My Trip to Spain: The R User Conference 2013

useR 2013 albacete

I was fortunate enough to attend the 2013 UseR! conference in Albacete, Spain this year. I had a great time meeting fellow R users and exchanging ideas on R implementations. The conference is also one of the few opportunities to gain exposure to uses of R in other disciplines because there are so many talks and few will be directly related to your day-to-day work. These were just three out of hundreds of talks:

Heart Rate Variability analysis in R with RHRV

Patterns of Multimorbidity: Graphical Models and Statistical Learning

Facilitating genetic map construction at large scales inR

I appreciated that the conference’s location attracted a lot of European attendees. This meant that during the breaks I was engaged in a diverse range of conversations from asset valuation arbitrage with Norwegian actuaries, to socioeconomic health effects with German researchers.

It was also incredible to meet the people who developed the libraries I use everyday and learning about new libraries in the pipeline. I’ve been managing a fun work project centered around Joe Cheng’s (RStudio) Shiny package so it was great to meet his team and run questions past them. After seeing tons of Hadley Wickham’s talks and slides online it was fun seeing a live presentation.

hadley_R_2013Hadley’s talk on BigR Data

The conference was interesting in that it wasn’t too close to an outright stats conference or a developers conference, but in the future I’d like to see more talks/presentations around practical applications of R. This isn’t to say these proposed talks should all include business use-cases, rather more beginning-to-end explanations of a defined problem and the various iterations of R on the way to a solution.

I’m very excited for The R User Conference 2014 at UCLA next year! Not only because my commute will go from 18 hr to 1.5 hr, but UCLA has made some great contributions to R and the proposed lineup looks exceptional.

san_sebastian_2013A shot from our vacation in San Sebastian after the conference