3 Efficient set-up

An efficient computer set-up is analogous to a well-tuned vehicle: its components work in harmony, it is well-serviced, and it is fast. This chapter describes the software decisions that will enable a productive workflow. We explore how the operating system, R versions and settings, configuration of your R editor, and other settings can make your R work faster. The next chapter deals with hardware. By the end of this chapter you should understand how to optimize your computer for efficient R programming. That includes consideration of the following topics:

  • R and the operating systems: system monitoring on Linux, Mac and Windows
  • R version: how to keep your base R installation and packages up to date
  • R start-up: how and why to adjust your .Rprofile and .Renviron files
  • RStudio: an integrated development environment (IDE) to boost your programming productivity
  • BLAS and alternative R interpreters: looks at ways to make R faster