# Stair step interpolation in R

## 2007/11/15

[StATS]: **Stair step interpolation in R (November 15

• 2007)**.

I am working on some charts that show discrete (sudden) jumps at specific time points. This requires the use of stair step interpolation

• because if you just connected the lines
• it would imply a linear transition between consecutive points. Here’s an example of the plot I want.

It shows the number of patients at risk during any time point in the study. The number at risk has to be a whole number because it is impossible to have half a patient at risk in a study.

Here’s what it would look like if I just connected the dots.

The programming language R allows you to connect the points either a linear transition (which is what you want for most plots) or using a stair step transition. With a stair step transition

• you have the choice of moving first horizontally and then vertically
• or vice versa. If you specify a lower case s for the type of graph
• R will move horizontally first during the transition. If you specify an upper case S
• R will move vertically first during the transition. If you specify a lower case l
• R will use a linear transition between data points.

Here’s a simple example. The following R code

plot(0:5,5:0) lines(0:5,5:0,type="s")

will produce this plot.

Notice that when you move from (5,0) to (4,1)

• you produce horizontally along y=5 and then drop down to 4 when x reaches 1. Change the R code to this

plot(0:5,5:0) lines(0:5,5:0,type="S")

and you get this plot instead.

Now when you move from (5,0) to (4,1)

• you drop veritcally to 4 first and then proceed horizontally until you reach x=1. It a subtle difference
• but it is important. Finally
• use this code

plot(0:5,5:0) lines(0:5,5:0,type="l")

to get this plot

This plot shows a linear transition between (5,0) and (4,1).

This page was written by Steve Simon while working at Children’s Mercy Hospital. Although I do not hold the copyright for this material

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• [Category: R for pages similar to this one at [Category: Graphical with general help resources. You can also browse Children’s Mercy Hospital website. Need more information? I have a page reproducing it here as a service
• as it is no longer available on the Hospital. Although I do not hold the copyright for this material
• I am This page was written by Steve Simon while working at Children’s Mercy