The simulator: An Engine to Streamline Simulations

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Authors Jacob Bien
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Paper Abstract The simulator is an R package that streamlines the process of performing simulations by creating a common infrastructure that can be easily used and reused across projects. Methodological statisticians routinely write simulations to compare their methods to preexisting ones. While developing ideas, there is a temptation to write "quick and dirty" simulations to try out ideas. This approach of rapid prototyping is useful but can sometimes backfire if bugs are introduced. Using the simulator allows one to remove the "dirty" without sacrificing the "quick." Coding is quick because the statistician focuses exclusively on those aspects of the simulation that are specific to the particular paper being written. Code written with the simulator is succinct, highly readable, and easily shared with others. The modular nature of simulations written with the simulator promotes code reusability, which saves time and facilitates reproducibility. The syntax of the simulator leads to simulation code that is easily human-readable. Other benefits of using the simulator include the ability to "step in" to a simulation and change one aspect without having to rerun the entire simulation from scratch, the straightforward integration of parallel computing into simulations, and the ability to rapidly generate plots, tables, and reports with minimal effort.
Date of publication 2016
Code Programming Language R

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