[R] size limits

Jeff Miller jdm at xnet.com
Sun Jan 23 18:44:05 CET 2000


    I have a few questions about how to handle large data sets in R.

    What is the size of the largest matrix that R can comfortably deal with?
    Is this size limit imposed by R's software,  or is it a question
    of the machine that one runs on?
    How does one go about choosing reasonable values of   vsize
    and nsize?

    I have a data set with about 1,000,000 rows, and 30 columns (1 character,  29
    stored in a flat file.
    When I run Splus-5 on a Solaris workstation I can read this file quite easily

    myData <- read.table(file = "mydata.dat")

    and manipulate the data without any problems.

    On the other hand, when I try to do the same on a PC (128 M RAM, 400MHz), running
    Linux (Redhat 6.1) , on R version 0.90.0, I find that it is

   When I allocate (what I believe to be) the maximum amount of vsize
    memory and a large amount of nsize memory

      R --vsize 200M --nsize 4000k,

    and then try to read the file in  using read.table() or scan()

     myData <- read.table(file = "mydata.dat")


      myData <- scan(file = "myData.dat", what = list("",0,0,...,0))               (with
29 zeros)

     I get kicked out of R.

     More worrisome, I did succeed in reading in a subset of the data with 30,000 rows.
    However, when I tried to plot one of the columns, my monitor began blinking
    wildly, and the machine crashed. I had to reboot.

    I tried to read the R help page on memory, but wasn't able to understand much of
    what it was saying.

    Thanks much for any help,

            Jeff Miller

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