New RCommander with ggplot #rstats


My favorite GUI (or one of them) R Commander has a relatively new plugin called KMGGplot2. Until now Deducer was the only GUI with ggplot features , but the much lighter and more popular R Commander has been a long champion in people wanting to pick up R quickly.

RcmdrPlugin.KMggplot2: Rcmdr Plug-In for Kaplan-Meier Plot and Other Plots by Using the ggplot2 Package


As you can see by the screenshot- it makes ggplot even easier for people (like R  newbies and experienced folks alike)


This package is an R Commander plug-in for Kaplan-Meier plot and other plots by using the ggplot2 package.

Version: 0.1-0
Depends: R (≥ 2.15.0), stats, methods, grid, Rcmdr (≥ 1.8-4), ggplot2 (≥ 0.9.1)
Imports: tcltk2 (≥ 1.2-3), RColorBrewer (≥ 1.0-5), scales (≥ 0.2.1), survival (≥ 2.36-14)
Published: 2012-05-18
Author: Triad sou. and Kengo NAGASHIMA
Maintainer: Triad sou. <triadsou at>
License: GPL-2
CRAN checks: RcmdrPlugin.KMggplot2 results


NEWS file for the RcmdrPlugin.KMggplot2 package


Changes in version 0.1-0 (2012-05-18)

 o Restructuring implementation approach for efficient
 o Added options() for storing package specific options (e.g.,
   font size, font family, ...).
 o Added a theme: theme_simple().
 o Added a theme element: theme_rect2().
 o Added a list box for facet_xx() functions in some menus
   (Thanks to Professor Murtaza Haider).
 o Kaplan-Meier plot: added confidence intervals.
 o Box plot: added violin plots.
 o Bar chart for discrete variables: deleted dynamite plots.
 o Bar chart for discrete variables: added stacked bar charts.
 o Scatter plot matrix: added univariate plots at diagonal
   positions (ggplot2::plotmatrix).
 o Deleted the dummy data for histograms, which is large in


Changes in version 0.0-4 (2011-07-28)

 o Fixed "scale_y_continuous(formatter = "percent")" to
   "scale_y_continuous(labels = percent)" for ggplot2
   (>= 0.9.0).
 o Fixed "legend = FALSE" to "show_guide = FALSE" for
   ggplot2 (>= 0.9.0).
 o Fixed the DESCRIPTION file for ggplot2 (>= 0.9.0) dependency.


Changes in version 0.0-3 (2011-07-28; FIRST RELEASE VERSION)

 o Kaplan-Meier plot: Show no. at risk table on outside.
 o Histogram: Color coding.
 o Histogram: Density estimation.
 o Q-Q plot: Create plots based on a maximum likelihood estimate
   for the parameters of the selected theoretical distribution.
 o Q-Q plot: Create plots based on a user-specified theoretical
 o Box plot / Errorbar plot: Box plot.
 o Box plot / Errorbar plot: Mean plus/minus S.D.
 o Box plot / Errorbar plot: Mean plus/minus S.D. (Bar plot).
 o Box plot / Errorbar plot: 95 percent Confidence interval
   (t distribution).
 o Box plot / Errorbar plot: 95 percent Confidence interval
 o Scatter plot: Fitting a linear regression.
 o Scatter plot: Smoothing with LOESS for small datasets or GAM
   with a cubic regression basis for large data.
 o Scatter plot matrix: Fitting a linear regression.
 o Scatter plot matrix: Smoothing with LOESS for small datasets
   or GAM with a cubic regression basis for large data.
 o Line chart: Normal line chart.
 o Line chart: Line char with a step function.
 o Line chart: Area plot.
 o Pie chart: Pie chart.
 o Bar chart for discrete variables: Bar chart for discrete
 o Contour plot: Color coding.
 o Contour plot: Heat map.
 o Distribution plot: Normal distribution.
 o Distribution plot: t distribution.
 o Distribution plot: Chi-square distribution.
 o Distribution plot: F distribution.
 o Distribution plot: Exponential distribution.
 o Distribution plot: Uniform distribution.
 o Distribution plot: Beta distribution.
 o Distribution plot: Cauchy distribution.
 o Distribution plot: Logistic distribution.
 o Distribution plot: Log-normal distribution.
 o Distribution plot: Gamma distribution.
 o Distribution plot: Weibull distribution.
 o Distribution plot: Binomial distribution.
 o Distribution plot: Poisson distribution.
 o Distribution plot: Geometric distribution.
 o Distribution plot: Hypergeometric distribution.
 o Distribution plot: Negative binomial distribution.

