The Art of R Programming – Matloff (2011)

It’s difficult to write a book on an entire programming language and keep it manageable and concise, but The Art of R Programming does it as well as any text I’ve seen. Matloff covers, in detail and among other things, R data structures, programming idioms, performance enhancements, interfaces with other languages, debugging and graphing.

Title:The Art of R Programming
Author(s): Norman Matloff
Publisher/Date: No Starch Press/2011
Statistics level: Very Low
Programming level: Intermediate
Overall recommendation: Highly Recommended

There is the requisite “Introduction to R” section that is present in almost all R texts, but any beginners who benefit from this chapter may benefit from re-reading ARP after some additional practical experience with R. The issues that Matloff addresses and the solutions he provides are more salient after you’ve spent hours trying to resolve them.

The section on graphing is a good overview, but the average programmer may find it less useful than the other sections. Anyone looking for graphic optimization tips will be better served by a book focused specifically on graphing.

With that minor critique in mind, put simply, The Art of R Programming is a must read for all intermediate level R programmers. It covers nearly every method of performance enhancement available and provides a review of key fundamentals that may have been forgotten or missed.

The Art of R ProgrammingOne point of note, this text focuses almost solely on programming – the statistical examples are a means to an end, not an end themselves. For that reason, this book is recommended for those seeking to improve the efficiency of their programming rather than their statistical acumen.

At around ~$25 USD from Amazon, The Art of R Programming is one of the best R text values available. I highly recommend it for almost all R users. (You can also purchase this book directly from the publisher and get both the print and e-book version for ~$40.)

Do playgrounds promote pantslessness?

I’m pretty sure they do. Yesterday at the playground (the indoor one, right in the middle of the most highly trafficked section of the mall), my daughter stopped abruptly in the middle of a game of tag to pull down her pants. As far as I can tell, there was no good reason for this but to see what would happen.

I don’t think she meant for us to catch her – my wife had just turned her back and my daughter didn’t realize I was looking – which makes me wonder how long she’s been doing it in public without us noticing.

Out of sheer shock I had the completely wrong response; I laughed like it was the funniest thing I had seen all day. (And it was. She was completely in devious mode, which always cracks me up.) To my credit, I was able to reign it in pretty quickly and gave her the “I mean business” look effectively enough that she pulled them back up on her own and saved me the embarrassment of chasing a half-naked, maniacally laughing toddler across a crowded playground.

She obviously does this all the time at home (hence her nickname on this site), but it did catch me off-guard out in public. Thankfully, the second time she did it while we were there I was prepared and gave a more appropriate, nonchalant response. After that she didn’t do it again.

We’ve been to this playground a few times before. This is the first time this has happened, but it’s always a crazy environment. So maybe it’s more that crowded playgrounds promote general insanity in humans below the age of 6 and this is just how our daughter’s insanity manifests.

Did/do any of you other parents experience this? If so, what is/was your response?