Interview Rob J Hyndman Forecasting Expert #rstats

Here is an interview with Prof Rob J Hyndman who has created many time series forecasting methods and authored books as well as R packages on the same.

Ajay -Describe your journey from being a student of science to a Professor. What were some key turning points along that journey?
 
Rob- I started a science honours degree at the University of Melbourne in 1985. By the end of 1985 I found myself simultaneously working as a statistical consultant (having completed all of one year of statistics courses!). For the next three years I studied mathematics, statistics and computer science at university, and tried to learn whatever I needed to in order to help my growing group of clients. Often we would cover things in classes that I’d already taught myself through my consulting work. That really set the trend for the rest of my career. I’ve always been an academic on the one hand, and a statistical consultant on the other. The consulting work has led me to learn a lot of things that I would not otherwise have come across, and has also encouraged me to focus on research problems that are of direct relevance to the clients I work with.
I never set out to be an academic. In fact, I thought that I would get a job in the business world as soon as I finished my degree. But once I completed the degree, I was offered a position as a statistical consultant within the University of Melbourne, helping researchers in various disciplines and doing some commercial work. After a year, I was getting bored doing only consulting, and I thought it would be interesting to do a PhD. I was lucky enough to be offered a generous scholarship which meant I was paid more to study than to continue working.
Again, I thought that I would probably go and get a job in the business world after I finished my PhD. But I finished it early and my scholarship was going to be cut off once I submitted my thesis. So instead, I offered to teach classes for free at the university and delayed submitting my thesis until the scholarship period ran out. That turned out to be a smart move because the university saw that I was a good teacher, and offered me a lecturing position starting immediately I submitted my thesis. So I sort of fell into an academic career.
I’ve kept up the consulting work part-time because it is interesting, and it gives me a little extra money. But I’ve also stayed an academic because I love the freedom to be able to work on anything that takes my fancy.
Ajay- Describe your upcoming book on Forecasting.
 
Rob- My first textbook on forecasting (with Makridakis and Wheelwright) was written a few years after I finished my PhD. It has been very popular, but it costs a lot of money (about $140 on Amazon). I estimate that I get about $1 for every book sold. The rest goes to the publisher (Wiley) and all they do is print, market and distribute it. I even typeset the whole thing myself and they print directly from the files I provided. It is now about 15 years since the book was written and it badly needs updating. I had a choice of writing a new edition with Wiley or doing something completely new. I decided to do a new one, largely because I didn’t want a publisher to make a lot of money out of students using my hard work.
It seems to me that students try to avoid buying textbooks and will search around looking for suitable online material instead. Often the online material is of very low quality and contains many errors.
As I wasn’t making much money on my textbook, and the facilities now exist to make online publishing very easy, I decided to try a publishing experiment. So my new textbook will be online and completely free. So far it is about 2/3 completed and is available at http://otexts.com/fpp/. I am hoping that my co-author (George Athanasopoulos) and I will finish it off before the end of 2012.
The book is intended to provide a comprehensive introduction to forecasting methods. We don’t attempt to discuss the theory much, but provide enough information for people to use the methods in practice. It is tied to the forecast package in R, and we provide code to show how to use the various forecasting methods.
The idea of online textbooks makes a lot of sense. They are continuously updated so if we find a mistake we fix it immediately. Also, we can add new sections, or update parts of the book, as required rather than waiting for a new edition to come out. We can also add richer content including video, dynamic graphics, etc.
For readers that want a print edition, we will be aiming to produce a print version of the book every year (available via Amazon).
I like the idea so much I’m trying to set up a new publishing platform (otexts.com) to enable other authors to do the same sort of thing. It is taking longer than I would like to make that happen, but probably next year we should have something ready for other authors to use.
Ajay- How can we make textbooks cheaper for students as well as compensate authors fairly
 
Rob- Well free is definitely cheaper, and there are a few businesses trying to make free online textbooks a reality. Apart from my own efforts, http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/ is producing a lot of free textbooks. And textbookrevolution.org is another great resource.
With otexts.com, we will compensate authors in two ways. First, the print versions of a book will be sold (although at a vastly cheaper rate than other commercial publishers). The royalties on print sales will be split 50/50 with the authors. Second, we plan to have some features of each book available for subscription only (e.g., solutions to exercises, some multimedia content, etc.). Again, the subscription fees will be split 50/50 with the authors.
Ajay- Suppose a person who used to use forecasting software from another company decides to switch to R. How easy and lucid do you think the current documentation on R website for business analytics practitioners such as these – in the corporate world.
 