Book Review- Machine Learning for Hackers

This is review of the fashionably named book Machine Learning for Hackers by Drew Conway and John Myles White (O’Reilly ). The book is about hacking code in R.


The preface introduces the reader to the authors conception of what machine learning and hacking is all about. If the name of the book was machine learning for business analytsts or data miners, I am sure the content would have been unchanged though the popularity (and ambiguity) of the word hacker can often substitute for its usefulness. Indeed the many wise and learned Professors of statistics departments through out the civilized world would be mildly surprised and bemused by their day to day activities as hacking or teaching hackers. The book follows a case study and example based approach and uses the GGPLOT2 package within R programming almost to the point of ignoring any other native graphics system based in R. It can be quite useful for the aspiring reader who wishes to understand and join the booming market for skilled talent in statistical computing.

Chapter 1 has a very useful set of functions for data cleansing and formatting. It walks you through the basics of formatting based on dates and conditions, missing value and outlier treatment and using ggplot package in R for graphical analysis. The case study used is an Infochimps dataset with 60,000 recordings of UFO sightings. The case study is lucid, and done at a extremely helpful pace illustrating the powerful and flexible nature of R functions that can be used for data cleansing.The chapter mentions text editors and IDEs but fails to list them in a tabular format, while listing several other tables like Packages used in the book. It also jumps straight from installation instructions to functions in R without getting into the various kinds of data types within R or specifying where these can be referenced from. It thus assumes a higher level of basic programming understanding for the reader than the average R book.

Chapter 2 discusses data exploration, and has a very clear set of diagrams that explain the various data summary operations that are performed routinely. This is an innovative approach and will help students or newcomers to the field of data analysis. It introduces the reader to type determination functions, as well different kinds of encoding. The introduction to creating functions is quite elegant and simple , and numerical summary methods are explained adequately. While the chapter explains data exploration with the help of various histogram options in ggplot2 , it fails to create a more generic framework for data exploration or rules to assist the reader in visual data exploration in non standard data situations. While the examples are very helpful for a reader , there needs to be slightly more depth to step out of the example and into a framework for visual data exploration (or references for the same). A couple of case studies however elaborately explained cannot do justice to the vast field of data exploration and especially visual data exploration.

Chapter 3 discussed binary classification for the specific purpose for spam filtering using a dataset from SpamAssassin. It introduces the reader to the naïve Bayes classifier and the principles of text mining suing the tm package in R. Some of the example codes could have been better commented for easier readability in the book. Overall it is quite a easy tutorial for creating a naïve Bayes classifier even for beginners.

Chapter 4 discusses the issues in importance ranking and creating recommendation systems specifically in the case of ordering email messages into important and not important. It introduces the useful grepl, gsub, strsplit, strptime ,difftime and strtrim functions for parsing data. The chapter further introduces the reader to the concept of log (and affine) transformations in a lucid and clear way that can help even beginners learn this powerful transformation concept. Again the coding within this chapter is sparsely commented which can cause difficulties to people not used to learn reams of code. ( it may have been part of the code attached with the book, but I am reading an electronic book and I did not find an easy way to go back and forth between the code and the book). The readability of the chapters would be further enhanced by the use of flow charts explaining the path and process followed than overtly verbose textual descriptions running into multiple pages. The chapters are quite clearly written, but a helpful visual summary can help in both revising the concepts and elucidate the approach taken further.A suggestion for the authors could be to compile the list of useful functions they introduce in this book as a sort of reference card (or Ref Card) for R Hackers or atleast have a chapter wise summary of functions, datasets and packages used.

Chapter 5 discusses linear regression , and it is a surprising and not very good explanation of regression theory in the introduction to regression. However the chapter makes up in practical example what it oversimplifies in theory. The chapter on regression is not the finest chapter written in this otherwise excellent book. Part of this is because of relative lack of organization- correlation is explained after linear regression is explained. Once again the lack of a function summary and a process flow diagram hinders readability and a separate section on regression metrics that help make a regression result good or not so good could be a welcome addition. Functions introduced include lm.

