Practical Data Science with R, Second Edition
Nina Zumel and John Mount
  • MEAP began August 2018
  • Publication in Fall 2019 (estimated)
  • ISBN 9781617295874
  • 525 pages (estimated)
  • printed in black & white
free previous edition included

A detailed, well explained book to the real life practice of data science techniques.

John MacKintosh

Practical Data Science with R, Second Edition takes a practice-oriented approach to explaining basic principles in the ever-expanding field of data science. You’ll jump right to real-world use cases as you apply the R programming language and statistical analysis techniques to carefully explained examples based in marketing, business intelligence, and decision support.

Numerous updates in this brand new edition include: an introduction to the vtreat data preparation tool, a section on model explanation, and additional modeling techniques such as boosting and regularized regression!

Table of Contents detailed table of contents

Part 1: Introduction to Data Science

1. The data science process

1.1. The roles in a data science project

1.1.1. Project roles

1.2. Stages of a data science project

1.2.1. Defining the goal

1.2.2. Data collection and management

1.2.3. Modeling

1.2.4. Model evaluation and critique

1.2.5. Presentation and documentation

1.2.6. Model deployment and maintenance

1.3. Setting expectations

1.3.1. Determining lower bounds on model performance

1.4. Summary

2. Starting with R and data

2.1. Starting with R

2.1.1. Installing R

2.1.2. R programming

2.2. Working with data from files

2.2.1. Working with well-structured data from files or URLs

2.2.2. Using R with less-structured data

2.3. Working with relational databases

2.3.1. A production-size example

2.4. Summary

3. Exploring data

3.1. Using summary statistics to spot problems

3.1.1. Typical problems revealed by data summaries

3.2. Spotting problems using graphics and visualization

3.2.1. Visually checking distributions for a single variable

3.2.2. Visually checking relationships between two variables

3.3. Summary

4. Managing data

4.1. Cleaning data

4.1.1. Domain-specific data cleaning

4.1.2. Treating missing values (NAs)

4.1.3. The vtreat package for automatically treating missing variables

4.2. Data transformations

4.2.1. Normalization

4.2.2. Centering and scaling

4.2.3. Log transformations for skewed and wide distributions

4.3. Sampling for modeling and validation

4.3.1. Test and training splits

4.3.2. Creating a sample group column

4.3.3. Record grouping

4.3.4. Data provenance

4.4. Summary

5. Data Engineering and Data Shaping

5.1. Data Selection

5.1.1. Subsetting Rows and Columns

5.1.2. Removing records with incomplete data

5.1.3. Ordering rows

5.2. Basic Data Transforms

5.2.1. Add new columns

5.2.2. Other simple operations

5.2.3. Parametric programming

5.3. Aggregating Transforms

5.3.1. Scenario

5.3.2. Combining many rows into summary rows

5.4. Multi-Table Data Transforms

5.4.1. Combining two or more ordered data.frame’s quickly

5.4.2. Principled methods to combine data from multiple tables

5.5. Reshaping Transforms

5.5.1. Moving data from wide to tall form

5.5.2. Moving data from tall to wide form

5.5.3. Data Coordinates

5.6. Summary

Part 2: Modeling methods

6. Choosing and evaluating models

6.1. Mapping problems to machine learning tasks

6.1.1. Classification problems

6.1.2. Scoring problems

6.1.3. Grouping: Working without known targets

6.1.4. Problem-to-method mapping

6.2. Evaluating models

6.2.1. Overfitting

6.2.2. Measures of model performance

6.2.3. Evaluating classification models

6.2.4. Evaluating scoring models

6.2.5. Evaluating probability models

6.3. Local Interpretable Model-Agnostic Explanations (LIME) for explaining model predictions

6.3.1. LIME: automated sanity checking

6.3.2. Walking through LIME: a small example

6.3.3. LIME for Text Classification

6.3.4. Train the text classifier

6.3.5. Explaining the classifier’s predictions

6.4. Summary

7. Linear and logistic regression

7.1. Using linear regression

7.1.1. Understanding linear regression

7.1.2. Building a linear regression model

7.1.3. Making predictions

7.1.4. Finding relations and extracting advice

7.1.5. Reading the model summary and characterizing coefficient quality

7.1.6. Linear regression takeaways

7.2. Using logistic regression

7.2.1. Understanding logistic regression

7.2.2. Building a logistic regression model

7.2.3. Making predictions

7.2.4. Finding relations and extracting advice from logistic models

7.2.5. Reading the model summary and characterizing coefficients

7.2.6. Logistic regression takeaways

7.3. Regularization

7.3.1. An Example of Quasi-separation

7.3.2. The types of regularized regression

7.3.3. Regularized regression with glmnet

7.4. Summary

8. Advanced Data Preparation

9. Unsupervised methods

10. Exploring advanced methods

Part 3: Delivering Results

11. Documentation and deployment

12. Producing effective presentations


Appendix A: Working with R and other tools

Appendix B: Important statistical concepts

Appendix C: Bibliography

About the Technology

Business analysts and developers are increasingly collecting, curating, analyzing, and reporting on crucial business data. The R language and its associated tools provide a straightforward way to tackle day-to-day data science and machine learning tasks.

About the book

This invaluable addition to any data scientist’s library shows you how to apply the R programming language and useful statistical techniques to everyday business situations as well as how to effectively present results to audiences of all levels. To answer the ever-increasing demand for machine learning and analysis, this new edition boasts additional R tools, modeling techniques, and more.

What's inside

  • Data science and statistical analysis for the business professional
  • Numerous instantly familiar real-world use cases
  • Keys to effective data presentations
  • Modeling and analysis techniques like boosting, regularized regression, and quadratic discriminant analysis
  • Additional R tools including data.table and vtreat
  • A new section on interpreting predictions of complicated models

About the reader

While some familiarity with basic statistics and R is assumed, this book is accessible to readers with or without a background in data science.

About the author

Nina Zumel and John Mount are co-founders of Win-Vector LLC, a San Francisco-based data science consulting firm. Both hold PhDs from Carnegie Mellon and blog on statistics, probability, and computer science at

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