R Consortium’s R User Group and Small Conference Support Program (RUGS) is made to support R groups around the world by providing grants to help R groups organize, share information and support each other. Unlike many groups over this past year, the R groups in Taiwan did not have as long a disruption as other groups did. Can they provide a glimpse of how the rest of the world can hold regular meetings? Do they have a way to mix the wave of virtual meetings along with local meetings? We talked with Kristen Chan, current R-Ladies Taipei organizer, to find out more.
RC: What is the R community like in Taiwan?
In Taiwan, we have two R communities, one is R-Ladies Taipei which I host, and another one is Taiwan R user group. Both of the R communities promote and build up venues for friendly data discussion. We welcome talks on any data topics such as Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Data Analytics, Data Engineering, and meet every Monday night. The last Monday of every month is reserved for women.
RC: In the past year, did you have to change your techniques to connect and collaborate with members?
In Taiwan, at the very beginning of 2020, we stopped the face-to-face meetup and started thinking about how we can continue to maintain the meetup. But how lucky we are! Taiwan’s CDC has the pandemic under control, so we can do everything as normal. So we still have the regular meetup, but we require everyone to wear masks to protect each other during the event.
RC: Can you tell us about one recent presentation or speaker that was especially interesting and what was the topic and why was it so interesting?
In October 2020 we held a satRday conference. It was the first time we had this satRday event and also it is the first one in Asia. And it was tough to make this conference happen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, we had invited Yihui Xie who works for RStudio to give us a wonderful talk. We are using the online meeting to make this happen. The topic is R Markdown. It was an interesting and unforgettable presentation because most of us don’t have the experience to talk to the author directly, so all the attendances were learned a lot.
RC: Do you know of any data journalism efforts by your members? If not, are there particular data journalism projects that you’ve seen in the last year that you feel had a positive impact on society?
Yes, some of our members are reporters. They are learning R and some BI tools to help them deal with the data cleaning and make some graphs to let people know more about information.
And we also have a community called “知了新聞 Cicadata.” It’s a community about data journalism and its goal is that they want the data journalism field more open. By the way, one of the founders of 知了新聞 is also Taiwan R user group’s current organizer.
RC: When is your next event? Please give details!
We are still planning the event. But I think we will have a series of beginner tutorialmeetups to let more people know R.
RC: Of the Funded Projects by the R Consortium, do you have a favorite project? Why is it your favorite?
My favorite project is “Consolidating R-Ladies Global organizational guidance and wisdom”. Because of the diversity issue, it touched me more.
RC: Of the Active Working Groups, which is your favorite? Why is it your favorite?
My favorite is “Distributed Computing.” Because the data becomes bigger and we need to deal with that and also want to save some time, what we need is Distributed Computing.
How do I Join?
R Consortium’s R User Group and Small Conference Support Program (RUGS) provides grants to help R groups around the world organize, share information and support each other. We have given grants over the past 4 years, encompassing over 65,000 members in 35 countries. We would like to include you! Cash grants and meetup.com accounts are awarded based on the intended use of the funds and the amount of money available to distribute. We are now accepting applications!