To R is human …

“To R is human, to dabble in it fun” one could say. In this post I try to be a little of Nate Silver looking at Twiiterverse. Since the Indian general election 2014 is around the corner for constituting the 16th Lok Sabha in India I wanted to play around a little bit. Anyway here goes.

To get started on Twitter, with R we first need to establish a handshake between Twitter and R. We need to authenticate our R application with Twitter to enable us to mine the tweets in Twitterverse.. The steps are fairly straightforward. The R app you create has to authenticated and authorized with Twitter.

The first step is to create an app at Twitter at Login to your twitter account. Click the drop down at your photo and choose “My applications”. Then click “Create new application”. Now do the following
– Enter a unique name for your application
– Enter a description
– For the ‘Website’ enter any valid URL
– Leave the Callback URL blank
– Accept the conditions

Leave this in your browser. The handshake between your R application and Twitter needs to be established as follows

#install the necessary packages


# Set SSL certs globally
options(RCurlOptions = list(cainfo = system.file("CurlSSL", "cacert.pem", package = "RCurl")))

reqURL <- ""
accessURL <- ""
authURL <- ""

Now go to your browser. In the created Twitter application, choose the API Keys tab. Copy and paste the API key and API secret in the next 2 lines

apiKey <- "Your API key here"
apiSecret <- "Your API secret here"
twitCred twitCred$handshake(cainfo = system.file("CurlSSL", "cacert.pem", package = "RCurl"))

When you enter this you should see the following
To enable the connection, please direct your web browser to:

Copy and paste the link given in a new tab in your browser. Copy the 7 digit PIN and paste it in the space below
When complete, record the PIN given to you and provide it here: 7377963


This should complete the authorization. Now you are good to go.

Here is a short example of performing Text Mining with the help of package “tm”.

I wanted to create a word cloud around the hashtag #NaMo

So here is the code. We need to create a Corpus

#Search Twitter for the hashtag #NaMo

#Search Twitter for the hashtag #NaMo
r_stats<- searchTwitter("#NaMo",n=500, cainfo="cacert.pem")

# Save text
r_stats_text <- sapply(r_stats, function(x) x$getText())
# Create a corpus
r_stats_text_corpus <- Corpus(VectorSource(r_stats_text))
# Clean up the text
r_stats_text_corpus <- tm_map(r_stats_text_corpus, tolower)
r_stats_text_corpus <- tm_map(r_stats_text_corpus, removePunctuation)
r_stats_text_corpus <- tm_map(r_stats_text_corpus, function(x)removeWords(x,stopwords()))

# Now create a word cloud


This will create a Wordcloud of the words most used with the hashtag, in this case #NaMo

You can clone the code at Rwordcloud

Watch this space. Hasta la vista. I’ll be back!

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The language R

In the universe of programming languages there is a rising staR. It is moving fasteR and getting biggeR and brighteR!

Ok, you get the hint! It is the language R or the R Language.

R language is the successor to the language S. R is extremely powerful for statistical computing and processing. It is an interpreted language much like Python, Perl. The power of the language R comes from the 4000+ software packages that make the R language almost indispensable for any type of statistical computing.

As I mentioned above in my opinion, R, is soon going to play a central role in the technological world. In today’s world we are flooded with data from all sides. To make sense of this information overload we need techniques like Big Data, Analytics and machine learning to make sense of this data deluge. This is where R with its numerous packages that make short work of data becomes critical. The packages also have very interesting graphic packages to display the data in many forms for faster  analysis and easier consumption.

The language R can easily ingest large sets of data in CSV format and perform many computations on them. R language is being used in machine learning, data mining, classification and clustering, text mining besides also being utilized in sentiment analysis from social networks.

The R language contains the usual programming constructs namely logical, loops, assignment etc. The language enables to easily assign values to vectors, matrices, arrays and perform all the associated operations on them.

The R Language can be installed from R-project. The R Language package comes with many datasets which are data collected from various sources. One such dataset is the Iris dataset. The Iris dataset is dataset about the Iris plant( Iris is a genus of 260–300[1][2] species of flowering plants with showy flowers).

The dataset contains 5 parameters

1)      Sepal length 2) Sepal Width 3) Petal length 4) Petal width 5) Species

This dataset has been used in many research papers. R allows you to easily perform any sophisticated set of statistical operations on this data set. Included below are a sample set of operations you can perform on the Iris dataset or any dataset

> iris[1:5,]

Sepal.Length Sepal.Width Petal.Length Petal.Width Species

1          5.1         3.5          1.4         0.2  setosa

2          4.9         3.0          1.4         0.2  setosa

3          4.7         3.2          1.3         0.2  setosa

4          4.6         3.1          1.5         0.2  setosa

5          5.0         3.6          1.4         0.2  setosa

> summary(iris)

Sepal.Length    Sepal.Width     Petal.Length    Petal.Width          Species

Min.   :4.300   Min.   :2.000   Min.   :1.000   Min.   :0.100   setosa    :50

1st Qu.:5.100   1st Qu.:2.800   1st Qu.:1.600   1st Qu.:0.300   versicolor:50

Median :5.800   Median :3.000   Median :4.350   Median :1.300   virginica :50

Mean   :5.843   Mean   :3.057   Mean   :3.758   Mean   :1.199

3rd Qu.:6.400   3rd Qu.:3.300   3rd Qu.:5.100   3rd Qu.:1.800

Max.   :7.900   Max.   :4.400   Max.   :6.900   Max.   :2.500



Here is a scatter plot of the Petal width, sepal length and sepal width

>scatterplot3d(iris$Petal.Width, iris$Sepal.Length, iris$Sepal.Width)



As can be seen R can really make short work of data with the numerous packages that come along with it. I have just skimmed the surface of R language.

I hope this has whetted your appetite. Do give R a spin!

Watch this space!

You may also like
1. Introducing cricketr! : An R package to analyze performances of cricketers
2. Literacy in India : A deepR dive.
3. Natural Language Processing: What would Shakespeare say?
4. Revisiting crimes against women in India
5. Sixer – R package cricketr’s new Shiny Avatar

Also see
1. Designing a Social Web Portal
2. Design principles of scalable, distributed systems
3. A Cloud Medley with IBM’s Bluemix, Cloudant and Node.js
4. Programming Zen and now – Some essential tips -2 
5. Fun simulation of a Chain in Android

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