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title: "Creating an Imputation Method"
output: rmarkdown::html_vignette
vignette: >
```{r, echo = FALSE, message=FALSE}
# show grouped code output instead of single lines
knitr::opts_chunk$set(collapse = TRUE)
Function `makeImputeMethod()` permits to create your own imputation method.
For this purpose you need to specify a *learn* function that extracts the necessary information and an *impute* function that does the actual imputation.
The *learn* and *impute* functions both have at least the following formal arguments:
* ``data`` is a `base::data.frame()` with missing values in some features.
* ``col`` indicates the feature to be imputed.
* ``target`` indicates the target variable(s) in a supervised learning task.
# Example: Imputation using the mean
Let's have a look at function imputeMean (`imputations()`).
```{r, include=FALSE, purl= FALSE}
showFunctionDef = function(fun, name = sub("^[^:]*:+", "", deparse(substitute(fun)))) {
l = deparse(fun)
l[1] = paste(name, l[1], sep = " = ")
```{r, code=showFunctionDef(imputeMean), eval=FALSE, tidy=TRUE, purl = FALSE}
imputeMean (`imputations()`) calls the unexported `mlr` function `simpleImpute` which is defined as follows.
```{r, code=showFunctionDef(mlr:::simpleImpute), eval=FALSE, tidy = TRUE, purl= FALSE}
The *learn* function calculates the mean of the non-missing observations in column ``col``.
The mean is passed via argument ``const`` to the *impute* function that replaces all missing values in feature ``col``.
# Writing your own imputation method
Now let's write a new imputation method:
A frequently used simple technique for longitudinal data is *last observation carried forward* (LOCF).
Missing values are replaced by the most recent observed value.
In the **R** code below the *learn* function determines the last observed value previous to each ``NA`` (``values``) as well as the corresponding number of consecutive ``NA's`` (``times``).
The *impute* function generates a vector by replicating the entries in ``values``
according to ``times`` and replaces the ``NA's`` in feature ``col``.
imputeLOCF = function() {
learn = function(data, target, col) {
x = data[[col]]
ind =
dind = diff(ind)
lastValue = which(dind == 1) # position of the last observed value previous to NA
lastNA = which(dind == -1) # position of the last of potentially several consecutive NA's
values = x[lastValue] # last observed value previous to NA
times = lastNA - lastValue # number of consecutive NA's
return(list(values = values, times = times))
impute = function(data, target, col, values, times) {
x = data[[col]]
replace(x,, rep(values, times))
Note that this function is just for demonstration and is lacking some checks for real-world usage (for example 'What should happen if the first value in `x` is already missing?').
Below it is used to impute the missing values in features ``Ozone`` and ``Solar.R`` in the airquality (`datasets::airquality()`) data set.
imp = impute(airquality, cols = list(Ozone = imputeLOCF(), Solar.R = imputeLOCF()),
dummy.cols = c("Ozone", "Solar.R"))
head(imp$data, 10)
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