Sunday, June 26, 2016

From Accountancy to CS: Code Hunt Research and R Programming


Codehunt Research and R programming
From Accountancy to CS

This is the end of my third year at Illinois and coming from a guided accounting background, I initially had little experience in computer coding aside from experience in visual basic in excel. My background consists of economics, accounting, and statistical analysis. However, this was not a barrier when it came down to learning about my first computer programming language R.

After being introduced to current progress of Code Hunt and the direction in which our research would be headed I began to self teach the basics of R using a program called R Studio. I began watching videos on youtube, Khan Academy, and Lynda to learn about the basics of coding and the functionality of R. My first main task in Code Hunt was to understand the structure of the game and analyze the raw user data to produce statistical analysis based on last years 48 hour player competition.

At first glance R seemed very complex and impossible to figure out without any prior computer programming or coding knowledge. I began testing it out by running simple lines of code to import data sets from .csv files, sorting and creating subsets, learning about building matrices. Next I felt comfortable moving on to plotting data by creating bar plots, and box plots. This took a fair amount of time to grasp the concepts of placing each variable within the code and troubleshooting error messages but nonetheless it was worth figuring out. Now I have created a range of graphs and multitude of R scripts to be used for further analyzing our data.

One of my latest challenges was exploring gitHub and bitBucket for cloning source codes and producing commits, which seem to be common in the realm of computer science. With the help of my team I was able to figure how to use the command terminal to git pull and git push files to finally upload into our team repository. Overall, I feel like every time I open R and begin digging through the data or clocking into the lab and meeting with our team I find more things to learn about which is the exciting part of research.

  • Joshua Reed

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