R course - The Basics

1.  Concept

This seminar addresses everybody who is interested in learning R from scratch.

This workshop is also intended as a preparation for the advanced modules and courses in applied statistics and data analysis as well as data visualisation, which require some scripting skills.

There will be

  • a little theory
  • focus on technical aspects (not on interpretation)
  • time for questions and answers
  • hands-on training based on the requests you write in the comment field of the registration form. Feel free to approach us with your data

2.  Organizational issues

Instructor: Fabian Gans
Date: Tue & Wed, March 17-18, 2015
Starting time: 9.00 am
Place: Seminar room B0.002 (MPI-BGC)


3.  Content of the course

Intro & Graphics - Tuesday morning (9-12 am)

  • RStudio & R as a calculator, operations: +-*/, sum
  • Read and Write files
  • Data types: logical, numeric, character ...
  • Data structures: vectors, matrices, lists, data.frames, arrays
  • navigating the R universe: finding help, searching documentation, finding the right packages/functions for the right purpose.
  • High-level graphic functions
    • plot, barplot, boxplot, contour, curve, hist, image, mosaicplot, pairs, persp
  • Low-level graphic functions
    • abline, arrows, axis,grid, legend, lines, mtext, points, polygon, text, title
  • Saving graphics
    • pdf, png ...


Basic statistics & Programming 101 - Wednesday morning (9-12 am)

  • Univariate descriptive statistics
    • mean, median, quantile, range, min, max, var, sd
    • plot, hist, boxplot
  • Multivariate descriptive statistics
    • cov, cor
    • linear regression: lm, summary, plot.lm
  • Conditions
    • if, else
  • Loops and friends
    • for, while, apply & co
  • Functions
  • Debugging (with Thomas Wutzler)
  • Processing of character strings
    • match, grep, paste, strsplit, sub, gsub ...

Introduction to NetCDF
- Wednesday afternoon (1-2 pm) In preparation for the skill course 'Applied statistics & data analysis'

  • Reading and writing

4.  What you need to prepare

Bring a laptop and make sure that a recent version of R and R Studio is running on it.

You can download the most recent version here: http://www.r-project.org/
RStudio is a new open-source integrated development environment that runs on all platforms. It nicely combines console, script editor, working directory, plots etc. into a an uncluttered layout that you can easily navigate. You need to have R installed before you can use RStudio as a development environment.

Please also make sure that you can access the internet via WLAN (BGC-users, if you have a BGC-account; BGC-guests, if you don't have an account)


5.  Material

This is the course material from last year.

More R… Here is a list of useful online resources to accelerate your progress.


6.  Interested?

  • Register here by March 5, 2015.

7.  Feedback

13 out of 18 participants filled in the survey by March 31, 2015. Thanks a lot for participating in this survey! Your feedback is valuable because it helps the instructors and organizers to improve the individual modules and the general structure of the course.
The survey results are available here. Statistics and statements should not be taken as an exhaustive or exclusive list.

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