tracemem() Function in R (2 Examples) | Trace Copying of Data Objects


In this article, I’ll demonstrate how to apply the tracemem function in the R programming language.

The tutorial will contain the following content:

Let’s just jump right in:


Creation of Example Data

Before all else, we need to create some example data:

x <- 1:5                            # Create vector object
x                                   # Print vector object
# [1] 1 2 3 4 5

Have a look at the previous output of the RStudio console. It shows that our exemplifying data is a vector object containing a numeric range from the values 1 to 5.


Example 1: Create Copy of Vector with Same Memory Address

This example demonstrates how to construct a copy of our vector object that has the same memory address.

We can accomplish this by using the assignment operator a shown below:

x_copy1 <- x                        # Create copy of vector
x_copy1                             # Print copy of vector
# [1] 1 2 3 4 5

Now, we can apply the tracemem function to test if both vector objects share the same memory address:

tracemem(x) == tracemem(x_copy1)    # Check if memory addresses are the same
# [1] TRUE

The RStudio console returns the logical indicator TRUE, i.e. both data objects have the same memory address.


Example 2: Create Copy of Vector with Different Memory Address

The following R syntax illustrates how to duplicate a data object, but use a different memory address.

For this task, we can wrap the c function around our vector object as shown in the following R code:

x_copy2 <- c(x)                     # Create copy of vector
x_copy2                             # Print copy of vector
# [1] 1 2 3 4 5

Let’s apply the tracemem function once again:

tracemem(x) == tracemem(x_copy2)    # Check if memory addresses are the same
# [1] FALSE

This time, our comparison has revealed the logical indicator FALSE, i.e. the two vector objects do not share the same memory address.


Video & Further Resources

Would you like to learn more about the application of the tracemem function? Then you might want to watch the following video on my YouTube channel. I show the examples of this tutorial in the video:


The YouTube video will be added soon.


In addition to the video, you might want to read the related R articles on this website. You can find some tutorials below.


In summary: In this article you have learned how to use the tracemem function in the R programming language. In case you have additional questions, tell me about it in the comments. Besides that, please subscribe to my email newsletter for regular updates on new tutorials.


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