[R] "local({})" documentation?

Martin Morgan mtmorgan at fhcrc.org
Fri Apr 8 21:40:46 CEST 2011

On 04/08/2011 11:11 AM, Doug Elias wrote:
> Greetings, all ...
> I'm trying to find documentation on the use of the "local()" function, and
> am drawing a complete blank; would someone please send me a pointer to where
> I can learn what it is intended for, and how to correctly use it?

Hi Doug --


It can be useful as a function-ette giving local scope w/out cluttering 
the name space or creating variables that persist after they are needed, 

bar <- local({
     txt = readLines(<some/big/file>)
     ## do some things to reduce big txt, e.g., sample lines
     txt[sample(length(txt), 100)]

'bar' is now 100 lines from <some/big/file>; txt no longer exists.

It can also provide a closure, as in the 'snow' package top-level source

getMPIcluster <- NULL
setMPIcluster <- NULL
     cl <- NULL
     getMPIcluster <<- function() cl
     setMPIcluster <<- function(new) cl <<- new

now both getMPIcluster and setMPIcluster have access to the same 
variable 'cl'; 'cl' continues to exist after the end of local() because 
there are still references to it (through the environments associated 
with get/set MPIcluster). This is an interesting piece of code for 
understanding R's scoping, environments, and garbage collection.


> Many thanks!
> Doug
> 	[[alternative HTML version deleted]]
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