# [R] Problem using outer()

John Smith johns2326 at hotmail.com
Thu Jan 16 17:42:05 CET 2003

```For anyone who may be having a similar problem, here is the solution (thanks
to Peter Dalgaard and a search of the archives):

g <- function(a,b) sapply(seq(along=a),function(i) f(a[i],b[i]))
s <- outer(aa,bb,g)

Looking at the archives it seems many have had the same problem. At least
I'm in good company! Many thanks to those who responded.

John Shonder

>
>Here is a problem I am having. I would sincerely appreciate any help/advice
>from the experts who read this list. I have contrived a simple example, but
>it gives the same result I encountered in a more complicated application.
>
>Given data frame u:
>
>x	y
>31	19
>32	18
>33	17
>34	16
>35	15
>36	14
>37	13
>
>I define the function f as follows:
>
>f <- function(a,b) sum(u\$x - a) + sum(u\$y - b)
>
>One might think of a and b as "mean" values, and the function f totals up
>the deviations.
>
>I wish to generate a table of the value of f given various values of a and
>b
>
>along grid points. So I define:
>
>aa <- seq(0.1,1.0,0.1)
>bb <- seq(1.0,2.0,0.1)
>
>Unfortunately, when I issue the command
>
>s <- outer(aa,bb,f)
>
>R tells me the following:
>
>Warning messages:
>1: longer object length
>         is not a multiple of shorter object length in: u\$x - a
>2: longer object length
>         is not a multiple of shorter object length in: u\$y - b
>
>Outer() does assign values to s, but they are values that do not make
>sense.
>
>I understand why this is happening. Outer() passes the vectors aa and bb to
>function f, where the statement sum(u\$x - a) + sum(u\$y - b) is encountered
>with u\$x and u\$y of length 7 and a and b of length 10. R then cannot apply
>the recycle rule.
>
>I can do this simply enough with nested loops and get the correct answer.
>Unfortunately, the "real" problem is much more involved than the simple
>example I show here (data frame u contains hundreds of observations, and
>the
>
>function f is many lines long) so the solution takes some time. The R
>documentation stresses in a number of places that loops are inefficient and
>should be eliminated where possible. I thought using outer() would speed
>the
>
>application up, but it doesn't work.
>
>Any suggestions? How can I build up the table of values without using
>nested
>
>loops?
>
>John Shonder
>

```