Chapter 6 showcases Generalized Additive Model (GAM) and Polynomial Regression, including an introduction to singularity and of over-fitting. Functions included in this chapter are transform, and poly while the package glmnet is also used here. The chapter also introduces the reader formally to the concept of cross validation (though examples of cross validation had been introduced in earlier chapters) and regularization. Logistic regression is also introduced at the end in this chapter.

Chapter 7 is about optimization. It describes error metric in a very easy to understand way. It creates a grid by using nested loops for various values of intercept and slope of a regression equation and computing the sum of square of errors. It then describes the optim function in detail including how it works and it’s various parameters. It introduces the curve function. The chapter then describes ridge regression including definition and hyperparameter lamda. The use of optim function to optimize the error in regression is useful learning for the aspiring hacker. Lastly it describes a case study of breaking codes using the simplistic Caesar cipher, a lexical database and the Metropolis method. Functions introduced in this chapter include .Machine$double.eps .

Chapter 8 deals with Principal Component Analysis and unsupervised learning. It uses the ymd function from lubridate package to convert string to date objects, and the cast function from reshape package to further manipulate the structure of data. Using the princomp functions enables PCA in R.The case study creates a stock market index and compares the results with the Dow Jones index.

Chapter 9 deals with Multidimensional Scaling as well as clustering US senators on the basis of similarity in voting records on legislation .It showcases matrix multiplication using %*% and also the dist function to compute distance matrix.

Chapter 10 has the subject of K Nearest Neighbors for recommendation systems. Packages used include class ,reshape and and functions used include cor, function and log. It also demonstrates creating a custom kNN function for calculating Euclidean distance between center of centroids and data. The case study used is the R package recommendation contest on Kaggle. Overall a simplistic introduction to creating a recommendation system using K nearest neighbors, without getting into any of the prepackaged packages within R that deal with association analysis , clustering or recommendation systems.

Chapter 11 introduces the reader to social network analysis (and elements of graph theory) using the example of Erdos Number as an interesting example of social networks of mathematicians. The example of Social Graph API by Google for hacking are quite new and intriguing (though a bit obsolete by changes, and should be rectified in either the errata or next edition) . However there exists packages within R that should be atleast referenced or used within this chapter (like TwitteR package that use the Twitter API and ROauth package for other social networks). Packages used within this chapter include Rcurl, RJSONIO, and igraph packages of R and functions used include rbind and ifelse. It also introduces the reader to the advanced software Gephi. The last example is to build a recommendation engine for whom to follow in Twitter using R.

Chapter 12 is about model comparison and introduces the concept of Support Vector Machines. It uses the package e1071 and shows the svm function. It also introduces the concept of tuning hyper parameters within default algorithms . A small problem in understanding the concepts is the misalignment of diagram pages with the relevant code. It lastly concludes with using mean square error as a method for comparing models built with different algorithms.


Overall the book is a welcome addition in the library of books based on R programming language, and the refreshing nature of the flow of material and the practicality of it’s case studies make this a recommended addition to both academic and corporate business analysts trying to derive insights by hacking lots of heterogeneous data.

Have a look for yourself at-

Facebook and R

Part 1 How do people at Facebook use R?

tamar Rosenn, Facebook

Itamar conveyed how Facebook’s Data Team used R in 2007 to answer two questions about new users: (i) which data points predict whether a user will stay? and (ii) if they stay, which data points predict how active they’ll be after three months?

For the first question, Itamar’s team used recursive partitioning (via the rpartpackage) to infer that just two data points are significantly predictive of whether a user remains on Facebook: (i) having more than one session as a new user, and (ii) entering basic profile information.

For the second question, they fit the data to a logistic model using a least angle regression approach (via the lars package), and found that activity at three months was predicted by variables related to three classes of behavior: (i) how often a user was reached out to by others, (ii) frequency of third party application use, and (iii) what Itamar termed “receptiveness” — related to how forthcoming a user was on the site.


and cute graphs like the famous



studying baseball on facebook

by counting the number of posts that occurred the day after a team lost divided by the total number of wins, since losses for great teams are remarkable and since winning teams’ fans just post more.


But mostly at and


and creating new packages

1. jjplot (not much action here!)


I liked the promise of JJplot at

2. ising models

3. R pipe


even the FB interns are cool


Part 2 How do people with R use Facebook?

