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Why R?

The first edition of Polish R Users Conferences called Why R? took place on 27-29 September at Warsaw University of Technology - Faculty of Mathematics and Information Science. The Polish R community is very strong. Dig in into the post to find out what topics did we cover and how the event was held. Pay attention to gifts we’ve prepared for invited speakers!

Last Polish R conference was organized in 2014 in Poznań - since then many R meetups took place in Poland in 3 big cities. Find out the amount of people registering for meetups in the above graph (data taken from meetup.com). The head of the organizing committee of the 2014 conference also organized an European R Users Meeting in 2016 with almost 300 participants from various countries across Europe. This meeting was a trigger for 2 new R users groups in Poland. I wonder what events we will observe after 2017 edition?

About the Why R? 2017 conference

Conference Why R? from Kinema Indigo on Vimeo.

Why R? 2017 conference aimed to be a meeting of R language enthusiasts both from the academia and the business. During this event you could increase your R knowledge, improve your analytic and programming skills and broaden connections with (new) R friends. We covered methodology latest research news, presented software development biggest achievements disclosures and had a great networking program.

After the first round of the registration we noticed over 200 participants from over 20 cities.


The following events were hosted at Why R? 2017 conference:

  • (28.09-29.09) 2 days of lectures divided into 6 themed sessions (26 presentations),
  • 10 lectures of invited speakers,
  • 6 lightning talks,
  • poster session during welcome paRty in the evening of the first conference day,
  • community session / discussion panel,
  • how to teach statistics discussion panel,
  • sponsors session,
  • (27.09) workshops’ day: 2 sessions featuring 9 various workshops each (18 in total),
  • (26.09) hackaton’s day.

Accompanying events

A day before a conference one could attend the Urban Sensors Warsaw Hackathon

and few weeks before one could take a part in the visualizations contest of data from the registration form to win a ticket for the conference (rules are available at the conference blog). Winer visualization was created in Microsoft Power BI by Michał Makowski.

Topics we have covered

We had a chance to listen to 42 presentations (in total) where in a summary they covered:

  • statistical methodology,
  • visualization of data,
  • clinical trials,
  • R integration with other languages / environments,
  • bioinformatics,
  • software development
  • R in business,
  • R community in Poland,
  • educating R and R in education,
  • economics, finance and insurance,
  • reproducible calculations/research,
  • statistical machine learning and predictive models;
  • clustering and segmentation,
  • high performance calculations,
  • spatial statistics,
  • creating and visualizing maps,
  • R in social research,
  • biostatistics and epidemiology,
  • text analysis/mining,
  • calculations in the cloud,
  • image analysis and processing,
  • analysis of time series,
  • shiny applications and htmlwidgets,
  • and many others!


We appreciate the attendance of our invited guests: Tomasz Burzykowski, Ewa Szczurek, Wit Jakuczun, Artur Suchwałko, Małgorzata Bogdan, Michał Ramsza, Maciej Eder, Justyna Brzezińska, Anna Wróblewska and Przemysław Biecek.

Invited talks were also divided (more or less) to thematic sessions: Bioinformatics & Clinical Trials, Business Applications, Education & Science, Text Mining and Data Visualizations.

As part of the gratitude we have prepared special gifts (with a help of Klaudia from Pędzlenie). Each invited speaker got a hand-made painting with a place characteristic to Warsaw with an extra 3D print of the Palace of Culture and Science (thanks to MI2DataLab) that is the most recognizable building in Warsaw. All covered in a jar - unofficial symbol of our city.

Organizing committee

The biggest polish R enthusiasts’ groups were involved in Why R? 2017 event:

Among the community partners registered at meetup.com were extra 5 community groups (Tableau, Data Science, Microsoft Azure, SQL Server), 3 statistical blogs which are recognized among data science community, 3 foundations and a polish podcast about data science.

Main organizing committee was also very numerous

I would like to express my indescribable gratitude for the core team of final preparation of the event (from the left): Aleksandra Dąbrowska-Grudziąż (MI2 group), Klaudia Korniluk (also involved as a graphic designer) and Alicja Gosiewska (MI2 group).

Conference is always a kind place for networking and a special opportunity to keep up with the newest trends and achievements of the science. One can exchange experiences and comments with the people from the industry. We shouldn’t forget that this is also a huge organizational effort for all people involved in the strategic planning and organization. Preparations for the conference started 300 days before the event.

Conference in numbers

As a statistician I naturally like tables and numbers so I have prepared a summary of the conference in numbers. I can’t believe we’ve made so many GitHub commits.


Yes! A themed R travel pillow.


We would like to thank to all sponsors without whom the conference could not happen!

Next year?

We are planning a next conference in 2018! The main leaders of 2018 conference are Society of Wroclaw’s R Users (STWUR) . The event will take place in Wroclaw (2-4 July) and will be all in English as we would like to invite R users also from countries that are adjacent to Poland.

For more information follow Facebook fanpage


Whole event was decorated by materials created by Klaudia Korniluk from Pędzlenie. Klaudia also prepared brochures for the European R Users Meeting in 2016. There are rumors 2018 will be also covered by her paintings.

You can also know her from Incredible Adventures of Beta and Bit that were translated into more than 10 languags (even Chinese).


See you next year!