Dynamically Updating Date Labels in App

This post, my first in over year, improves upon the code in my last post. The crime-mapping app I posted in May 2017 included some kludgy, manual handling of dates, such that the categorical, rolling 12-month year labels were hard-coded, rather than dynamically updated with the data’s most recent date. This post presents a much smoother way to automatically assign those date labels, which obviates the need for a user to correctly, manually update that field when updating the data. 

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Parallel Processing

If you've needed to perform the same sequence of tasks or analyses over multiple units, you've probably found for loops helpful. They aren't without their challenges, however - as the number of units increases, the processing time increases. For large data sets, the processing time associated with a sequential for loop can become so cumbersome and unwieldy as to be unworkable. Parallel processing is a really nice alternative in these situations. It makes use of your computer's multiple processing cores to run the for loop code simultaneously across your list of units. This post presents code to: 

  1. Perform an analysis using a conventional for loop.
  2. Modify this code for parallel processing.

To illustrate these approaches, I'll be working with the New Orleans, LA Postal Service addresses data set from the past couple of posts. You can obtain the data set here, and code to quickly transform it for these analyses here.

The question we'll be looking to answer with these analyses is: which areas in and around New Orleans have exhibited the greatest growth in the past couple of years?

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