Using the API at

and code mashes from

but the wonderful troubleshooting code from

which needs to be added to the code first


and using network package


Annoyingly the Facebook token can expire after some time, this can lead to huge wait and NULL results with Oauth errors

If that happens you need to regenerate the token

What we need
> require(RCurl)
> require(rjson)
> download.file(url=”;, destfile=”cacert.pem”)

Roman’s Famous Facebook Function (altered)

> facebook <- function( path = “me”, access_token , options){
+ if( !missing(options) ){
+ options <- sprintf( “?%s”, paste( names(options), “=”, unlist(options), collapse = “&”, sep = “” ) )
+ } else {
+ options <- “”
+ }
+ data <- getURL( sprintf( “;, path, options, access_token ), cainfo=”cacert.pem” )
+ fromJSON( data )
+ }


Now getting the friends list
> friends <- facebook( path=”me/friends” , access_token=access_token)
> # extract Facebook IDs
> <- sapply(friends$data, function(x) x$id)
> # extract names
> <- sapply(friends$data, function(x) iconv(x$name,”UTF-8″,”ASCII//TRANSLIT”))
> # short names to initials
> initials <- function(x) paste(substr(x,1,1), collapse=””)
> friends.initial <- sapply(strsplit(,” “), initials)

This matrix can take a long time to build, so you can change the value of N to say 40 to test your network. I needed to press the escape button to cut short the plotting of all 400 friends of mine.
> # friendship relation matrix
> N <- length(
> friendship.matrix <- matrix(0,N,N)
> for (i in 1:N) {
+ tmp <- facebook( path=paste(“me/mutualfriends”,[i], sep=”/”) , access_token=access_token)
+ mutualfriends <- sapply(tmp$data, function(x) x$id)
+ friendship.matrix[i, %in% mutualfriends] <- 1
+ }


Plotting using Network package in R (with help from the  comments at

> require(network)


> plot(net1, label=friends.initial, arrowhead.cex=0)

(Rgraphviz is tough if you are on Windows 7 like me)

but there is an alternative igraph solution at


After all a graph..of my Facebook Network with friends initials as labels..


Opinion piece-

I hope plans to make the Facebook R package get fulfilled (just as the twitteR  package led to many interesting analysis)

and also Linkedin has an API at

I think it would be interesting to plot professional relationships across social networks as well. But I hope to see a LinkedIn package (or blog code) soon.

As for jjplot, I had hoped ggplot and jjplot merged or atleast had some kind of inclusion in the Deducer GUI. Maybe a Google Summer of Code project if people are busy!!

Also the geeks at can think of giving something back to the R community, as Google generously does with funding packages like RUnit, Deducer and Summer of Code, besides sponsoring meet ups etc.


(note – this is part of the research for the upcoming book ” R for Business Analytics”)



but didnt get time to download all my posts using R code at

or do specific Facebook Page analysis using R at


 #access token from
# download the file needed for authentication
download.file(url="", destfile="cacert.pem")
facebook <- function( path = "me", access_token = token, options){
if( !missing(options) ){
options <- sprintf( "?%s", paste( names(options), "=", unlist(options), collapse = "&", sep = "" ) )
} else {
options <- ""
data <- getURL( sprintf( "", path, options, access_token ), cainfo="cacert.pem" )
fromJSON( data )

 # see

# scrape the list of friends
friends <- facebook( path="me/friends" , access_token=access_token)
# extract Facebook IDs <- sapply(friends$data, function(x) x$id)
# extract names <- sapply(friends$data, function(x)  iconv(x$name,"UTF-8","ASCII//TRANSLIT"))
# short names to initials 
initials <- function(x) paste(substr(x,1,1), collapse="")
friends.initial <- sapply(strsplit(," "), initials)

# friendship relation matrix
#N <- length(
N <- 200
friendship.matrix <- matrix(0,N,N)
for (i in 1:N) {
  tmp <- facebook( path=paste("me/mutualfriends",[i], sep="/") , access_token=access_token)
  mutualfriends <- sapply(tmp$data, function(x) x$id)
  friendship.matrix[i, %in% mutualfriends] <- 1
plot(net1, label=friends.initial, arrowhead.cex=0)

Created by Pretty R at

Tableau Interactive "Viz" Contest

The Las Vegas Sign.
Image via Wikipedia
One more contest- open only for US though
but the prizes are hmm okay. The catch is you have to use the software Tableau created 
not R or J or ggobi or ggplot or java

Check out

Tableau Interactive “Viz” Contest


Win a trip to Vegas and a chance for $2,000 & an iPad2

Are you a business, finance or real estate geek? This contest is for you! In cooperation with The Economist Ideas Economy conference, the Tableau Software Interactive “Viz” Contest will focus on business, finance and real estate data… Find some data then use Tableau Public to analyze and visualize it. That’s all it takes.

