Communication and Social Networks (Fall 2022)/Scholar Setup

From CommunityData

R is a statistical programming language. People use it for lots of things, but in this class we will focus on using it to analyze and visualize social networks.

To help you to learn how to do this, we will go through a number of labs. The first ones will be really basic, but by the end you will be able to create complex, compelling visualizations from network data.

In the past, I have had students use R on their own computers. You are welcome to do that, if you would like. But I have also requested access for our class on the Scholar cluster run by Purdue research computing. Basically, there are a bunch of high-powered computers that our class has access to, and you can do your work there.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to log in to Scholar, and will get set up so you are ready for the labs.

Step 1: Log in[edit]

  1. Go to
  2. Log in with your BoilerKey
  3. Click on Interactive Apps: R Studio Server
  4. For the options select "scholar", "4.05", 1 hour, 1 core (you can change this to up to 4 hours later when you're actually using it for work)
  5. Click Launch
  6. When the job starts, click "Connect to R Studio Server"

Step 2: Install packages[edit]

  1. Go back to the console tab
  2. Run the following:
  1. Note: If you run into problems try the following:
    • Stop R (Session: Terminate R)
    • Click on the Terminal tab (right next to "Console" in the bottom right of RStudio)
    • Copy the following and right-click to paste it into the terminal:
   rm -rf ~/R/x86_64-pc-linux-gnu-library/4.0/*

Step 3: Load the Labs[edit]

1. Download all of the labs by clicking this link.

2. Go back into RStudio; in the bottom right pane click "Files", then "New Folder" and create a new folder for our class - something like "COM 411 R Labs".

3. In that bottom right pane click "Upload", and upload the ZIP file. It should extract all of the labs for the class.

Step 4: Testing[edit]

  • In the bottom right pane, click Files, then click on lab_1_r_markdown.Rmd. A weird looking file should show up in the top left pane.
  • In the top left pane, click "Knit". Some text should appear in the bottom left panel, and after 20 seconds or so, you should see a new window appear with a document titled "Markdown and Network Plotting".
  • It is fairly likely that you will get a bug when knitting about not having pandoc installed. If so, you will need to run the following in the Terminal tab:
   module load anaconda
  • Then restart R (Session : Restart R)

We'll talk about what all of this means soon, but for now, if that document appears, then you have done everything right and you're ready to go!