I have been working with R for some time now, but once in a while, basic functions catch my eye that I was not aware of…
For some project I wanted to transform a correlation matrix into a covariance matrix. Now, since cor2cov does not exist, I thought about “reversing” the cov2cor function (stats:::cov2cor).
Inside the code of this function, a specific line jumped into my retina:

r[] <- Is * V * rep(Is, each = p)

What’s this [ ]?

Well, it stands for every element of matrix . Consider this:

mat <- matrix(NA, nrow = 5, ncol = 5)

> mat
[,1] [,2] [,3] [,4] [,5]
[1,] NA NA NA NA NA
[2,] NA NA NA NA NA
[3,] NA NA NA NA NA
[4,] NA NA NA NA NA
[5,] NA NA NA NA NA

With the empty bracket, we can now substitute ALL values by a new value:

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awesome thanks! one good turn deserves another.
In case you didn’t resolve cor2cov, here’s an eg:

#__________________
# this code shows how to build correlated series, which in this case have lognormal error
# the example represents four time series (so the matrices are 4×4)
require(MASS)

OK, let me try that again. WordPress is destroying lines of text near the character “>” so pretend the prompt is “%”
% r <- something
vs
% r[] <- something

Ok!
r[] <- 5 will fill each element of an existing object with 5 while r <- something, if r already exists, will results in a new object r with a single value 5.
What would be really nice as a syntax:
r[] <- 5 * r[]
doing an element-wise function as a loop instead of lapply.
Should be possible, since lists are stored internally as C objects, not?

awesome thanks! one good turn deserves another.

In case you didn’t resolve cor2cov, here’s an eg:

#__________________

# this code shows how to build correlated series, which in this case have lognormal error

# the example represents four time series (so the matrices are 4×4)

require(MASS)

sd<-log(1.2)

cov.mat<-matrix(c(sd^2,0,0,0,

0,sd^2,0,0,

0,0,sd^2,0,

0,0,0,sd^2),

ncol=4,byrow=T)

# correlation of 50% between series

cor.mat<- matrix(c(1,0.5,0.5,0.5,

0.5,1,0.5,0.5,

0.5,0.5,1,0.5,

0.5,0.5,0.5,1),ncol=4)

# next two lines are cor2cov():

d <- sqrt(diag(cov.mat))

cov.mat2 <- outer(d, d)*cor.mat

cov.mat2

#demonstrating the math is correct:

cov2cor(cov.mat2)

junk<-mvrnorm(100000,mu=rep(log(1e4),4),cov.mat2)

junk2<-exp(junk)

# demonstrating the sampled results have desired correlation:

cor(junk2)

acf(junk2)

Thanks for the code, works like charm!

Great tip, will come in handy (a.s.)

Maybe drop a line to Norman S. Matloff, he can add it to the next addition of “the art of R programming”.

Hmm, can’t imagine it isn’t in there yet…

I will have a look. Thanks for the suggestion!

To make this post complete, you might want to discuss what happens to “r” when you type

> r r[] <- something

Hmm, dunno what you mean… Is your code line correct?

Cheers,

Andrej

Sorry — something fouled up there. I wanted to compare

> r[ ] r <- something

in both the case where "r" previously existed and where it did not.

OK, let me try that again. WordPress is destroying lines of text near the character “>” so pretend the prompt is “%”

% r <- something

vs

% r[] <- something

Ok!

r[] <- 5 will fill each element of an existing object with 5 while r <- something, if r already exists, will results in a new object r with a single value 5.

What would be really nice as a syntax:

r[] <- 5 * r[]

doing an element-wise function as a loop instead of lapply.

Should be possible, since lists are stored internally as C objects, not?

Cheers.

Isnâ€™t this just the same thing as r[,]<-5, which (to my mind) more transparently sets all the elements in all the rows and all the columns to 5?

Yes, you’re right. The version r[] <- 5 works on matrices, data.frames and lists though…

Greets,

Andrej

True – except that if you screw up and type r[,,,]<- 42 but r happens to be of rank !=4 , it'll throw an error. using r[ ] avoids this risk.

Reblogged this on Stats in the Wild and commented:

I didn’t know this either!