Early bird registration for R in Insurance closes tomorrow

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The early bird registration offer for the 2nd R in Insurance conference, 14 July 2014, at Cass Business School closes tomorrow.

This one-day conference will focus once more on applications in insurance and actuarial science that use R, the lingua franca for statistical computation. Topics covered include reserving, pricing, loss modelling, the use of R in a production environment, and more. All topics are to be discussed within the context of using R as a primary tool for insurance risk management, analysis and modelling.

The conference programme consists of invited talks and contributed presentations discussing the wide range of fields in which R is used in insurance:

Attendance of the whole conference is the equivalent of 6.5 hours of CPD for members of the Actuarial Profession.

You can register directly on the conference web site www.rininsurance.com.

The organisers gratefully acknowledge the sponsorship of Mango Solutions, CYBAEA, RStudio and PwC without whom the event wouldn't be possible.

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Notes from the Kölner R meeting, 23 May 2014

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The 10th Kölner R user meeting took place last Friday at the Institute of Sociology and to celebrate the anniversary we invited Andrie de Vries to join us from Revolution Analytics. Andrie is well known in the R community; he is the co-author of the R for Dummies book and an active contributor on stackoverflow.

Taking R to the Enterprise

Andrie de Vries: Taking R to the Enterprise. Photo: Günter Faes

Andrie talked about how R is finding its way into the enterprise. He argued that R has become the go-to tool for data and statistical analysis in many companies. He observed that over the years the commercial user base evolved from a small expert community with a love for the command line and cutting edge technology into a much wider audience. Although R is still used by the technical experts, who demand more and more power, out-of-memory computations on bigger data, etc. the number of casual R users is growing rapidly. Often the casual R user relies on code written by others as part of a bigger workflow and hence prefers a more standardised user interface.

Andrie illustrated how Revolution Analytics aims to satisfy both user groups. He started with the expert R users by demonstrating Revolution Analytics' RevoScaleR package that allows them to carry out analysis on bigger data. His example followed closely the airline analysis of Joseph Rickert's white paper. Andrie then showed how more complex R code and functions can be integrated (and to some extend hidden) into Alteryx and Tableau via Rserve.

googleVis overview & developments

 googleVis Update
Slides and code available on GitHub

I gave a brief introduction to googleVis and presented recent developments. The googleVis package provides an interface between R and the Google Chart Tools API. It allows users to create web pages with interactive charts based on R data frames and to display them either via the local R HTTP help server or within their own sites, without uploading the data to Google. The best known example is perhaps the motion chart of fertility and life expectancy data from the World Bank as first presented by Hans Rosling. Another popular example is the chart that illustrates the performance of the famous Lloyd's insurance market.

Since version 0.5.0 of googleVis many new chart types have been added to googleVis, including annotation, sankey, calendar and timeline charts. Additionally new markdown vignettes have been included to present the examples also on CRAN. The slides and rmarkdown code are available via GitHub.

Kölsch & Schnitzel

No Kölner R meeting would be complete without a few Kölsch and Schnitzel at the Lux. We were lucky with the weather so that we could sit outside to enjoy drinks, food and networking opportunities.

Kölsch and Schnitzel at the Lux. Photo: Günter Faes

Next Kölner R meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 12 September 2014.

Please get in touch if you would like to present and share your experience, or indeed if you have a request for a topic you would like to hear more about. For more details see also our Meetup page.

Thanks again to Bernd Weiß for hosting the event and Revolution Analytics for their sponsorship.

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Next Kölner R User Meeting: Friday, 23 May 2014

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The next Cologne R user group meeting is scheduled for this Friday, 23 May 2014.

To celebrate our 10th meeting we welcome:
Followed by drinks and schnitzel at the Lux.

Further details available on our KölnRUG Meetup site. Please sign up if you would like to come along. Notes from past meetings are available here.

The organisers, Bernd Weiß and Markus Gesmann, gratefully acknowledge the sponsorship of Revolution Analytics, who support the Cologne R user group as part of their vector programme.

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The Wiener takes it all? A review of the 2014 Eurovision results


Saturday's Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) from Copenhagen was hilarious as usual with acts from all over Europe and some more or less sensible gimmicks: a circular piano, a giant hamster wheel, a sea-saw, or indeed a beard and fancy dress.

The results of the ESC were only a little different to what the bookmakers in the UK had predicted before the event started. Sweden was seen as the favourite, followed by Austria, Netherlands, Armenia and the UK.

In the end Conchita Wurst from Austria won with 290 points in front of the acts from the Netherlands with 238, Sweden with 218 and Armenia with 174 points. The UK ended on the 17th rank with only 40 points. Perhaps the reason the English bookies had put the UK in fifth place reflected the bias of their clients towards their home country.

The points were given as a combination of a public tele vote and a jury in each country. But how big was the resemblance between the votes of the juries and the public? Is there much variance between countries?

The detailed voting data are available from the Eurovision site. Out of the 37 countries that participated in the voting, two countries, San Marino and Albania, had no tele voting and one country, Georgia, had no jury. In the remaining 34 countries Austria and the Netherlands made into the top 2 of the jury and public voting results if they were treated independently. Sweden made it into the top 5 of both as well, but the other countries differed.

So, how consistent was the voting of the jury and public for the top 5 in each country?

Well, in only 11 countries out of 34, the jury agreed with the public on more than 2 of the top 5 songs. In 25 countries the jury and public agreed on at least two candidates.

In some cases the differences between public and jury were so wide, that although a candidate was voted into the top 5 of the tele rankings the act wouldn't get any points. The top public winner in Belgium (Armenia), Ireland (Poland), Montenegro (Russia) and the UK (Poland) didn't get any points at all.

Still, getting the top favourites right seems much easier then any of the followers. Or in other words, it is really difficult to produce a hit, a song/act on which many can agree. But when you hear one, it is much easier to identify it as such, something you really like and believe others would like as well.

R Code


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Customising lines and points with googleVis

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At the end of March Google released a new version of the Chart Tools API with new options for point shapes and line brushes. The arguments are called pointShape and lineDashStyle and can be set directly via googleVis.

We published googleVis 0.5.2 on CRAN yesterday with added examples for those new options in gvisLineChart and gvisScatterChart. Note, these options can be used with most chart types as well, also in combination. Visit the Google documentation for more details.

Customising Points

Customising Lines

Session Info

R version 3.1.0 (2014-04-10)
Platform: x86_64-apple-darwin13.1.0 (64-bit)

[1] en_GB.UTF-8/en_GB.UTF-8/en_GB.UTF-8/C/en_GB.UTF-8/en_GB.UTF-8

attached base packages:
[1] stats graphics grDevices utils datasets methods base     

other attached packages:
[1] googleVis_0.5.2

loaded via a namespace (and not attached):
[1] RJSONIO_1.0-3 tools_3.1.0 

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R in Insurance 2014: Conference Programme & Abstracts

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I am delighted to announce that the programme and abstracts for the second R in Insurance conference at Cass Business School in London, 14 July 2014, have been finalised.

Register by the end of May to get the early bird booking fee.

The organisers gratefully acknowledge the sponsorship of Mango Solutions, CYBAEA, RStudio and PwC without whom the event wouldn't be possible.

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