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R Programming : ifelse() Function

Tutorial by:Maria Ghoste      Date: 2016-06-10 00:23:47

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Vectors form the basic building block of R programming. Most of the functions in R take vector as input and output a resultant vector. This vectorization of code, will be much faster than applying the same function to each element of the vector individually.

Similar to this concept, there is a vector equivalent form of the if...else statement in R, the ifelse() function.

Syntax of ifelse() function

ifelse(test_expression,x,y)

Here, test_expression must be a logical vector (or an object that can be coerced to logical). The return value is a vector with the same length as test_expression. This returned vector has element from x if the corresponding value of test_expression is TRUE or from y if the corresponding value of test_expression is FALSE. This is to say, the i-th element of result will be x[i] if test_expression[i] is TRUE else it will take the value of y[i]. The vectors x and y are recycled whenever necessary.

Example of ifelse() function

> a = c(5,7,2,9)
> ifelse(a %% 2 == 0,"even","odd")
[1] "odd"  "odd"  "even" "odd" 

In the above example, the test_expression is a %% 2 == 0 which will result into the vector (FALSE,FALSE,TRUE ,FALSE). Similarly, the other two vectors in the function argument gets recycled to ("even","even","even","even") and ("odd","odd","odd","odd") respectively. And hence the result is evaluated accordingly.

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