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What is param6?

param6 is an R6 parameter set interface for storing multiple parameters that may be used in other R6 (or other paradigm) objects. Key use-cases for R6 parameter sets have been seen in packages such as:

  1. distr6 - In which R6 distribution objects require parameter sets in order to parametrise a given probability distribution. Parameters as objects allows efficient getting and setting of parameters, as well as composition of distributions.
  2. mlr3 - In which R6 learners require parameter sets for passing parameters to machine learning models. Storing parameter set objects allows efficient tuning over these parameters.

Main Features

Some main features/key use-cases of param6 includes:

prms <- list(
  prm(id = "a", support = "reals", value = 1),
  prm(id = "b", support = "naturals")
##    Id Support Value Tags
## 1:  a       ℝ     1
## 2:  b      ℕ0
prms <- list(
  prm(id = "a", support = "reals", value = 1, tags = "t1"),
  prm(id = "b", support = "nnaturals", tags = "t2")
                 list(required = "t1", unique = "t2"))
##    Id Support Value Tags
## 1:  a       ℝ     1   t1
## 2:  b    ℕ0^n         t2
prms <- list(
  prm(id = "a", support = "reals", value = 1, tags = "t1"),
  prm(id = "b", support = "naturals", tags = "t2")
p <- ParameterSet$new(prms)
p$values$b <- 2
## $a
## [1] 1
## $b
## [1] 2
p$get_values(tags = "t1", simplify = FALSE)
## $a
## [1] 1
p <- ParameterSet$new(
  list(prm(id = "a", support = "naturals", value = 4))
p$trafo <- function(x, self) {
  x$a <- 2^x$a
p$get_values("a", simplify = FALSE)
## $a
## [1] 16
p <- ParameterSet$new(list(
  prm(id = "a", support = "naturals"),
  prm(id = "b", support = "naturals")
p$add_dep("a", "b", cnd("eq", 4))
p$values$b <- 5
p$values$a <- 1 # fails as b != 4
## Error in .return_fail(msg = msg, error_on_fail): Dependency of a on 'b == {4}' failed.
p$values$b <- 4
p$values$a <- 1 # now works
## $a
## [1] 1
## $b
## [1] 4

Why param6?

param6 began as the ParameterSet object in distr6. However this initial attempt at an R6 parameter set interface, had massive bottlenecks that were causing substantial problems in dependencies. param6 is an abstracted parameter set interface that draws influence from this initial design. param6 achieves faster run-times and smaller object-sizes than other parameter set packages by making the following design decisions:


For the latest release on CRAN, install with


Otherwise for the latest stable build


Future Plans

The param6 API is still experimental and may be subject to major changes. To understand if param6 fulfills it’s initial use-case correctly, the next step will be to incorporate the package in distr6, which may involve minor or major changes to the current API. From there, Rcpp will be embraced more fully in set6 and then in param6 to improve package speed.

Package Development and Contributing

param6 is released under the MIT licence. We welcome and appreciate all new issues relating to bug reports, questions and suggestions. You can also start a discussion for more extensive feedback or feature suggestion.


As well as building on the work of distr6, the designs and some method names of param6 are based on the work of paradox. Additionally, some decisions were based on designs in mcstate.