Ali Zaidi edited this page Oct 10, 2016 · 2 revisions

Microsoft R for Data Science Workshop Syllabus

Training Overview

The Microsoft Data Science Team invites you to an in-depth 3-day workshop on using Microsoft R for Data Science. In these sessions, you’ll gain hands-on experience with conducting scalable data analysis with Microsoft R Server. You will learn the fundamentals of R, and understand how Microsoft R Server addresses the major scalability and operationalization challenges associated with open source R.


There are a few things you will need in order to take full advantage of the course:

  • An Azure subscription
  • A terminal emulator with openSSH or bash, e.g., Putty, or Cygwin/MobaXterm
    • I use MobaXterm and the Ubuntu Bash Subsystem within Windows
  • Some R IDE. Some reasonable choices:
    • RStudio
    • Visual Studio 2015 with RTVS (Community Edition is sufficient)
    • Jupyter/JupyterLab with IRKernel
  • Microsoft R Server 8.0.3 or later

I will assume you have already taken the following courses, or have the background provided by these courses:

I will not assume any background knowledge about Microsoft R Server, but for those that are eager, you can find an online video series about MRS here:

  1. Course Website
  2. Video Lectures on Channel 9
  3. Lab Exercises

A useful overview and comparison of MRS and MRO is available here.

Training Objectives

The course is designed to help analysts integrate Microsoft R Server (MRS) into their data science toolbox, and integrate it with other tools in Azure and the Cortana Intelligence Suite. After completion, participants will be able to

  • Explore and visualize data with R
  • Manipulate data that is too large to fit into memory with MRS
  • Train and test statistical models with high performance parallel external memory algorithms
  • Access data stored in Azure Blob Storage using Microsoft R Server (MRS)
  • Deploy Models as AzureML webservices

Syllabus and Timeline

Course Modules

Each Training Module guides you through a logical progression with hands-on tasks in do-verb form. Each day is broken up into 1-4 hour Modules, where you will learn and perform labs on your own. Some material that is out of scope for hands-on labs will instead be demonstrated by instructor led labs. Participants will receive a copy of the lab material to try on their own, but are not required to run the analysis during the training time. The modules, broken up into a general agenda are as follows. The specific modules may bleed across sessions depending on engagement of the audience

Part I - Functional-Object Based Computing with R

Day One - Morning Session

  • Overview of the R Project and CRAN
  • Exploring the Microsoft R Data Stack
  • Functional Programming for Data Manipulation with the dplyr package

Day One - Afternoon Session

  • Understanding dplyr's symantics and the magrittr pipe
  • Data Visualization and Exploratory Data Analysis
  • Using the broom package for Modeling and Summarization

Part II - Breaking the Memory Barrier with RevoScaleR

Day Two - Morning Sesion

  • Overview of the Microsoft R Data Ecosystem
  • Modeling and Scoring with High-Performance ScaleR Algorithms
  • Data Manipulation with the dplyrXdf Package

Day Two - Afternoon Session

  • Summarizing Data with RevoScaleR
  • Performance Considerations with RevoScaleR
  • Parallel Computing and Disributed Computing with Microsoft R Server
  • Deploying R and ScaleR algorithms to Azure with the AzureML package

Part III - Microsoft R Server with Spark

Day 3 – Morning Session

  • Overview of the Apache Spark Project
  • Ingesting Data into Azure Blob Storage
  • Creating Spark DataFrames and Spark Contexts
  • Manipulating HDFS data with the sparklyr package

Day 3 – Afternoon Session

  • Creating Distributed eXternal DataFrames in HDFS
  • Preparing Data for Modeling with Microsoft R Server
  • Training Statistical Models with Microsoft R Server and the Spark Compute Context
  • Scoring and Deploying Models
  • Performance Considerations on Hadoop
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