Cheap and cheerful massively parallel batch R processing on EC2

Louis Aslett

The Amazon EC2 service provides a scalable computing resource enabling clusters of compute power to be provisioned and destroyed quickly making it an economical option when large compute resources are only needed in bursts. In particular, a feature called spot instances can make using EC2 extremely inexpensive, although at the expense unpredictably delayed launch and/or early termination of your instances.

This talk will first give a brief background to EC2 and spot instances for anyone who is unfamiliar with them, and then preview some forthcoming changes to the Amazon EC2 RStudio AMIs maintained by Louis Aslett ( These changes are geared toward making it easy to leverage the cheapest spot instances to process large quantities of R batch jobs in parallel, with robustness to delayed launch and early termination of such instances, enabling cost savings of up to 90%.