Thursday, May 26, 2011

another look at CRAN Task Views

We've been impressed with how helpful the CRAN Task Views are in guiding us in R as we wend our way through the huge number of add-on packages (3021 as of May, 2011). These are web pages that are maintained by volunteers with expertise in a specified area. The maintainers provide annotated guidance to routines and packages. This is particularly helpful to track new packages or functionality (along with the R-packages relatively low volume mailing list and Crantastic).

As an example, we consider the Empirical Finance task view, which is maintained by Dirk Eddelbuettel. This includes description of standard regression models, time series, finance, risk management, data and time management as well as books with packages. Of particular help are the related links, including 6 other task views (Econometrics, Multivariate, Optimization, Robust, Social Sciences and Time Series).

Reviewing the Task View can help users to get up to speed in a given area, and we commend the R-core for this creative response to the growth of packages.

As of this week, the following Task Views were available:
Bayesian (Bayesian Inference),
ChemPhys (Chemometrics and Computational Physics),
ClinicalTrials (Clinical Trial Design, Monitoring, and Analysis),
Cluster (Cluster Analysis & Finite Mixture Models),
Distributions (Probability Distributions),
Econometrics (Computational Econometrics),
Environmetrics (Analysis of Ecological and Environmental Data),
ExperimentalDesign (Design of Experiments (DoE) & Analysis of Experimental Data),
Finance (Empirical Finance),
Genetics (Statistical Genetics),
Graphics (Graphic Displays & Dynamic Graphics & Graphic Devices & Visualization),
gR (gRaphical Models in R),
HighPerformanceComputing (High-Performance and Parallel Computing with R),
MachineLearning (Machine Learning & Statistical Learning),
MedicalImaging (Medical Image Analysis),
Multivariate (Multivariate Statistics),
NaturalLanguageProcessing (Natural Language Processing),
OfficialStatistics (Official Statistics & Survey Methodology),
Optimization (Optimization and Mathematical Programming),
Pharmacokinetics (Analysis of Pharmacokinetic Data),
Phylogenetics (Phylogenetics, Especially Comparative Methods),
Psychometrics (Psychometric Models and Methods),
ReproducibleResearch (Reproducible Research),
Robust (Robust Statistical Methods),
SocialSciences (Statistics for the Social Sciences),
Spatial (Analysis of Spatial Data),
Survival (Survival Analysis)
TimeSeries (Time Series Analysis)

Are there other areas where a new task view would be useful? Feel free to comment with your thoughts and suggestions.


Patrick said...

A task view that I was hoping existed a couple weeks ago when I was teaching an R class was "Data manipulation".

Another that would be nice would be "Resampling and simulation".

Nick Horton said...

Those are great suggestions.

I'd like to see one on "Statistical Education" or "Teaching Statistics". At some point I'll create it myself if someone doesn't beat me to the punch.

Patrick Burns said...

The "Data" task view that I suggested should include connecting to databases.

Unlike Nick I'm not considering creating any task views myself.