Morphological Analysis with R

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useR!2017: Morphological Analysis with R

Keywords: Shiny, DataTables, analysis methods, problem-solving
Webpages: https://github.com/sgrubsmyon/morphr
Morphological analysis is a problem-structuring method developed by the astrophysicist Fritz Zwicky in the 1940s to 1960s [1–3]. It can be used to explore and constrain a multi-dimensional, possibly non-quantifiable, problem space. The problem is put into a morphological field, a tabular representation where each parameter corresponds to a column whose rows are filled with the parameter values. Each parameter value is mutually checked for consistency with all other parameter values. This enables to systematically exclude inconsistent configurations and therefore greatly reduces the problem space.
Dedicated software is helpful to visualize and work with a morphological field. While full-fledged software solutions already exist [4,5], they are confined to the Windows desktop and cannot be run in a web browser. The R package morphr is a first step into the direction of a browser-based morphological analysis tool. By leveraging R technology, one can relatively easily bring morphological analysis into a modern, web-centric, cross-platform environment, embedded in an open source ecosystem. Morphological fields and their constraints can be visualized interactively in a web browser: a user can select parameter values via mouse click, causing the field to highlight the remaining configurations consistent with the selection. To provide the interactivity, the package is using R's shiny package and is built on top of the excellent DT package, which is an R wrapper around the JavaScript library DataTables.
In this talk, morphological analysis in general is introduced and it is shown how a morphological analysis can be assisted with R using morphr.
References 1. Zwicky F. Morphology and nomenclature of jet engines. Aeronautical Engineering Review (1947) 6:49–50.

2. Zwicky F. Morphological astronomy. The Observatory (1948) 68:121–143. Available at: http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-iarticle_query?1948Obs....68..121Z&data_type=PDF_HIGH&whole_paper=YES&type=PRINTER&filetype=.pdf

3. Zwicky F, Wilson AG. New methods of thought and procedure - contributions to the symposium on methodologies. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer Science & Business Media (1967). doi:10.1007/978-3-642-87617-2

4. Swedish Morphological Society. General Morphological Analysis - A general method for non-quantified modeling. (2002 (Revised 2013)) Available at: http://www.swemorph.com/ma.html

5. Swedish Morphological Society. MA/Carma™ - Advanced Computer Support for General Morphological Analysis. (2005–2016) Available at: http://www.swemorph.com/macarma.html

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