[R] Working with large datafiles

Thomas Lumley tlumley at u.washington.edu
Mon Oct 4 17:42:38 CEST 2004

On Mon, 4 Oct 2004, Greg Butler wrote:

> Hi,
> I have been enjoying r for some time now, but was wondering about working
> with larger data files.  When I try to load in big files with more than
> 20,000 records, the programs seems unbable to store all the records.  Is
> there some way that I can increase the size of records that I work with?
> Ideally I would like to work with census data which can hold a million
> records.

You should be able to handle 20,000 records on a reasonable computer (my 
laptop, with 256Mb memory can, very slowly, do survey analyses on a file 
with 26,000 records and about 100 variables).

A million records is likely to be infeasible. A 32bit computer can't 
even address enough memory to store that much data.  You would need to put 
the data either in a database or in a file format such as netCDF or hdf5 
that allows smaller chunks to be read and processed.


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