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The post will present a few looping examples to then criticize and deprecate these in favor of the most popular vectorized alternatives amongst the very many that are available in the rich set of libraries that R offers.

In general, the advice of this R tutorial on loops would be: learn about loops. To practice interactively, try the chapter on loops in Datacamp's intermediate R course. All modern programming languages provide special constructs that allow for the repetition of instructions or blocks of instructions.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of these special constructs or loops in modern programming languages. Some loops execute for a prescribed number of times, as controlled by a counter or an index, incremented at each iteration cycle. These are part of the for loop family.

On the other hand, some loops are based on the onset and verification of a logical condition. The condition is tested at the start or the end of the loop construct. These variants belong to the while or repeat family of loops, respectively. According to the R base manual, among the control flow commands, the loop constructs are forwhile and repeatwith the additional clauses break and next.

You can always see these control flow commands by invoking? Control at the RStudio command line. The next sections will take a closer look at each of these structures that are shown in the figure above. We will start our discussion with the structure on the left, and we will continue the next sections by gradually moving to the structures on the right. For a video introduction to for loops and a follow up exercise, try this part of Datacamp's intermediate R course.

Note that, to keep things simple, other possible symbols have been omitted from the figure. One or more instructions within the initialization rectangle are followed by the evaluation of the condition on a variable which can assume values within a specified sequence. You normally define this range in the initialization, with something like to ensure that the loop starts. If the condition is not met and the resulting outcome is Falsethe loop is never executed. This is indicated by the loose arrow on the right of the for loop structure.

The program will then execute the first instruction found after the loop block. If the condition is verified, an instruction -or block of instructions- i1 is executed. And perhaps this block of instructions is another loop. In such cases, you speak of a nested loop. Once this is done, the condition is then evaluated again.

This is indicated by the lines going from i1 back to the top, immediately after the initialization box. In R -and in Python, it is possible to express this in plain English, by asking whether our variable belongs to a range of values or not.

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Note that in other languages, for example in C, the condition is made more explicit with the use of a logical operator, such as greater or less than, equal to, …. The for block is contained within curly braces. These can be placed either immediately after the test condition or beneath it, preferably followed by an indentation. None of this is compulsory, but the curly braces definitely enhance the readability of your code and allow to spot the loop block and potential errors within it easily.

Note that the vector of the squares, usqis initialized. This would not be necessary in plain RStudio code, but in the markup version, knitr would not compile because a reference to the vector is not found before its use in the loop, thus throwing an error within RStudio.In computer sciencea for-loop or simply for loop is a control flow statement for specifying iterationwhich allows code to be executed repeatedly. Various keywords are used to specify this statement: descendants of ALGOL use "for", while descendants of Fortran use "do".

A for-loop has two parts: a header specifying the iteration, and a body which is executed once per iteration. The header often declares an explicit loop counter or loop variable, which allows the body to know which iteration is being executed. For-loops are typically used when the number of iterations is known before entering the loop. For-loops can be thought of as shorthands for while-loops which increment and test a loop variable. The name for-loop comes from the English word forwhich is used as the keyword in many programming languages to introduce a for-loop.

A for-loop statement is available in most imperative programming languages. Even ignoring minor differences in syntax there are many differences in how these statements work and the level of expressiveness they support. Generally, for-loops fall into one of the following categories:. Depending on the language, an explicit assignment sign may be used in place of the equal sign and some languages require the word int even in the numerical case.

Some languages require a separate declaration of the control variable, some do not. Another form was popularized by the C programming language. It requires 3 parts: the initializationthe conditionand the afterthought and all these three parts are optional. The initialization declares and perhaps assigns to any variables required.

The type of a variable should be same if you are using multiple variables in initialization part.

The condition checks a condition, and quits the loop if false. The afterthought is performed exactly once every time the loop ends and then repeats. Here is an example of the traditional for-loop in Java. These loops are also sometimes called numeric for-loops when contrasted with foreach loops see below.