Rob- The documentation on the R website is not very good for newcomers, but there are a lot of other R resources now available. One of the best introductions is Matloff’s “The Art of R Programming”. Provided someone has done some programming before (e.g., VBA, python or java), learning R is a breeze. The people who have trouble are those who have only ever used menu interfaces such as Excel. Then they are not only learning R, but learning to think about computing in a different way from what they are used to, and that can be tricky. However, it is well worth it. Once you know how to code, you can do so much more.  I wish some basic programming was part of every business and statistics degree.
If you are working in a particular area, then it is often best to find a book that uses R in that discipline. For example, if you want to do forecasting, you can use my book (otexts.com/fpp/). Or if you are using R for data visualization, get hold of Hadley Wickham’s ggplot2 book.
Ajay- In a long and storied career- What is the best forecast you ever made ? and the worst?
 
 Rob- Actually, my best work is not so much in making forecasts as in developing new forecasting methodology. I’m very proud of my forecasting models for electricity demand which are now used for all long-term planning of electricity capacity in Australia (see  http://robjhyndman.com/papers/peak-electricity-demand/  for the details). Also, my methods for population forecasting (http://robjhyndman.com/papers/stochastic-population-forecasts/ ) are pretty good (in my opinion!). These methods are now used by some national governments (but not Australia!) for their official population forecasts.
Of course, I’ve made some bad forecasts, but usually when I’ve tried to do more than is reasonable given the available data. One of my earliest consulting jobs involved forecasting the sales for a large car manufacturer. They wanted forecasts for the next fifteen years using less than ten years of historical data. I should have refused as it is unreasonable to forecast that far ahead using so little data. But I was young and naive and wanted the work. So I did the forecasts, and they were clearly outside the company’s (reasonable) expectations, and they then refused to pay me. Lesson learned. It’s better to refuse work than do it poorly.

Probably the biggest impact I’ve had is in helping the Australian government forecast the national health budget. In 2001 and 2002, they had underestimated health expenditure by nearly $1 billion in each year which is a lot of money to have to find, even for a national government. I was invited to assist them in developing a new forecasting method, which I did. The new method has forecast errors of the order of plus or minus $50 million which is much more manageable. The method I developed for them was the basis of the ETS models discussed in my 2008 book on exponential smoothing (www.exponentialsmoothing.net)

. And now anyone can use the method with the ets() function in the forecast package for R.
About-
Rob J Hyndman is Pro­fessor of Stat­ist­ics in the Depart­ment of Eco­no­met­rics and Busi­ness Stat­ist­ics at Mon­ash Uni­ver­sity and Dir­ector of the Mon­ash Uni­ver­sity Busi­ness & Eco­nomic Fore­cast­ing Unit. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Inter­na­tional Journal of Fore­cast­ing and a Dir­ector of the Inter­na­tional Insti­tute of Fore­casters. Rob is the author of over 100 research papers in stat­ist­ical sci­ence. In 2007, he received the Moran medal from the Aus­tralian Academy of Sci­ence for his con­tri­bu­tions to stat­ist­ical research, espe­cially in the area of stat­ist­ical fore­cast­ing. For 25 years, Rob has main­tained an act­ive con­sult­ing prac­tice, assist­ing hun­dreds of com­pan­ies and organ­iz­a­tions. His recent con­sult­ing work has involved fore­cast­ing elec­tri­city demand, tour­ism demand, the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment health budget and case volume at a US call centre.

New Free Online Book by Rob Hyndman on Forecasting using #Rstats

From the creator of some of the most widely used packages for time series in the R programming language comes a brand new book, and its online!

