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Randomly draw elements from an object in R?

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In this article, you’ll learn how to draw elements randomly from an object in R. We will also be creating objects with random values all this using just one function sample()

sample takes a sample of the specified size from the elements of x using either with or without replacement.

Usage

> sample(x, size, replace = FALSE, prob = NULL)

> sample.int(n, size = n, replace = FALSE, prob = NULL,
           useHash = (!replace && is.null(prob) && size <= n/2 && n > 1e7))

Arguments

ValueDescription
xeither a vector of one or more elements from which to choose, or a positive integer. See ‘Details.’
na positive number, the number of items to choose from. See ‘Details.’
sizea non-negative- integer giving the number of items to choose.
replaceshould sampling be with replacement?
proba vector of probability weights for obtaining the elements of the vector being sampled.
useHashlogical indicating if the hash-version of the algorithm should be used. Can only be used for replace = FALSEprob = NULL, and size <= n/2, and really should be used for large n, as useHash=FALSE will use memory proportional to n.

Details

If x has length 1, is numeric (in the sense of is.numeric) and x >= 1, sampling via sample takes place from 1:xNote that this convenience feature may lead to undesired behaviour when x is of varying length in calls such as sample(x). See the examples.

Otherwise x can be any R object for which length and subsetting by integers make sense: S3 or S4 methods for these operations will be dispatched as appropriate.

For sample the default for size is the number of items inferred from the first argument, so that sample(x) generates a random permutation of the elements of x (or 1:x).

It is allowed to ask for size = 0 samples with n = 0 or a length-zero x, but otherwise n > 0 or positive length(x) is required.

Non-integer positive numerical values of n or x will be truncated to the next smallest integer, which has to be no larger than .Machine$integer.max.

The optional prob argument can be used to give a vector of weights for obtaining the elements of the vector being sampled. They need not sum to one, but they should be non-negative and not all zero. If replace is true, Walker’s alias method (Ripley, 1987) is used when there are more than 200 reasonably probable values: this gives results incompatible with those from R < 2.2.0.

If replace is false, these probabilities are applied sequentially, that is the probability of choosing the next item is proportional to the weights amongst the remaining items. The number of nonzero weights must be at least size in this case.

sample.int is a bare interface in which both n and size must be supplied as integers.

Argument n can be larger than the largest integer of type integer, up to the largest representable integer in type double.

To draw elements randomly

We first need an object with random values so that we can draw elements from it. And we will be doing this with the help of sample() function.

# Creating a vector of 10 elements.
# Set seed to get the same random values every time.
> set.seed(100)
> x <- sample(1:100, size = 10)
> x
 [1] 74 89 78 23 86 70  4 55 95  7

Now to draw elements randomly from the vector.

# to get one random value from x
> sample(x, 1)
[1] 4

# to get three random values from x
> sample(x, 3)
[1] 89 95  7

Conslusion

Hence, we saw how to draw elements randomly from an object and also about the sample() function with its details and how to use it along with the examples.

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