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Vector, list Questions R

Posted on 2017-03-09
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Hey all,
I am trying to get my feet wet in R programming for statistical analysis. '

Can anyone of you, tell me what is the basic differences and similarities between a list and vector, in a simple  layman’s terms…
What is a  data frames?

Thank you
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Question by:Rayne
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sdstuber earned 2000 total points
ID: 42042753
a vector is an ordered collection of elements of the same type (a vector of numbers, a vector of texts, a vector of boolean values, etc.)

a list an ordered collection of elements that can be of different types (a list containing a number, text, a date, and a boolean)

a data frame is a list of vectors

So a data frame might be envisioned as  list (vector1, vector2, vector3)

where vector1 might be a collection of ids, vector2 a collection of dates, and vector3 is a collection of names

in other words,  a data frame is rows and columns (where each column is a vector)

vector1 (ids)   vector2 (dates)   vector3 (names)
1               1969-07-20        Moon Landing
2               1953-03-26        Polio Vaccine announced
3               1930-02-18        Discovery of Pluto

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Author Comment

by:Rayne
ID: 42043837
Thank you sdstuber :)
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Author Closing Comment

by:Rayne
ID: 42043838
thank you. this explains it crystal clear
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Author Comment

by:Rayne
ID: 42043841
thank you again. Now I am to totally understand the complex code that I am currently dealing with. You are a lifesaver, sent from heaven. Thank you a million
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Expert Comment

by:sarabande
ID: 42043903
to add to above solution:

a vector is an array, i. e. all the elements are contiguous in memory and easily can be indexed by a counter from 0 to n-1 where n is the number of elements.

a list unlike to a vector is a collection of nodes. each node contains exactly 1 list element and points backwards to a predecessor node (beside of the first node) and forward to a successor node (beside of the last node of a list). a list fastly could be grow as adding a new node only requires a maximum of two nodes to be updated while in a vector you might have to move a good part of the array or even use new bigger contiguous space when the array grows. in R lists might have elements of different type what often is the main advantage of a list especially when you deal with a small number of elements.

a dataframe is a list of column vectors as explained by ststuber.

Sara
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Author Comment

by:Rayne
ID: 42044439
Awesome, thank you Sara. this is very useful to understand :)
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