Tue, 12 Mar 2013

Rcpp master class in New York last weekend

On Saturday I had the opportunity to teach another one-day master class on Rcpp. The class had been organized by Jared Lander, and organized very well I might add.

The weekend started with a slight disappointment. I had taken Friday off, and hoped to reach NY by early afternoon to join JJ there, and to spend the afternoon with the RStan team. However, the tail end of last week's snowstorm made it such that we both got to Columbia's stats department closer to 6pm rather than 1pm, and half the team had left. Dang. Very frustrating travel experience. We salvaged the evening by gabbing over a cold beverage or two, before sharing some sacred New York pizza with Wes McKinney and Jared.

The class itself on Saturday went quite well. With JJ on deck, we were able to have every participant log into an EC2-hosted instance of RStudio Server, which worked very well for usage examples of Rcpp. It has been almost a year since I last taught the class, and many exciting things--such as Rcpp attributes, added by JJ himself--have appeared, which made it extra fun. Participants were rather kind with praise. Either they really liked it, or they really are hard-nosed New Yorkers who manage to lie to my face without me noticing.

We ended the day with some hard-earned cold beverages, followed by some dinner at Sylvia's (as tweeted by Jared) followed by more drinks. Ended up a little past my usual bedtime, but I managed to get out and enjoy a lovely 6.5 miles run across Central Park the next morning before leaving town.

All in all, a very nice weekend, the travel horror of Friday notwithstanding. And who know, maybe we'll just do it again another time...

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RcppArmadillo 0.3.800.1

Conrad released a first bug-fix release 3.800.1 of Armadillo earlier today. This has been wrapped up in release 0.3.800.1 of RcppArmadillo as usual. This release also contains a very nice function sample() (contributed by Christian Gunning) which provides sampling (with or without replacement) at the C++ level modeled after what we are used to in R itself. We also refactored the unit tests into just two compilation units to speed testing up a little.

The summary of the main changes follows:

Changes in RcppArmadillo version 0.3.800.1 (2013-03-12)

  • Upgraded to Armadillo release Version 3.800.1 (Miami Beach)

    • workaround for a bug in ATLAS 3.8 on 64 bit systems

    • faster matrix-vector multiply for small matrices

  • Added new sample() function and tests contributed by Christian Gunning

  • Refactored unit testing code for faster unit test performance

Courtesy of CRANberries, there is also a diffstat report for the most recent release As always, more detailed information is on the RcppArmadillo page. Questions, comments etc should go to the rcpp-devel mailing list off the R-Forge page.

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