[R] R's memory limitation and Hadoop

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Tue Sep 16 20:47:27 CEST 2014

On 16/09/2014 13:56, peter dalgaard wrote:
> Not sure trolling was intended here.
> Anyways:
> Yes, there are ways of working with very large datasets in R, using databases or otherwise. Check the CRAN task views.
> SAS will for _some_ purposes be able to avoid overflowing RAM by using sequential file access. The biglm package is an example of using similar techniques in R. SAS is not (to my knowledge) able to do this invariably, some procedures may need to load the entire data set into RAM.
> JMP's data tables are limited by available RAM, just like R's are.
> R does have somewhat inefficient memory strategies (e.g., model matrices may include multiple columns of binary variables, each using 8 bytes per entry), so may run out of memory sooner than other programs, but it is not like the competition is not RAM-restricted at all.

Also 'hundreds of thousands of records' is not really very much: I have 
seen analyses of millions many times[*]: I have analysed a few billion 
with 0.3TB of RAM.

[*] I recall a student fitting a GLM with about 30 predictors to 1.5m 
records: at the time (ca R 2.14) it did not fit in 4GB but did in 8GB.

> - Peter D.
>> On September 16, 2014 4:40:29 AM PDT, Barry King <barry.king at qlx.com> wrote:
>>> Is there a way to get around R’s memory-bound limitation by interfacing
>>> with a Hadoop database or should I look at products like SAS or JMP to
>>> work
>>> with data that has hundreds of thousands of records?  Any help is
>>> appreciated.
>>> --
>>> __________________________
>>> *Barry E. King, Ph.D.*
>>> Analytics Modeler
>>> Qualex Consulting Services, Inc.
>>> Barry.King at qlx.com
>>> O: (317)940-5464
>>> M: (317)507-0661
>>> __________________________

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics, University of Oxford
1 South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3TG, UK

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