This time the book is free, will be updated and 7 chapters are ready (to read!)

. If you do forecasting professionally, now is the time to suggest your own use cases to be featured as the book gets ready by end- 2012. The book is intended as a replace­ment for Makri­dakis, Wheel­wright and Hyn­d­man (Wiley 1998).

http://otexts.com/fpp/

The book is writ­ten for three audi­ences:

(1) people find­ing them­selves doing fore­cast­ing in busi­ness when they may not have had any for­mal train­ing in the area;

(2) undergraduate stu­dents study­ing busi­ness;

(3) MBA stu­dents doing a fore­cast­ing elec­tive.

The book is dif­fer­ent from other fore­cast­ing text­books in sev­eral ways.

  • It is free and online, mak­ing it acces­si­ble to a wide audience.
  • It is con­tin­u­ously updated. You don’t have to wait until the next edi­tion for errors to be removed or new meth­ods to be dis­cussed. We will update the book frequently.
  • There are dozens of real data exam­ples taken from our own con­sult­ing prac­tice. We have worked with hun­dreds of busi­nesses and orga­ni­za­tions help­ing them with fore­cast­ing issues, and this expe­ri­ence has con­tributed directly to many of the exam­ples given here, as well as guid­ing our gen­eral phi­los­o­phy of forecasting.
  • We empha­sise graph­i­cal meth­ods more than most fore­cast­ers. We use graphs to explore the data, analyse the valid­ity of the mod­els fit­ted and present the fore­cast­ing results.

A print ver­sion and a down­load­able e-version of the book will be avail­able to pur­chase on Ama­zon, but not until a few more chap­ters are written.

Contents

(Ajay-Support the open textbook movement!)

If you’ve found this book helpful, please consider helping to fund free, open and online textbooks. (Donations via PayPal.)

Look for yourself at http://otexts.com/fpp/

 

Interview James G Kobielus IBM Big Data

Here is an interview with  James G Kobielus, who is the Senior Program Director, Product Marketing, Big Data Analytics Solutions at IBM. Special thanks to Payal Patel Cudia of IBM’s communication team,for helping with the logistics for this.

Ajay -What are the specific parts of the IBM Platform that deal with the three layers of Big Data -variety, velocity and volume

James-Well first of all, let’s talk about the IBM Information Management portfolio. Our big data platform addresses the three layers of big data to varying degrees either together in a product , or two out of the three or even one of the three aspects. We don’t have separate products for the variety, velocity and volume separately.

Let us define these three layers-Volume refers to the hundreds of terabytes and petabytes of stored data inside organizations today. Velocity refers to the whole continuum from batch to real time continuous and streaming data.

Variety refers to multi-structure data from structured to unstructured files, managed and stored in a common platform analyzed through common tooling.

For Volume-IBM has a highly scalable Big Data platform. This includes Netezza and Infosphere groups of products, and Watson-like technologies that can support petabytes volume of data for analytics. But really the support of volume ranges across IBM’s Information Management portfolio both on the database side and the advanced analytics side.

For real time Velocity, we have real time data acquisition. We have a product called IBM Infosphere, part of our Big Data platform, that is specifically built for streaming real time data acquisition and delivery through complex event processing. We have a very rich range of offerings that help clients build a Hadoop environment that can scale.

Our Hadoop platform is the most real time capable of all in the industry. We are differentiated by our sheer breadth, sophistication and functional depth and tooling integrated in our Hadoop platform. We are differentiated by our streaming offering integrated into the Hadoop platform. We also offer a great range of modeling and analysis tools, pretty much more than any other offering in the Big Data space.

Attached- Jim’s slides from Hadoop World

Ajay- Any plans for Mahout for Hadoop

Jim- I cant speak about product plans. We have plans but I cant tell you anything more. We do have a feature in Big Insights called System ML, a library for machine learning.

