Introduction to R (Part 1)

Introduction to R (Part 1)


Basics Of R

Why Learn R ?

  • Free, Open Source, Cross Platform Compatible
  • No Windows, No Doors – R runs on all the platforms. Just name it and you got it!!
  • R is a language evolved from the Language S (created by Bell Technologies)
  • I bet plotting graphs could never have been easier
  • It is the leading open source statistical and data analysis programming language, as it handles and manipulates data too efficiently.

  • I personally recommend you to use R on UNIX machines . I haven’t tried it on Windows yet :P
  • Still not convinced ? Here is a list of things that R can do . Keep Counting !!

Having Fun with R

s <- readSudoku("c:/hard sudoku problem.txt")

Wondering what the above 4 lines of code can do ? Well It can solve the hardest Soduku Puzzle ever made ! Sounds Cool ?

Google “Making a word cloud in R” and see how easy it is !

Some Pre Requiste Knowledge

  • How to start R ?
  • Will their be an IDE where I can code ?

The installation instructions for various platforms (including Non UNIX products) can be found here

After Installation. Just open your terminal and type R

Some important things first

  • Whenever you are done with this language or simply wanna quit this Just type q()
  • Whenever you are struck anywhere just type help(commandname)
  • R is an expression language and is case sensitive
  • “R” & “r” are two different things

  • Whenever you type an expression, the value is calculated , printed and lost.
  • You better save the results of your expressions in a variable
  • An assignment also evaluates an expression and passes the value to a variable but the result is not automatically printed

  • Comments can be put anywhere starting with a Hashmark ( # )
  • Commands are separated either by a semi-colon ; or by a newline
  • If your command is incomplete R by default will give a + prompt and will continue to give a + prompt until your syntax is corrected.
  • NaN stands for Not a Number

Programming in R Finally

After reading so much about R . It’s time to really start coding

Loading commands in R

If you already have a .R extension file with certain commands already written , you can load it with the following syntax


Wanna store all the outputs for a particular session ?

sink (“nameoffile”)

Simliar to a UNIX terminal you can type ls() to view all the objects you created in R for a particular session.

The collection of objects currently stored is called the workspace

How to remove an object ?

Use rm(objectname1,objectname2)

Removing all objects


Try to understand this command on your own.It’s pretty easy

Data Types

Used Python ? R might look familiar!

You can do mathematical operations like

1+1 : Prints 2

Time to make vectors!

test : name of the variable where the vector is stored

` <-` : assignment operator (points in direction of the variable in which value is to be updated/stored)

c() : a function used to concatenate

a <-"Hello World"
b <-c("Hello ","World")

Here you can see different ways to defining the same string.

1:9 : Creates sequence : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

1.5:10 Creates sequence : 1.5 2.5 3.5 4.5 5.5 6.5 7.5 8.5 9.5

seq(intial,final,by,length) : Function use to create sequence; we can provide increment values or number of values

rep(): Function used for Replicating


Code Output
seq(1,5,by=1.5) 1.0 2.5 4.0
seq(1,5,length=9) 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0
rep(10,10) 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10

Try it yourself

Try to understand the code snippet below, guess the output and then run on R and check

temp <- 1:5
matrix(rep(temp,2), nrow = 2)

Operations on vector

You can do almost all possible arithemetic operations on a vector Adding 2 vectors of same size, different size, multiplying, dividing, log(),exp(),sin(), sum(),length(),var(),mean(),sort(),max(),min()

pmin and pmax :Returns parallel max and min of input values

Example Run these commands and you will get a clear idea of pmin and pmax

a <- c(10,3,7,9)
b <- c(9,4,6,4)
c -< c(9,6,8,6)

To intialize a vector with a value numeric() is used

a <- numeric(10)` : a has now value 10

An Intersting Thing to Note

Try the following commands

test <- numeric()
test[10] <- 1

You should now see NA’s in the vector

NA stands for Not Available

NA : Missing values are represented by the symbol NA (not available)

How to check for NA in a vector ? :


test <- c(1,2,3,NA)
check <-

check will be FALSE for non NA values and TRUE for NA values

How to remove NA values ? Let’s substitute NA with -1 test[] <- -1


Can contain TRUE or FALSE. What else ? NA : Don’t forget this :P

Example: test <- 5<6

Operations on Logical Vectors

!: For Negation

& or && : for Logical AND

| or || : for LOGICAL OR

Determining the type of a variable

typeof(variablename) : Return the type of variable

Check out mode() and class() and read about the difference between the three

We will discuss this in the next part :D

Mathematical Basic Operations
Syntax Operation
sqrt(a) Returns the square root of a
exp(a) Return the value of exponent of a
log(a) Returns the Logarithm base e of a Try log10() for base 10
var() Returns Variance of a vector which is passed as an argument
sd() Returns Standard Deviation of a vector which is passed as an argument

Note : Providing an input to a function outside it’s domain will result in NaN Not a Number


Also called Character Vectors follow C type escape character \

Combining Characters to Numbers !

test <- paste(c("X,"Y"),1:10,sep="")


The Output should look like “X1” “Y2” “X3” “Y4” “X5” “Y6” “X7” “Y8” “X9” “Y10”


Function takes an arbitrary number of arguments and concatenates them one by one into character strings.

The arguments are by default separated in the result by a single blank character, but this can be changed by the named argument, sep=

That’s all for the Part 1 :D , We will be posting Part 2 soon ** We will look into arrays, factors, table, matrix, data frames in the next part **