Using visualisation to understand R theory

BIDS Data Science Lecture


April 11, 2018
4:00pm to 5:00pm
10 Evans Hall, UC Berkeley
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Abstract: In this talk, I will introduce the lobstr package which provides tools to visualise R's data structures on the command line. I'll show three R functions ast(), cst(), and ref() and use them to discuss three important components of R's theory:

  1. All R code possesses a tree like structure, known as the abstract syntax tree.
  2. R's lazy evaluation introduces a tree-like structure into the call stack
  3. R's copy on modify semantics

Together, these three topics make R special compared to other programming languages, and have surprisingly practical implications.

This event is being presented by the Department of Statistics, and co-sponsored by BIDS.


Hadley Wickham

Adjunct Professor, Stanford University
University of Auckland

Hadley Wickham is Chief Scientist at RStudio, a member of the R Foundation, and Adjunct Professor at Stanford University and the University of Auckland. He builds tools (both computational and cognitive) to make data science easier, faster, and more fun. His work includes packages for data science (the tidyverse: including ggplot2, dplyr, tidyr, purrr, and readr) and principled software development (roxygen2, testthat, devtools). He is also a writer, educator, and speaker promoting the use of R for data science. Learn more on his website,