Your verification ID is: guDlT7MCuIOFFHSbB3jPFN5QLaQ Big Computing: Lighting Talks at Ruser Group Meetups

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lighting Talks at Ruser Group Meetups

Recently there has been an increase in the number of lighting talks at Ruser Group Meetups. I first saw this type of talk at the R/Finance 2011 conference in Chicago at UIC. They were without a doubt the best group of talks from that conference. Lighting talks allow groups to cover a wide range of topics in a shallow dive for the listener to further investigate in the future if he or she wants to.

The lighting talks also provide a great format to present some of the more basic topics needed to develop the new R users and remind the more experienced user of good practice. I have become slightly concerned as of late that the R meetups were doing presentations of such a technical level that we were potentially alienating an important group in the R community, the newer user.

I am not sure if there were other people who agreed with me or if it is just a coincidence, but Lighting talks has swept through the Meetup world like a firestorm in the last month. The NYC Predictive Analytics Meetup did a series of Lighting talks as did the NYC Rusers Meetup. I believe they have already posted the presentations on the links that I have provided. The files and videos of presentations posted on these Group Meetup sites are a valuable resource that you should use even if you did not go to the presentation.

On July 13 the Greater Boston Area Ruser Group is doing as series of 5 lighting talks on Predictive Analytics in R, the GoogleViz package, R image cluster and 3D visualizations, RGraphViz and BiomaRt. On July 12 the Los Angeles Ruser Meetup is doing three quick talks on R for Multilevel Modeling, Unit testing and Debugging in R and calling C from R.

Another thing to note is a number of these lighting talks featured a presentation by the guys from RStudio. I think their IDE has quickly become the de facto user interface for R. It has shown itself to be useful to the experienced user, and an invaluable tool to speed up the learning curve for the new user. A friend of mine used RStudio in a class he taught in the spring, and he was astounded by how much faster his students become capable R users compared to when he taught this same class with RStudio in the past. That is a pretty strong endorsement from I guy who I know prefers to program from the command line.


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