Dear R users,
Here you are my last post on the useR! in Aalborg in which I will try to sum up what emerged from the conference, at least from my point of view since I wasn't able to take part to all Contributed Talks: I unfortunately still haven't the gift of ubiquity. My colleague at Quantide, Nicola, will publish his contribute next week.
First of all, I would say, if it were necessary, that dplyr is really spreading a lot all over the world: this package was present in lots of the Contributed Talks and was also underlined by Romain François, together with Rcpp and RcppParallel, in the first Invited Talk. Even in Quantide we are trying to manage data with dplyr whenever it's possible.
Another field which in my opinion is developing a lot is web scraping and connection between R and databases: lots of new techniques and R packages to do it are arising and most of the existing ones are growing up very quickly.
Dealing with R IDEs, RStudio has really reached a world standard level, even if there would be other ones, like Architect which could be very interesting. However my sensation is that they probably arrived too late with respect to RStudio.
Concerning with statistics modeling I noticed that almost all Contributed Talks about it dealt with random forests: this statistical technique seems to be very powerful in lots of situations, thus I advice to invest time to learn and use it appropriately.
Furthermore Spatial statistics is developing faster and faster and even here R seems to keep its pace, also because lots of people, in a very clever way from my point of view, link the growth of spatial statistics to the growth of some R packages to deal with spatial data.
See you soon, at the next Chronicle...
Dear R users, ten days after the conference here you are still one post to describe, through a miscellanea, some not less interesting things of the useR in Aalborg...
First of all let me and my colleague Nicola thank Google Maps: without it we would seriously risk to miss our flight from Milan Linate's airport since on the usual way from Padua to Milan a big accident occurred.
Already as landing in Denmark we saw a first very curious thing: the airport of Aalborg is in the middle of the countryside and while landing a tractor had to yield to our airplane!
The conference venue is a wonderful and equipped place with a big garden outside, where there are several stones, each of one with the name of a different singer; furthermore by pushing a botton on the stones, famous songs of the singers are played. Elton John's stone was playing music all the time...
Among sponsors, it was curious to see Quantide at the same level of Google and IBM... proud of that for me and Nicola!
We found Aalborg apparently an empty and quite town but if you go to the movida neighborhood of the town, called Jomfru Ane Gade, you find a very nice and famous street with lots of pubs and disco pubs. The strange thing is that, differently from Italy, the movida neighborhood is the cheapest one: half liter beers starting from 1-2 € (against the 5-6 € of other neighborhoods) and shots from 0.80 €... I let you imagine which are the conditions of the Danes (and mine, too) in the morning! Another particular thing is that if you go out to drink something at 11 P.M. and come back home at 3 A.M., you stay all night long outside: nights in Denmark are really short, just 3 hours more or less (in summer, obviously...).
The Conference Dinner was the most original conference dinner I have ever attended! They brought us in the Rold Forest, the second biggest forest in Denmark. Here we were received by some people dressed as Danish bandits who pretended to capture the most beautiful girls of the useR! It was really funny! After that they led us inside the forest in a clearing of the forest where we could eat (a lot of) meat and drink (a lot of) beer and wine (open bar...) or improvise archery, axe and saw competitions... (Could you imagine 400 geek and drunk people throwing arrows or axes and sawing trunks?!?)
During these activities the atmosphere to "play an Italy vs. France" arose: my colleague Nicola, me and Federico, a very pleasant guy who is attending a PhD in Mainz, against three French useRs. We tried to give them 2006's revenge, but obviously the final result was the same: Italy won! To be precise we won 2-1: we lost in archery (my performance, in particular, was really a disaster!) but won in axe throwing (thanks to Federico's 3/3 targets) and in sawing, where me and Nicola were much faster than our French friends.
I eventually came home with more Norwegian (5 Crowns) than Danish money (3 Crowns). Even the coins, besides the languages, are very similar in these two countries...
Aalborg is a nice town, but probably not so used to great events like this: the airport of Aalborg was literally blocked. Finally, when coming back it was very funny to see that the first return flight to Amsterdam (then we took a second flight from Amsterdam to Milan Linate) for at least 80% consisted of useRs and it resembled a useR charter flight!
See you soon, at the next Chronicle...
I survived to the Conference Dinner and I took the last bus (you should have participated at useR or read the post of day 2 to understand...), and this morning I woke up in Aalborg for the third (and last) time.
