WK 19 - Writing Functions in R: Applications for Ecologists

Sunday, August 7, 2016: 12:00 PM-5:00 PM
301, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
Alex W. Bajcz, University of Maine
Isabelle Laforest-Lapointe, UQAM
Familiarity with R is essential for modern ecologists. It’s free, accessible, and powerful. Many ecologists use R for their statistics and little else. However, R’s utility to ecologists goes well beyond statistics. With some added knowledge, R users can create publishable-quality graphics, manage large datasets, and produce simulations that model complex and novel processes.

Nothing unlocks R’s potential more than the ability to write functions. R runs on functions; even casual users rely heavily on them. Yet, many users don’t know they can easily write their own custom functions. Additionally, few users comprehend how the functions they use actually work, so they struggle to troubleshoot problems and may simply have to guess how to proceed.

This workshop is meant to be the supplement an R user needs to achieve function proficiency. It will define key terms, review useful R functions, and dissect the anatomy of those functions. Then, attendees will work through exercises that teach them how to write functions, step-by-step, to solve common problems ecologists face every day. Along the way, attendees will be taught helpful tricks, including how to troubleshoot the dreaded R error message.

To be clear, this workshop is not an introduction to R, nor is it a formal introduction to coding. Instead, it is designed to teach regular users, those who already know the basics, how to get the most out of R. Additionally, the apparent impenetrability of R’s inner workings will hopefully be dispelled.

Registration Fee: $35

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