Creating Networks in R

While metawards is a Python module, you can use the metawards module directly in R.

This is because the reticulate project lets you embed and use Python directly in your R scripts.

Installing MetaWards in R

You can install MetaWards by starting R and typing;

> library(devtools)
> install_github("metawards/rpkg")

This will install the MetaWards R package.

Next, you need to install MetaWards itself. The R package provides a convenient function to support this. Type;

> metawards::py_install_metawards()

This will download and install the metawards module into the Python interpreter associated with reticulate. If you want to specify the Python interpreter manually, you would need to type;

> reticulate::use_python("/path/to/python", required = TRUE)

before calling py_install_metawards(). Here /path/to/python is the path to the Python interpreter you want to use.

You can double-check that MetaWards is available and working by typing;

> metawards::py_metawards_available()
[1] TRUE

You can get the version of MetaWards Python installed using;

> metawards::py_version_metawards()
[1] "1.3.0"

You can check if updates to MetaWards are available using;

> metawards::py_metawards_update_available()

and can update MetaWards in Python to the latest version using;

> metawards::py_update_metawards()

Using metawards in R

To load the metawards module type;

> library(metawards)

This loads all of the metawards Python objects into the metawards namespace in R. You can then call those objects directly as you would in Python.

For example, we can create the same custom network containing Bristol and London in R as we did in Python via;

> wards <- metawards$Wards()
> bristol <- metawards$Ward(name="Bristol")
> bristol$add_workers(500, destination=bristol)
> bristol$set_num_players(750)
> print(bristol)
Ward( id=1, name=Bristol, num_workers=500, num_players=750 )
> london <- metawards$Ward(name="London")
> london$add_workers(8500, destination=london)
> london$set_num_players(10000)
> print(london)
Ward( id=2, name=London, num_workers=8500, num_players=10000 )
> bristol$add_workers(500, destination=london)
> london$add_workers(100, destination=bristol)
> wards$add(bristol)
> wards$add(london)
> print(wards)
[ Ward( id=1, name=Bristol, num_workers=1000, num_players=750 ), Ward( id=2, name=London, num_workers=8600, num_players=10000 ) ]
> wards$to_json("custom_network.json", indent=2)
[1] "/path/to/custom_network.json.bz2"

This should result in a (compressed) file called custom_network.json.bz2, which should have identical contents as if you have run these commands in Python, e.g.

    "id": 1,
    "info": {
      "name": "Bristol"
    "num_workers": 1000,
    "num_players": 750,
    "workers": {
      "destination": [
      "population": [
    "id": 2,
    "info": {
      "name": "London"
    "num_workers": 8600,
    "num_players": 10000,
    "workers": {
      "destination": [
      "population": [

Going further

This was a simple example. However, I hope this is enough to show you how you can begin to use the Python metawards module within R using reticulate. More details about reticulate, more advanced ways of calling Python, plus how to set up code completion and inline help are also available at the reticulate project webpage.