  • Code Coverage Tooling for R – Jim Hester
  • RIOT Workshops – Lukas Stadler

The webinar will run approximately 90 minutes

Join us at Watson DevCon November 9 – 10

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Join us,  November 9-10 at the Watson Developer Conference (R Consortium is co-sponsoring the event), at the Innovation Hangar in SanFrancisco, CA, for an opportunity to learn about the latest Watson technologies.  Also meet some of the Watson teams and partners who are building with cognitive, real-time.

This event will give you everything you need to build and learn about Watson. From weekend hacker to seasoned app builder, the conference is designed to have a little bit of something for everyone. Take a look at the full experience below:

The Hands-On Experience:

Labs: Dig into code tutorials on the latest Watson APIs—including conversation, vision, andmore—to learn the basics from the ground up and get tips from Watson developers.

1:1 Conversations with LeadersGet concrete examples of in-market applications and tips toadd machine learning to your projects. Chat 1:1 with leading thinkers like Francesco D’Orazio,VP of Product at Pulsar, to dive deeper into your unique use case.

SpotlightsLearn where Watson is going with speakers like Rama Akkiraju, DistinguishedEngineer and Master Inventor at IBM, in 45-minute sessions packed with actionableinformation. Hear from expert panelists, including Shay Strong, Data Scientist at OmniEarth, andChris Messina, Developer Experience Lead at Uber.

Certification: Become one of the first certified Watson Application Developers and arm yourselfwith the experience you need to build the next big app using machine learning.

Competition: Competitive? Us too. Show off your skills during the onsite coding challenges. Or,prep a project to compete in one of the bot competitions.

Register now using our discount code WATSONRCONS for 20% off. More questions? Connect with Zach Walchuk, Developer Evangelist for IBM Watson, on Slack.

R-Hub – Public Beta

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R Hub – Public Beta
Oct 25, 2016 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM PDT

R-HUB, the most significant project that the R Consortium has funded to date, is making progress. The major goal of R-Hub is to develop a modern platform for simplifying and improving the R package development process. It will provide facilities to assist package creation, building binaries, and for publishing, distributing and maintaining packages.

Gábor Csárdi, R-Hub’s lead developer, will describe the latest development in R-Hub RC 1.0 and provide an overview of the first public beta.

Thank you for your interest in attending the R Hub Webinar. The Event has concluded. You can catch up by watching the video below.

Register and View Recording