What you’ll win

A 3-day trip to Las Vegas and a chance to win $2,000 & an iPad2

The winner chosen by our judges will also take away a free roundtrip ticket to attend the2011 Tableau Customer Conference. This includes 3 night’s accommodations at theEncore and a chance to compete in the Iron Viz championship with the winners of two other contests. The winner of Iron Viz will take away a new iPad2, and $2,000.

Cash for the crowd favorite

After entering you’ll receive a custom link to your viz. Tweet, Facebook and e-mail that link to everyone you can! Whoever gets the most clicks through their link will become our Crowd Favorite and receive a $250 debit card.

Recognition from The Economist Ideas Economy

Your winning entry will be announced live on stage at The Economist Ideas Economy conference, and Tableau will issue a national press release naming the winner.

Everyone who enters gets a t-shirt!

Everyone who enters will get a very cool Tableau t-shirt. The winner will also receive increased Tableau Public limits and a free copy of Tableau Desktop (a $1999 value)!

How it works

(Click on the steps to expand and get the details.)
 Check the box to view all steps and details.

  • Step 1

    Download the FREE Tableau Public tool

  • Step 2

    Create and publish your “viz” to your blog or website

  • Step 3

    Submit your entry formFill out the entry form and submit by June 3, 2011. A panel of judges will evaluate all submissions based on overall appeal, design elements, and data analysis/findings.

Contest Rules Summary

The following contest is open to legal residents of the United Sates only. You must publish your “viz” on your blog or website to be qualified. Submission form must be submitted by June 3, 2011. Winners will be notified by June 7, 2010. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Please read all the rules in their entirety before entering.

Using Color Palettes in R

If you like me, are unable to decide whether blue or brown is a better color for graph- color palettes in R are a big help for aesthetically acceptable alternatives.

Using the same graphs, I choose the 5 main kinds of color palettes, using them is as easy as specifying the col= parameter in graphical display in Base Graphs. And I modified the n parameter for number of colors to be used- you can specify more or less depending how much you want the gradient or difference in colors to be.

> hist(VADeaths,col=heat.colors(7))

> hist(VADeaths,col=terrain.colors(7))

Continue reading “Using Color Palettes in R”

R Journal Dec 2010 and R for Business Analytics

A Bold GNU Head
Image via Wikipedia

I almost missed out on the R Journal for this month- great reading,

and I liked Dr Hadley’s article on stringr package the best. Really really useful package and nice writing too

(incidentally I just downloaded a local copy of his ggplot website at

I aim to really read that one up

Okay, announcement time

I just signed a contract with Springer for a book on R, some what in first half of 2011

” R for Business Analytics

its going to be a more business analytics than a stats perspective ( I am a MBA /Mech Engineer)

and use cases would be business analytics cases. Do write to me if you need help doing some analytics in R (business use cases)- or want something featured. Big focus would be on GUI and easier analytics, using the Einsteinian principle to make things as simple as possible but no simpler)

The Gospel as per WikiLeaks

Logo used by Wikileaks
Image via Wikipedia

– First Assume Nothing-

I would be very surprised if 260,000 documents and not even one was a counter-intelligence dis information move. Why was ALL the information stored in one place- maybe Wikileaks would leak the launch codes of the missiles next.

One more data visualization for Tableau– R watchers can not how jjplot by Facebook Analytics and Tableau are replacing GGPLOT 2 as visualization standards- (GGPLOT 2 needs a better GUI maybe using pyqt than the Deducer currently- maybe they can create GGPLOT extensions for Red R yet)

and yes stranger stupid things have happened in diplomacy and intelligence (like India exploding the nuclear bomb on exactly the same date and same place —-surprising CIA, but we are supposed to be on the same side atleast for the next decade) but it would be wrong not to cross reference the cables with the some verification.

Tableau gives great data viz though, but I dont think all 260,000 cables are valid data points (and boy they must really be regretting creating the internet at DARPA and DoD- but you can always blame Al Gore for that)