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Archive for January, 2019


Sabbatical 2018-19: Time to Get Back to Work (Spring 2019) I’m Going to Harvard

I’m starting a new course that I was supposed to complete in the fall. It’s an edX course from Harvard: HarvardX: PH125.1x Data Science: R Basics.

In this course I hope to learn how to read, extract, and create datasets in R, how to perform a variety of operations and analyses on datasets using R, and how to write my own functions/sub-routines in R. I’m not sure what all that means yet, but I have a good idea.

“R is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. It’s an integrated suite of software facilities for data manipulation, calculation and graphical display” (R website).

The R language is widely used among statisticians and data miners for developing statistical software and data analysis, therefore, it’s on my list of skills to learn during my sabbatical. The goal is not to become an expert at R, but to get an idea of what is involved in using this tool for data analysis.

The first section of this course is an introduction to R Basics, functions and datatypes. So I’ll start with learning to appreciate the rationale for data analysis using R, define objects and perform basic arithmetic and logical operations, use pre-defined functions to perform operations on objects, and distinguish between various data types.

Basically I’m typing in a bunch of variables and formulas into the program to get answers. Example: What is the sum of the first 20 positive integers? I’m not sure why I’d want to know this, but I would: Type in n <- 20 to define the variable and then use the formula n*(n+1)/2 to get your answer.

Keeping my fingers crossed that my love  hatred for math doesn’t show through. However, I can see how someone who is good a math would be a natural fit for coding. Wish me luck. I’m going to need it.