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    March 23, 2016

R Consortium Announces New Projects

Mark Hornick
Senior Director, Data Science and Machine Learning

The R Consortium works with and provides support to the R Foundation and other organizations developing, maintaining and distributing R software and provides a unifying framework for the R user community. The R Consortium Infrastructure Steering Committee (ISC) supports projects that help the R community, whether through software development, developing new teaching materials, documenting best practices, promoting R to new audiences, standardizing APIs, or doing research.

In the first open call for proposals, Oracle submitted three proposals, each of which has been accepted by the ISC: “R Implementation, Optimization and Tooling Workshops” which received a grant, and two working groups “Future-proof native APIs for R” and “Code Coverage Tool for R.” These were officially announced by the R Consortium here.

R Implementation, Optimization and Tooling Workshops

Following the successful first edition of the R Implementation, Optimization and Tooling (RIOT) Workshop collocated with ECOOP 2015 conference, the second edition of the workshop will be collocated with useR! 2016 and held on July 3rd at Stanford University. Similarly to last year’s event, RIOT 2016 is a one-day workshop dedicated to exploring future directions for development of R language implementations and tools. The goals of the workshop include, but are not limited to, sharing experiences of developing different R language implementations and tools and evaluating their status, exploring possibilities to increase involvement of the R user community in constructing different R implementations, identifying R language development and tooling opportunities, and discussing future directions for the R language. The workshop will consist of a number of short talks and discussions and will bring together developers of R language implementations and tools. See this link for more information.

Code Coverage Tool for R

Code coverage helps to ensure greater software quality by reporting how thoroughly test suites cover the various code paths. Having a tool that supports the breadth of the R language across multiple platforms, and that is used by R package developers and R core teams, helps to improve software quality for the R Community. While a few code coverage tools exist for R, this Oracle-proposed ISC project aims to provide an enhanced tool that addresses feature and platform limitations of existing tools via an ISC-established working group. It also aims to promote the use of code coverage more systematically within the R ecosystem.

Future-proof native APIs for R

This project aims to develop a future-proof native API for R. The current native API evolved gradually, adding new functionality incrementally, as opposed to reflecting an overall design with one consistent API, which makes it harder than necessary to understand and use. As the R ecosystem evolves, the native API is becoming a bottleneck, preventing crucial changes to the GNUR runtime, while presenting difficulties for alternative implementations of the R language. The ISC recognizes this as critical to the R ecosystem and will create a working group to facilitate cooperation on this issue. This project's goal is to assess current native API usage, gather community input, and work toward a modern, future-proof, easy to understand, consistent and verifiable API that will make life easier for both users and implementers of the R language.

Oracle is pleased to be a founding member of the R Consortium and to contribute to these and other projects that support the R community and ecosystem.

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