Ajay- How integral are acquisitions for IBM in the Big Data space (Netezza,Cognos,SPSS etc). Is it true that everything that you have in Big Data is acquired or is the famous IBM R and D contributing here . (see a partial list of IBM acquisitions at at http://www.ibm.com/investor/strategy/acquisitions.wss )

Jim- We have developed a lot on our own. We have the deepest R and D of anybody in the industry in all things Big Data.

For example – Watson has Big Insights Hadoop at its core. Apache Hadoop is the heart and soul of Big Data (see http://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/infosphere/hadoop/ ). A great deal that makes Big Insights so differentiated is that not everything that has been built has been built by the Hadoop community.

We have built additions out of the necessity for security, modeling, monitoring, and governance capabilities into BigInsights to make it truly enterprise ready. That is one example of where we have leveraged open source and we have built our own tools and technologies and layered them on top of the open source code.

Yes of course we have done many strategic acquisitions over the last several years related to Big Data Management and we continue to do so. This quarter we have done 3 acquisitions with strong relevance to Big Data. One of them is Vivisimo (http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/37491.wss ).

Vivisimo provides federated Big Data discovery, search and profiling capabilities to help you figure out what data is out there,what is relevance of that data to your data science project- to help you answer the question which data should you bring in your Hadoop Cluster.

 We also did Varicent , which is more performance management and we did TeaLeaf , which is a customer experience solution provider where customer experience management and optimization is one of the hot killer apps for Hadoop in the cloud. We have done great many acquisitions that have a clear relevance to Big Data.

Netezza already had a massively parallel analytics database product with an embedded library of models called Netezza Analytics, and in-database capabilties to massively parallelize Map Reduce and other analytics management functions inside the database. In many ways, Netezza provided capabilities similar to that IBM had provided for many years under the Smart Analytics Platform (http://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/infosphere/what-is-advanced-analytics/ ) .

There is a differential between Netezza and ISAS.

ISAS was built predominantly in-house over several years . If you go back a decade ago IBM acquired Ascential Software , a product portfolio that was the heart and soul of IBM InfoSphere Information Manager that is core to our big Data platform. In addition to Netezza, IBM bought SPSS two years back. We already had data mining tools and predictive modeling in the InfoSphere portfolio, but we realized we needed to have the best of breed, SPSS provided that and so IBM acquired them.

 Cognos– We had some BI reporting capabilities in the InfoSphere portfolio that we had built ourselves and also acquired for various degrees from prior acquisitions. But clearly Cognos was one of the best BI vendors , and we were lacking such a rich tool set in our product in visualization and cubing and so for that reason we acquired Cognos.

There is also Unica – which is a marketing campaign optimization which in many ways is a killer app for Hadoop. Projects like that are driving many enterprises.

Ajay- How would you rank order these acquisitions in terms of strategic importance rather than data of acquisition or price paid.

Jim-Think of Big Data as an ecosystem that has components that are fitted to particular functions for data analytics and data management. Is the database the core, or the modeling tool the core, or the governance tools the core, or is the hardware platform the core. Everything is critically important. We would love to hear from you what you think have been most important. Each acquisition has helped play a critical role to build the deepest and broadest solution offering in Big Data. We offer the hardware, software, professional services, the hosting service. I don’t think there is any validity to a rank order system.

Ajay-What are the initiatives regarding open source that Big Data group have done or are planning?

Jim- What we are doing now- We are very much involved with the Apache Hadoop community. We continue to evolve the open source code that everyone leverages.. We have built BigInsights on Apache Hadoop. We have the closest, most up to date in terms of version number to Apache Hadoop ( Hbase,HDFS, Pig etc) of all commercial distributions with our BigInsights 1.4 .

We have an R library integrated with BigInsights . We have a R library integrated with Netezza Analytics. There is support for R Models within the SPSS portfolio. We already have a fair amount of support for R across the portfolio.

Ajay- What are some of the concerns (privacy,security,regulation) that you think can dampen the promise of Big Data.

Jim- There are no showstoppers, there is really a strong momentum. Some of the concerns within the Hadoop space are immaturity of the technology, the immaturity of some of the commercial offerings out there that implement Hadoop, the lack of standardization for formal sense for Hadoop.

