Joy Payton
Joy Payton
1 min read


Cloud Tools for the Unconvinced

Are you curious about R or Python but not sure you want to commit? Do you have public (not CHOP) data you could play with to practice and learn? If so, you might be interested in some cloud-based tools that allow you to use data analytics software in your browser, without downloading a new application.

Note that these services are hosted in the public cloud, which is not a place your research or clinical data should be. Limit yourself to public data, like that found at is a cloud-based version of RStudio server. If you’ve ever wanted to try out R (in combination with RStudio), this site is great. It allows you to sign up for free and have workspaces that can be private or shared publicly, and it has all the features of the RStudio you’d deploy on your local computer or a server shared by your team. To create an account, go to Want to get a jump start? Make a copy of, which is a project (made up of all public data!) I presented at the Advancing Analytics for Children’s Hospitals at Lurie Children’s in Chicago this year.

Colaboratory is a Google product that allows you to create Jupyter (python) notebooks. This is how Google describes it:

Colaboratory is a free Jupyter notebook environment that requires no setup and runs entirely in the cloud. With Colaboratory you can write and execute code, save and share your analyses, and access powerful computing resources, all for free from your browser.

Want to see Colab in action? Check out a short notebook I did to show some novice programmers how to do stats in Python].

If you find that you enjoy working in these environments and want to work with them at CHOP, consider using to request a virtual desktop (VDI) with Anaconda (a great Python distribution with all the tools you need, including Jupyter notebooks) and/or R and RStudio. Or, if you’d like Anaconda or R and RStudio installed on your local machine, either install it yourself (if you have admin rights), or request that they be installed for you through a Service Now ticket.