RServer: Operationalizing R at Electronic Arts

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Description

The motivation for the RServer project is the ability for data scientists at Electronic Arts to offload R computations from their personal machines to the cloud and to enable modeling at scale. The outcome of the project is a web-based tool that our scientists can use to automate running R scripts on virtual machines and perform a variety of reporting and analysis tasks. We are using RServer to operationalize data science at EA.

The core of RServer is a java application that leverages WAMP to provide a web front-end for managing deployed R scripts. At Electronic Arts, we host RServer instances on our on-demand infrastructure and can spin up new machines as necessary to support new products and analyses. In order to deploy scripts to the server, team members check in their R scripts and supporting files to Perforce and modify the server's schedule file.

In addition to the web tool, we've developed an internal R package that provides functionality for connecting to our data sources, password management, and additional features for RServer, such as making R Markdown reports accessible via URLs. Some uses of RServer include running ETLs, creating and emailing R Markdown reports, and hosting dashboards and Shiny applications. This infrastructure enables us to power analytics in a way that is usually reserved for tools like Tableau, while utilizing the full power of R. This presentation will include a live demo of RServer. We are releasing an open-source version of RServer at useR! that supports Git.

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