There is no Open Standards Body that declares, ratifies the latest version of Mahout, Map Reduce, HDFS etc. There is no industry consensus reference framework for layering these different sub projects. There are no open APIs. There are no certifications or interoperability standards or organizations to certify different vendors interoperability around a common API or framework.

The lack of standardization is troubling in this whole market. That creates risks for users because users are adopting multiple Hadoop products. There are lots of Hadoop deployments in the corporate world built around Apache Hadoop (purely open source). There may be no assurance that these multiple platforms will interoperate seamlessly. That’s a huge issue in terms of just magnifying the risk. And it increases the need for the end user to develop their own custom integrated code if they want to move data between platforms, or move map-reduce jobs between multiple distributions.

Also governance is a consideration. Right now Hadoop is used for high volume ETL on multi structured and unstructured data sources, or Hadoop is used for exploratory sand boxes for data scientists. These are important applications that are a majority of the Hadoop deployments . Some Hadoop deployments are stand alone unstructured data marts for specific applications like sentiment analysis like.

Hadoop is not yet ready for data warehousing. We don’t see a lot of Hadoop being used as an alternative to data warehouses for managing the single version of truth of system or record data. That day will come but there needs to be out there in the marketplace a broader range of data governance mechanisms , master data management, data profiling products that are mature that enterprises can use to make sure their data inside their Hadoop clusters is clean and is the single version of truth. That day has not arrived yet.

One of the great things about IBM’s acquisition of Vivisimo is that a piece of that overall governance picture is discovery and profiling for unstructured data , and that is done very well by Vivisimo for several years.

What we will see is vendors such as IBM will continue to evolve security features inside of our Hadoop platform. We will beef up our data governance capabilities for this new world of Hadoop as the core of Big Data, and we will continue to build up our ability to integrate multiple databases in our Hadoop platform so that customers can use data from a bit of Hadoop,some data from a bit of traditional relational data warehouse, maybe some noSQL technology for different roles within a very complex Big Data environment.

That latter hybrid deployment model is becoming standard across many enterprises for Big Data. A cause for concern is when your Big Data deployment has a bit of Hadoop, bit of noSQL, bit of EDW, bit of in-memory , there are no open standards or frameworks for putting it all together for a unified framework not just for interoperability but also for deployment.

There needs to be a virtualization or abstraction layer for unified access to all these different Big Data platforms by the users/developers writing the queries, by administrators so they can manage data and resources and jobs across all these disparate platforms in a seamless unified way with visual tooling. That grand scenario, the virtualization layer is not there yet in any standard way across the big data market. It will evolve, it may take 5-10 years to evolve but it will evolve.

So, that’s the concern that can dampen some of the enthusiasm for Big Data Analytics.

About-

You can read more about Jim at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/james-kobielus/6/ab2/8b0 or

follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jameskobielus

You can read more about IBM Big Data at http://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/bigdata/

Predictive Models Ain’t Easy to Deploy

 

This is a guest blog post by Carole Ann Matignon of Sparkling Logic. You can see more on Sparkling Logic at http://my.sparklinglogic.com/

Decision Management is about combining predictive models and business rules to automate decisions for your business. Insurance underwriting, loan origination or workout, claims processing are all very good use cases for that discipline… But there is a hiccup… It ain’t as easy you would expect…

What’s easy?

If you have a neat model, then most tools would allow you to export it as a PMML model – PMML stands for Predictive Model Markup Language and is a standard XML representation for predictive model formulas. Many model development tools let you export it without much effort. Many BRMS – Business rules Management Systems – let you import it. Tada… The model is ready for deployment.

What’s hard?

The problem that we keep seeing over and over in the industry is the issue around variables.

Those neat predictive models are formulas based on variables that may or may not exist as is in your object model. When the variable is itself a formula based on the object model, like the min, max or sum of Dollar amount spent in Groceries in the past 3 months, and the object model comes with transaction details, such that you can compute it by iterating through those transactions, then the problem is not “that” big. PMML 4 introduced some support for those variables.

