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Integrating R with production systems using an HTTP API

by Nick Elprin, Co-Founder of Domino Data Lab We built a platform that lets analysts deploy R code to an HTTP server with one click, and we describe it in detail below.  If you have ever wanted to invoke your R model with a simple HTTP call, without dealing with any infrastructure setup or asking for help from developers — imagine Heroku for your R code — we hope you’ll enjoy this. Introduction Across industries, analytical models are powering core business processes and applications as more companies realize that that analytics are key to their competitiveness.  R is particularly well suited to developing and expressing such models, but unfortunately, the final step of integrating R code into existing software systems remains difficult.  This post describes our solution to this problem: “one-click” publishing of R code to an API server, allowing easy integration between R and other languages, and freeing data scientists to change their models on their own, without help from any developers or engineers. Today, two problems — one technical, and one organizational — create friction when trying to integrate R code into existing software applications.  First, while R is a great language for analytical code, most enterprise software systems are written in more general purpose languages, such as Java, PHP, C#, C++, or even data pipeline tools such as Informatica or Microsoft’s SSIS.  Invoking R code from these languages requires some non-trivial technical work, or translation to another language.  This leads to the second problem: in most companies, software engineering teams are separate from analytics teams, so when analysts need engineering help, they are forced to compete against other priorities, or they must do their own engineering.  Even after an initial deployment of R code, when the model is updated, the deployment process must be repeated, resulting in a painful iteration cycle. A Solution: Domino and API Endpoints Domino is a platform for doing data science in the enterprise: it provides turnkey functionality for job distribution, version control, collaboration, and model deployment, so that data science teams can be productive without their own engineers and developers. We built our “API Endpoints” feature to address the use case I describe above, reducing the friction associated with integrating R (or Python) models into production systems. Here’s how it works:   Let’s say we are building a library for arithmetic. We have a file, arithmetic.R, with this code: add <- function(a, b) {    a + b} multiply > 1) {        Json.toJson(rexp.asDoubles())    } else if (rexp.isList) {      val list = rexp.asList      if (list.isNamed) {        JsObject(          for {            key <- list.keys         } yield {            key -> Json.toJson(new RResult(list.at(key)))        }        )      } else {        JsArray(          for {             i <- @dominodatalab.

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More Stories By David Smith

David Smith is Vice President of Marketing and Community at Revolution Analytics. He has a long history with the R and statistics communities. After graduating with a degree in Statistics from the University of Adelaide, South Australia, he spent four years researching statistical methodology at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, where he also developed a number of packages for the S-PLUS statistical modeling environment. He continued his association with S-PLUS at Insightful (now TIBCO Spotfire) overseeing the product management of S-PLUS and other statistical and data mining products.<

David smith is the co-author (with Bill Venables) of the popular tutorial manual, An Introduction to R, and one of the originating developers of the ESS: Emacs Speaks Statistics project. Today, he leads marketing for REvolution R, supports R communities worldwide, and is responsible for the Revolutions blog. Prior to joining Revolution Analytics, he served as vice president of product management at Zynchros, Inc. Follow him on twitter at @RevoDavid

@ThingsExpo Stories
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
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The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
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Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
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Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
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P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
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The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.