Greenplum PL/R Language Extension

Greenplum PL/R Language Extension

About Greenplum Database PL/R

PL/R is a procedural language. With the Greenplum Database PL/R extension you can write database functions in the R programming language and use R packages that contain R functions and data sets.

For information about supported PL/R versions, see the Greenplum Database Release Notes.

Enabling PL/R Language Support

For each database that requires its use, register the PL/R language with the SQL command CREATE LANGUAGE or the utility createlang. Because PL/R is an untrusted language, only superusers can register PL/R with a database. For example, running this command as the gpadmin system user registers the language with the database named testdb:

$ createlang plr -d testdb

PL/R is registered as an untrusted language.


The following are simple PL/R examples.

Example 1: Using PL/R for single row operators

This function generates an array of numbers with a normal distribution using the R function rnorm().

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION r_norm(n integer, mean float8, 
  std_dev float8) RETURNS float8[ ] AS

The following CREATE TABLE command uses the r_norm function to populate the table. The r_norm function creates an array of 10 numbers.

CREATE TABLE test_norm_var
  AS SELECT id, r_norm(10,0,1) as x
  FROM (SELECT generate_series(1,30:: bigint) AS ID) foo

Example 2: Returning PL/R data.frames in Tabular Form

Assuming your PL/R function returns an R data.frame as its output, unless you want to use arrays of arrays, some work is required to see your data.frame from PL/R as a simple SQL table:

  • Create a TYPE in a Greenplum database with the same dimensions as your R data.frame:
    CREATE TYPE t1 AS ...
  • Use this TYPE when defining your PL/R function
    ... RETURNS SET OF t1 AS ...

Sample SQL for this is given in the next example.

Example 3: Hierarchical Regression using PL/R

The SQL below defines a TYPE and runs hierarchical regression using PL/R:

--Create TYPE to store model results
CREATE TYPE wj_model_results AS (
  cs text, coefext float, ci_95_lower float, ci_95_upper float, 
  ci_90_lower, float, ci_90_upper float, ci_80_lower, 
  float, ci_80_upper float);

--Create PL/R function to run model in R
DROP FUNCTION wj.plr.RE(response float [ ], cs text [ ])
RETURNS SETOF wj_model_results AS
  y<- log(response)
  cs<- cs
  d_temp<- data.frame(y,cs)
  m0 <- lmer (y ~ 1 + (1 | cs), data=d_temp)
  cs_unique<- sort(unique(cs))
  n_cs_unique<- length(cs_unique)
  temp_m0<- data.frame(matrix0,n_cs_unique, 7))
  for (i in 1:n_cs_unique){temp_m0[i,]<-
    c(exp(coef(m0)$cs[i,1] + c(0,-1.96,1.96,-1.65,1.65
  names(temp_m0)<- c("Coefest", "CI_95_Lower",
    "CI_95_Upper", "CI_90_Lower", "CI_90_Upper",
   "CI_80_Lower", "CI_80_Upper")
  temp_m0_v2<- data.frames(cs_unique, temp_m0)

--Run modeling plr function and store model results in a 
DROP TABLE IF EXISTS wj_model_results_roi;
CREATE TABLE wj_model_results_roi AS SELECT * 
  FROM wj.plr_RE((SELECT wj.droi2_array), 
  (SELECT cs FROM wj.droi2_array));

Downloading and Installing R Packages

R packages are modules that contain R functions and data sets. You can install R packages to extend R and PL/R functionality in Greenplum Database.

Note: If you expand Greenplum Database and add segment hosts, you must install the R packages in the R installation of the new hosts.
  1. For an R package, identify all dependent R packages and each package web URL. The information can be found by selecting the given package from the following navigation page:

    As an example, the page for the R package arm indicates that the package requires the following R libraries: Matrix, lattice, lme4, R2WinBUGS, coda, abind, foreign, and MASS.

    You can also try installing the package with R CMD INSTALL command to determine the dependent packages.

    For the R installation included with the Greenplum Database PL/R extension, the required R packages are installed with the PL/R extension. However, the Matrix package requires a newer version.

  2. From the command line, use the wget utility to download the tar.gz files for the arm package to the Greenplum Database master host:
  3. Use the gpscp utility and the hosts_all file to copy the tar.gz files to the same directory on all nodes of the Greenplum cluster. The hosts_all file contains a list of all the Greenplum Database segment hosts. You might require root access to do this.
    gpscp -f hosts_all Matrix_0.9996875-1.tar.gz =:/home/gpadmin 
    gpscp -f /hosts_all arm_1.5-03.tar.gz =:/home/gpadmin
  4. Use the gpssh utility in interactive mode to log into each Greenplum Database segment host (gpssh -f all_hosts). Install the packages from the command prompt using the R CMD INSTALL command. Note that this may require root access. For example, this R install command installs the packages for the arm package.
    $R_HOME/bin/R CMD INSTALL Matrix_0.9996875-1.tar.gz   arm_1.5-03.tar.gz
  5. Ensure that the package is installed in the $R_HOME/library directory on all the segments (the gpssh can be use to install the package). For example, this gpssh command list the contents of the R library directory.
    gpssh -f all_hosts "ls $R_HOME/library"
  6. Test if the R package can be loaded.

    This function performs a simple test to if an R package can be loaded:

    CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION R_test_require(fname text)
    RETURNS boolean AS
    LANGUAGE 'plr';

    This SQL command checks if the R package arm can be loaded:

    SELECT R_test_require('arm');

Displaying R Library Information

You can use the R command line to display information about the installed libraries and functions on the Greenplum Database host. You can also add and remove libraries from the R installation. To start the R command line on the host, log into the host as the gadmin user and run the script R from the directory $GPHOME/ext/R-2.12.0/bin.

This R function lists the available R packages from the R command line:

> library()

Display the documentation for a particular R package

> library(help="package_name")
> help(package="package_name")

Display the help file for an R function:

> help("function_name")
> ?function_name

To see what packages are installed, use the R command installed.packages(). This will return a matrix with a row for each package that has been installed. Below, we look at the first 5 rows of this matrix.

> installed.packages()

Any package that does not appear in the installed packages matrix must be installed and loaded before its functions can be used.

An R package can be installed with install.packages():

> install.packages("package_name") 
> install.packages("mypkg", dependencies = TRUE, type="source")
Load a package from the R command line.
> library(" package_name ") 

An R package can be removed with remove.packages

> remove.packages("package_name")

You can use the R command -e option to run functions from the command line. For example, this command displays help on the R package MASS.

$ R -e 'help("MASS")'

References - The R Project home page - GitHub repository that contains information about using R with Pivotal Data Fabric, including Pivotal Greenplum Database. - GitHub repository for PivotalR, a package that provides an R interface to operate on Greenplum Database tables and views that is similar to the R data.frame. PivotalR also supports using the machine learning package MADlib directly from R.

R documentation is installed with the Greenplum R package:


R Functions and Arguments

Passing Data Values in R