September Package Picks

by Joseph Rickert

September was a bit of a slow month for new R packages. Only 96 new packages showed up on CRAN. Nevertheless, I have picked out 23 for special mention which I have listed in 5 categories. I used the same selection criteria as I described in the post for August picks.

Data and Interfaces

  • darksky v1.0.0: Provides an interface to the Dark Sky API which allows you to look up weather anywhere on the globe.
  • etseed v0.1.0: Provides a client to interface to the etcd key value store, a database written in Go.
  • LendingClub v0.1.2: Lets investors manage their LendingClub investments from R.
  • sparklyr V0.4: Allows R users to connect, provision and interface to Apache Spark. Detailed examples using MLlib and H2O are available on the RStudio site.
  • trelloR V0.1.0: Provides access to the Trello API. The vignette explains how to retrieve data from public and private Trello boards.
  • XRPython V0.7: A Python interface structured according to the general form of the package XR described in John Chamber’s book Extending R.

Machine Learning

  • ensembleR v0.1.0: Facilitates constructing ensemble models from machine learning models available in the caret package. There is a vignette to get started.
  • exprso v0.1.7: Provides a framework for supervised machine learning customized for biologists. There are several vignettes including a cheatsheet.


  • lowmemtkmeans v0.1.0: Implements trimmed k-means clustering with low memory use.
  • Textmining V0.0.2: Provides functions for text and topic mining. Full functionality requires installing TreeTagger.

Plots and Visualizations

  • plotluck v1.0.1: Is an intelligent tool built on top of ggplot2 that automatically generates plots from dataframes based on users providing variables to plot.
  • plotwidgets V0.4: Provides functions to produce small, self contained plots for use in larger plots.
par(usr = c(-1, 1, -1, 1))
hues <- seq(0, 360, by = 30)
pos <- a2xy(hues, r = 0.75)
for (i in 1:length(hues)) {
  cols <- modhueCol(pal, by = hues[i])
    x = pos$x[i],
    y = pos$y[i],
    w = 0.5,
    h = 0.5,
    v = v,
    col = cols
pos <- a2xy(hues[-1], r = 0.4)
text(pos$x, pos$y, hues[-1])



  • Barycenter v1.0.0: Provides algorithms to compute the Wasserstein barycenter, the mean of a set of empirical probability measures.
  • musica v0.1.3: Provides functions for working with multivariate time series and custom time scales. There is a vignette to help you get started.
  • nhstplot v1.0.0: Provides functions to graphically illustrate the most common null hypothesis significance tests. The vignette provides some examples, e.g.:

F test

  • nimble v0.6-1: Allows R programmers to write statistical models in the BUGS language. NIMBLE is built in R but compiles in C++. There is extensive documentation at
  • Rdice v1.0.1: Allows conducting sophisticated dice rolling and coin tossing experiments including experiments with Efron like Nontransitive dice. Have a look at the vignette.
  • splines2 V0.1.0: Provides functions for constructing a variety of splines that are not available in the splines package including B-splines, M-splines, I-splines, C-splines, and the integral of B-splines. There is a vignette.
  • scanstatistics v0.1.0: Provides scan statistics functions to detect anomalous clusters in spatial or space-time data. The vignette describes the methodology and presents examples as well.
  • thief v0.2: Implements methods for generating forecasts at different temporal frequencies using hierarchical time series.


With this post, I am up to date with new CRAN packages. I hope to make my package picks a regular, monthly feature of this blog.

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