Pulling R Data Into D

The motivation for embedding an R interpreter inside your D program is that it gives you access to the full R ecosystem.

Suppose you’re processing data in a D program, and after the dataset is prepared, you want to estimate the logit model in this example. After estimation, you want to do further analysis of the vector of residuals. Phobos doesn’t provide a logit model estimation function, so you decide to sending the data to R to do the estimation.

The variables admit, gre, gpa, and rank all exist in your D program as double[] arrays. You copy the data into R, creating new R variables in the process:


Then you estimate the model:

evalRQ(`mylogit <- glm(admit ~ gre + gpa + rank, family = "binomial")`);

It is tempting to make the residual vector available to your D program by creating an RVector:

auto res = RVector("residuals(mylogit)");

That might work, and it will even probably work (as in 99.8% of the time). Occasionally, though, it might not. It’s tempting to do that because all you’re doing is passing one pointer from R to D for efficiency.

The problem is that there is no guarantee that an object allocated in R and won’t change. (In this case, I can’t think of any way the underlying data might change, but in general you can’t assume that it won’t.) For safety purposes, you should make a copy of the data, for instance

double[] res = RVector("residuals(mylogit)").array;

For full details, and more information about when this can cause problems, see this discussion in the R Extensions manual. Copying is sometimes an expensive operation. If you can’t afford it, you probably shouldn’t be calling into R.