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R: Data Analysis and Visualization by Ágnes Vidovics-Dancs, Kata Váradi, Tamás Vadász, Ágnes Tuza, Balázs Árpád Szucs, Julia Molnár, Péter Medvegyev, Balázs Márkus, István Margitai, Péter Juhász, Dániel Havran, Gergely Gabler, Barbara Dömötör, Gergely Daróczi, Ádám Banai, Milán Badics, Ferenc Illés, Edina Berlinger, Bater Makhabel, Hrishi V. Mittal, Jaynal Abedin, Brett Lantz, Tony Fischetti

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Chapter 2. Managing and Understanding Data

A key early component of any machine learning project involves managing and understanding data. Although this may not be as gratifying as building and deploying models—the stages in which you begin to see the fruits of your labor—it is unwise to ignore this important preparatory work.

Any learning algorithm is only as good as its input data, and in many cases, the input data is complex, messy, and spread across multiple sources and formats. Because of this complexity, often the largest portion of effort invested in machine learning projects is spent on data preparation and exploration.

This chapter approaches these topics in three ways. The first section discusses the basic data structures R uses to store ...

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