This type of for-loop is a generalisation of the numeric range type of for-loop, as it allows for the enumeration of sets of items other than number sequences. It is usually characterized by the use of an implicit or explicit iteratorin which the loop variable takes on each of the values in a sequence or other data collection.

A representative example in Python is:. Some languages have this in addition to another for-loop syntax; notably, PHP has this type of loop under the name for eachas well as a three-expression for-loop see below under the name for.

Some languages offer a for-loop that acts as if processing all iterations in parallelsuch as the for all keyword in FORTRAN 95 which has the interpretation that all right-hand-side expressions are evaluated before any assignments are made, as distinct from the explicit iteration form. In the for all version, however, each calculation refers only to the original, unaltered A. The example loop could be rendered as. But whether that would be rendered in the style of the for-loop or the for all-loop or something else may not be clearly described in the compiler manual.

That is, a value is assigned to the loop variable i and only if the while expression is true will the loop body be executed.

If the result were false the for-loop's execution stops short. In computer programming a loop counter is the variable that controls the iterations of a loop a computer programming language construct.Just like creating a somewhat new concept for-profit social enterprisethere are challenges, learnings, and triumphs. Entrepreneurs can play a significant role in alleviating these problems and help millions of people across the globe.

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Social Enterprise. In a world that's riddled with environmental, social and economic challenges, it's more important than ever to create meaningful solutions that improve the lives of people and the environment. Next Article -- shares Add to Queue. Image credit: Pixabay. Cedrick Tandong. May 13, 4 min read. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The Power of Passive Income. Success is Easy Buy From. Success is Easy. Start Your Own Photography Business. Start Your Own Business. Start Your Own Etsy Business. Latest on Entrepreneur.You can report issue about the content on this page here Want to share your content on R-bloggers? In this tutorial we will have a look at how you can write a basic for loop in R.

Conceptually, a loop is a way to repeat a sequence of instructions under certain conditions. They allow you to automate parts of your code that are in need of repetition. Sounds weird?

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No worries, it will become more clear once we start working with some examples below. Before you dive into writing loops in R, there is one important thing you should know.

Simply put, this allows for much faster calculations. For example, solutions that make use of loops are less efficient than vectorized solutions that make use of apply functions, such as lapply and sapply. Nevertheless, as a beginner in R, it is good to have a basic understanding of loops and how to write them. If you want to learn more on the concepts of vectorization in R, this is a good read. Suppose you want to do several printouts of the following form: The year is [year] where [year] is equal to, up to You can do this as follows:.

You immediately see this is rather tedious: you repeat the same code chunk over and over. In this case, by making use of a for loop in R, you can automate the repetitive part:. Once the for loop has executed the code chunk for every year in the vector, the loop stops and goes to the first instruction after the loop block. See how we did that? By using a for loop you only need to write down your code chunk once instead of six times. The for loop then runs the statement once for each provided value the different years we provided and sets the variable year in this case to that value.

You can even simplify the code even more: c ,, can also be written as ; this creates the exact same sequence:. As a last note on the for loop in R: in this case we made use of the variable year but in fact any variable could be used here.

For example you could have used ia commonly-used variable in for loops that stands for index:. This produces the exact same output.

Suppose you need to print all uneven numbers between 1 and 10 but even numbers should not be printed. In that case your loop would look like this:. Notice the introduction of the next statement. When i is between 1 and 10 we enter the loop and if not the loop stops.

In case we enter the loop, we need to check if the value of i is uneven. In case the remainder is non zero, the if statement evaluates to TRUE and we enter the conditional. Here we now see the next statement which causes to loop back to the i in condition thereby ignoring the the instructions that follows so the print i. In this short tutorial you got acquainted with the for loop in R. While the usage of loops in general should be avoided in R, it still remains valuable to have this knowledge in your skillset.

It helps you understand underlying principles, and when prototyping a loop solution is easy to code and read. In case you want to learn more on loops, you can always check this R tutorial.

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A Tutorial on Loops in R - Usage and Alternatives

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