After a keynote session by Thomas Lumley on How flexible computing expands what an individual can do, my colleague Enrico and I attended the Sponsor Session. This was one of the most interesting sessions of the conference, because they showed us a lot of tools for using R in business environments. The only Diamond Sponsor was DataRobot, whose platform focuses on modeling and prediction. Then it was the Platinum Sponsors' turn: RStudio talked about its several tools (IDE, Shiny, R packages, shinyapps.io), Teradata showed how they integrate R on its platform for big data, while Revolution Analytics is actually a division of Microsoft and their presentation concentrated on Azure. Finally, Gold Sponsors had their ten minutes each: Alteryx showed its data pipelining engine and a visual programming framework, TIBCO introduced TIBCO Enterprise Runtime for R (TERR), H2O illustrated its platform for model guessing, while HP introduced HP Distributed R.
After the last keynote speaking by Steffen Lauritzen on Linear estimating equations for Gaussian graphical models with symmetry, the conference ended with a goodbye to next year in Stanford, California, USA.
Now, Enrico and I are waiting for the bus which will take us to the airport. This night we will arrive to our houses and on Monday we will resume our work in Quantide, but Chronicles from useR! doesn't stop here... Next weeks, Enrico and I will publish some great new articles, including photos, funniest moments and curiosities, in-depth analysis on R topics and so on...
As written by my colleague Nicola in the post of day 1, yesterday evening I had some beers with some guys of the conference. After having seen the sunrise, I went to sleep at 3 AM, but anyway this morning I was ready for the second day of the useR!
After a keynote session by Di Cook on the main interactive plotting methods which have been used with S and R in the last twenty years, I attended the Regression session, where I saw two interesting developments of LMMs and GLMMs besides other specific topics. Nicola, instead, went to Commercial Offerings session and got in touch with several R's implementations for business.
In the afternoon I went to Teaching 1 session, which talked about tips and hints for effective lectures with R. In particular I found very interesting Manipulation of Discrete Random Variables in R with DiscreteRV by Eric Hare, who proposes a package to explain random variables in R in a very comprehensible way. Nicola went to Visualization 1 session and he found very interesting for his work tmap: creating thematic maps in a flexible way by Martijn Tennekes.
Tonight there will be the useR Conference Dinner. The dinner will take place in Rold Forest, the second largest forest in Denmark. This morning we were not supposed to participate at this event but... a kind guy left the conference in advance and gave me its ticket for free. Quantide bought the ticket also for my colleague and as a consequence we will be also able to participate to competitive games, such as long sawings, axe hurling and archery during the dinner!My last oral session I attended at this useR! was Machine Learning 2 where I found Machine Learning for Internal Product Measurements by Douglas Mason the most interesting speaking. Nicola went to Training 2 session and he was hit by Gail Potter speaking about Web Applications Teaching Tools for Statistics Using Shiny and R.The afternoon keynote speaker was Susan Holmes who dealt with human microbiome data.
If we don't miss the bus for coming back at 11 PM, tomorrow we will still be here at useR and will share our experience with you. See you tomorrow with Chronicles from useR!
Today I woke up for the first time in Aalborg. My colleague Enrico, who yesterday wrote the first post about this expedition, and I left from the hotel, walked through an underpass and came out in a wonderful park! In the end of this park there is the Aalborg Kongres & Kultur Center, the conference venue.
The first keynote speaker was Romain François, who shared with us some of his experiences with Rcpp, RcppParallel and dplyr. After that we had a tasty coffee break sponsored by Quantide. Then I attended the Reproducibility session, where I found particularly interesting rOpenSci: A suite of reproducible research tools in R by Karthik Ram and Simple reproducibility with the checkpoint package by David Smith (Revolution Analytics), whereas Enrico went to the Network session and his favourite seminar was Web scraping with R - A fast track overview by Peter Meißner.
In the afternoon I attended Computational Performance session. I admit I didn't understand everything, but thanks to James Harner and his seminar Running R+Hadoop using Docker Containers I got an introduction to R and Hadoop; moreover I got some tips on good programming practices in Refactoring the xtable Package by David Scott. Enrico, instead, went to Data Management session, where there was the great contribution of Hadley Wickham, which made an interesting review of the most recent ways to import different kinds of data into R. For example he showed readxl and readr features.
The afternoon keynote speaker was Adrian Baddeley who dealt with spatial data.
Yesterday at the bus stop of the airport the first attendee we met was Friedrich Schuster, the first speaker of the Kaleidoscope (3) session, who talked about Coding for the enterprise server - what does it mean for you?, giving the important point of view of a software engineer to the R programming. Furthermore I found out the Architect IDE for R. Enrico attended Databases session, where the speakers presented several methods for putting R into connection with databases.
Now we go to have a beer, see you tomorrow with the Chronicles from useR!