The issue that is not easy to fix, and yet quite frequent, is when the model development data model does not resemble the operational one. Your Data Warehouse very likely flattened the object model, and pre-computed some aggregations that make the mapping very hard to restore.

It is clearly not an impossible project as many organizations do that today. It comes with a significant overhead though that forces modelers to involve IT resources to extract the right data for the model to be operationalized. It is a heavy process that is well justified for heavy-duty models that were developed over a period of time, with a significant ROI.

This is a show-stopper though for other initiatives which do not have the same ROI, or would require too frequent model refresh to be viable. Here, I refer to “real” model refresh that involves a model reengineering, not just a re-weighting of the same variables.

For those initiatives where time is of the essence, the challenge will be to bring closer those two worlds, the modelers and the business rules experts, in order to streamline the development AND deployment of analytics beyond the model formula. The great opportunity I see is the potential for a better and coordinated tuning of the cut-off rules in the context of the model refinement. In other words: the opportunity to refine the strategy as a whole. Very ambitious? I don’t think so.

About Carole Ann Matignon

http://my.sparklinglogic.com/index.php/company/management-team

Carole-Ann Matignon Print E-mail

Carole-Ann MatignonCarole-Ann Matignon – Co-Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer

She is a renowned guru in the Decision Management space. She created the vision for Decision Management that is widely adopted now in the industry.  Her claim to fame is managing the strategy and direction of Blaze Advisor, the leading BRMS product, while she also managed all the Decision Management tools at FICO (business rules, predictive analytics and optimization). She has a vision for Decision Management both as a technology and a discipline that can revolutionize the way corporations do business, and will never get tired of painting that vision for her audience.  She speaks often at Industry conferences and has conducted university classes in France and Washington DC.

She started her career building advanced systems using all kinds of technologies — expert systems, rules, optimization, dashboarding and cubes, web search, and beta version of database replication. At Cleversys (acquired by Kurt Salmon & Associates), she also conducted strategic consulting gigs around change management.

While playing with advanced software components, she found a passion for technology and joined ILOG (acquired by IBM). She developed a growing interest in Optimization as well as Business Rules. At ILOG, she coined the term BRMS while brainstorming with her Sales counterpart. She led the Presales organization for Telecom in the Americas up until 2000 when she joined Blaze Software (acquired by Brokat Technologies, HNC Software and finally FICO).

Her 360-degree experience allowed her to gain appreciation for all aspects of a software company, giving her a unique perspective on the business. Her technical background kept her very much in touch with technology as she advanced.

Using Opera Unite to defeat SOPA?

Lets assume that the big bad world of American electoral politics forces some kind of modified SOPA to be passed, and the big American companies have to abide by that law (just as they do share data  for National Security under Patriot Act but quitely).

I belive Opera Unite is the way forward to sharing content on the Internet.

From-

http://dev.opera.com/articles/view/opera-unite-developer-primer-revisited/

Opera Unite features a Web server running inside the Opera browser, which allows you to do some amazing things. At the touch of a button, you can share images, documents, video, music, games, collaborative applications and all manner of other things with your friends and colleagues

I can share music, and files , and the web server is actually my own laptop. try beating 2 billion new web servers that sprout!! File system sharing is totally secure- you can create private, public, or password protected files, a messaging system that can be used for drop messages (called fridge), a secure messaging system and your own web server is ready to start at a click. the open web may just use opera instead of chromium, and US regulation would be solely to blame. even URL blocking is of limited appeal thanks to software like MafiaWire Extension

Throw in Ad block, embedded bit torrent sharing and some more  Tor level encryption within the browser and sorry Senator, but the internet belongs to the planet not to your lobbyist.

see-http://dev.opera.com/web

Product Review – Revolution R 5.0

So I got the email from Revolution R. Version 5.0 is ready for download, and unlike half hearted attempts by many software companies they make it easy for the academics and researchers to get their free copy. Free as in speech and free as in beer.

