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Workshop: R’s C Interface
May 17, 2019 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Working with C/C++ Code in R
In this workshop, we’ll discuss how to call C/C++ code (and hence other languages) from R.
This allows us to reuse existing C/C++ code, or to write our own C/C++ code to improve the speed
of some computations.
We’ll cover the .C(), .Call() interfaces, and using the Rcpp framework,
and discuss some of their trade-offs and pitfalls.
Importantly, we’ll present:
+ a high-level introduction to the C/C++ languages (limited to interfacing to R)
+ the steps involved in “compiling” code (compiling, linking, loading)
+ how to debug compiled code from within R
+ R’s computational model for working in C/C++
+ issues of portable code across operating systems,
+ how to enhance packages you write to customize themselves to a specific machine using
+ a variety of tips and tricks that are often learned the hard, long way!
After this workshop participants should be able to:
+ compile, link and load existing C/C++ code into R
+ call a C routine from R
+ write a simple C routine and call it from R
+ debug C code called from R
+ understand garbage collection and PROTECT()/UNPROTECT() in C
+ understand the R’s C-level Application Programming Interface (API)
While this material is not conceptually complex, it is somewhat technical.
Being familiar with this material makes you a more advanced R user and gives you different
options for efficiently solving computational challenges.
The workshop will get you started quickly and answer questions about problems you might
have already encountered.
Prerequisites & Target Learners
This workshop is aimed at students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, staff who are
comfortable working with R. You don’t need to know C or C++ to learn something from the workshop.
For those wanting to follow along on their computers, please ensure that you have
installed a compiler such as gcc or clang, and the Rcpp package.
On Windows, install Rtools.