Notes from the Kölner R meeting, 26 February 2016

Last Friday the Cologne R user group came together for the 17th time. This time, we were in for a special treatment, with two talks by psychologists!

But, there was nothing to fear, we were in safe hands, and for the first time, we met at the new Microsoft office in Cologne.

Lecture room at Microsoft, Cologne

First up was Meik Michalke from the University of Düsseldorf presenting the RKWard project. RKWard is a graphical user interface and integrated development environment for statistical analysis with R. RKWard is a fully featured and extendable environment for R, available on all platforms. Furthermore, as Meik demonstrated, it is very straightforward to build new plugins for RKWard. These plugins can extend the user interface, which is great if you build tools for people who are less familiar with R, but perhaps more with SPSS. Meik is one of the developers of RKWard and he uses it to run an analysis, develop packages and to teach statistics.

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Next up was Paul-Christian Bürkner from the University of Münster, presenting an overview of his brms package. The name is short for Bayesian regression models with Stan. Although the package is still less than one-year-old, it is already quite mature, allowing the user to specify regression models in the usual R formula syntax. brms takes those formula calls, writes out the Stan code, compiles and runs the model, and it also provides methods to plot and predict brms models. Hence, it is a great way to get started with Stan and to build more complex Bayesian models.

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Following the talks, there was still plenty of time for questions and networking. Microsoft provided us with a great venue and enough drinks to keep us going until finally our stomachs asked for food and, dare I say it, Kölsch. As a result some of us ended up in Rheinau, a nice gastropub around the corner.

Next Kölner R meeting

The next meeting will be scheduled in about three months time. Details will be published on our Meetup site. Thanks again to Microsoft for their support.

Please get in touch, if you would like to present at the next meeting.


For attribution, please cite this work as:

Markus Gesmann (Mar 01, 2016) Notes from the Kölner R meeting, 26 February 2016. Retrieved from

BibTeX citation:

@misc{ 2016-notes-from-the-kolner-r-meeting-26-february-2016,
 author = { Markus Gesmann },
 title = { Notes from the Kölner R meeting, 26 February 2016 },
 url = { },
 year = { 2016 }
 updated = { Mar 01, 2016 }