Martin Maechler is a member of R-Core. This distinction puts him in the very apex of understanding of the R programming language and environment. He is a professor of statistics with wide and varied interests and a leading expert in statistical computing environments. He is also a prolific programmer, evidenced by his maintenance of the officially recommended cluster package for unsupervised clustering and analytics, the lead developer of Emacs Speaks Statistics, and co-maintainer of the Matrix package… plus too many other contributions to list them all here.
At useR! 2014 at UCLA, Martin gave an updated version of his useR! 2004 talk in Vienna, focusing on good programming “rules.” In his invited talk (video below), “Good Practices in R programming”, Martin showcases a synthesis of his many years of experience and expertise, from gotchas which may trip you up unexpectedly to fundamentals of good engineering and communication practices. DataScience.LA is fortunate to have been able to record his presentation and provide it to the community at large – watch to find out why!
Martin focuses on a number of critical facets of programming, both in R and in general. He focuses on the nature of namespaces, and the ‘function’ as the fundamental building block of good idiomatic R code. He then takes a tour through analytics and reproducible research, discussing the modern tools available and how they affect project and code layout and organization. He also provides highlights of what every statistical/mathematical programmer should know about computer arithmetic.
Whether you are an novice R user or expert R programmer, an analyst or a programmer, there is something for you in this talk… and heeding this advice will help make you a better programmer, statistician, scientist, and member of the R community!