Some thoughts-

1) R ‘s memory problem is now an issue of marketing and branding. Revolution Analytics has definitely bridged this gap technically  beautifully and I quote from their documentation-

The primary advantage 64-bit architectures bring to R is an increase in the amount of memory available to a given R process.
The first benefit of that increase is an increase in the size of data objects you can create. For example, on most 32-bit versions of R, the largest data object you can create is roughly 3GB; attempts to create 4GB objects result in errors with the message “cannot allocate vector of length xxxx.”
On 64-bit versions of R, you can generally create larger data objects, up to R’s current hard limit of 231 􀀀 1 elements in a vector (about 2 billion elements). The functions memory.size and memory.limit help you manage the memory used byWindows versions of R.
In 64-bit Revolution R Enterprise, R sets the memory limit by default to the amount of physical RAM minus half a gigabyte, so that, for example, on a machine with 8GB of RAM, the default memory limit is 7.5GB:

2) The User Interface is best shown as below or at  https://docs.google.com/presentation/pub?id=1V_G7r0aBR3I5SktSOenhnhuqkHThne6fMxly_-4i8Ag&start=false&loop=false&delayms=3000

-(but I am still hoping for the GUI ,Revolution Analytics promised us for Christmas)

3) The partnership with Microsoft HPC is quite awesome given Microsoft’s track record in enterprise software penetration

but I am also interested in knowing more about the Oracle version of R and what it will do there.

Ten steps to analysis using R

I am just listing down a set of basic R functions that allow you to start the task of business analytics, or analyzing a dataset(data.frame). I am doing this both as a reference for myself as well as anyone who wants to learn R- quickly.

I am not putting in data import functions, because data manipulation is a seperate baby altogether. Instead I assume you have a dataset ready for analysis and what are the top R commands you would need to analyze it.

 

For anyone who thought R was too hard to learn- here is ten functions to learning R

1) str(dataset) helps you with the structure of dataset

2) names(dataset) gives you the names of variables

3)mean(dataset) returns the mean of numeric variables

4)sd(dataset) returns the standard deviation of numeric variables

5)summary(variables) gives the summary quartile distributions and median of variables

That about gives me the basic stats I need for a dataset.

> data(faithful)
> names(faithful)
[1] "eruptions" "waiting"
> str(faithful)
'data.frame':   272 obs. of  2 variables:
 $ eruptions: num  3.6 1.8 3.33 2.28 4.53 ...
 $ waiting  : num  79 54 74 62 85 55 88 85 51 85 ...
> summary(faithful)
   eruptions        waiting
 Min.   :1.600   Min.   :43.0
 1st Qu.:2.163   1st Qu.:58.0
 Median :4.000   Median :76.0
 Mean   :3.488   Mean   :70.9
 3rd Qu.:4.454   3rd Qu.:82.0
 Max.   :5.100   Max.   :96.0

> mean(faithful)
eruptions   waiting
 3.487783 70.897059
> sd(faithful)
eruptions   waiting
 1.141371 13.594974

6) I can do a basic frequency analysis of a particular variable using the table command and $ operator (similar to dataset.variable name in other statistical languages)

> table(faithful$waiting)

43 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70
 1  3  5  4  3  5  5  6  5  7  9  6  4  3  4  7  6  4  3  4  3  2  1  1  2  4
71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96
 5  1  7  6  8  9 12 15 10  8 13 12 14 10  6  6  2  6  3  6  1  1  2  1  1
or I can do frequency analysis of the whole dataset using
> table(faithful)
         waiting
eruptions 43 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 62 63 64 65 66 67
    1.6    0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
    1.667  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0
    1.7    0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
    1.733  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0
.....output truncated
7) plot(dataset)
It helps plot the dataset

8) hist(dataset$variable) is better at looking at histograms

hist(faithful$waiting)

9) boxplot(dataset)

10) The tenth function for a beginner would be cor(dataset$var1,dataset$var2)

> cor(faithful)
          eruptions   waiting
eruptions 1.0000000 0.9008112
waiting   0.9008112 1.0000000

 

I am assuming that as a beginner you would use the list of GUI at http://rforanalytics.wordpress.com/graphical-user-interfaces-for-r/  to import and export Data. I would deal with ten steps to data manipulation in R another post.