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Get the Maximum value in an R Vector

A vector is a one-dimensional data structure used to store data of the same type in R. Numeric vectors are commonly used to store a sequence of numbers. In this tutorial, we will look at how to get the maximum value in an R vector with the help of some examples.

How to get the max value in a vector in R?

You can use the R max() function to get the maximum value in a vector. Pass the vector as an argument to the function. The following is the syntax –

# get the max value in a vector
max(x, na.rm=FALSE)

The following are the arguments that you can give to the max() function in R.

  • x – The vector for which you want to compute the max value.
  • na.rm – (Optional argument) Indicates whether to remove missing values before computing the maximum. It is FALSE by default.

The function returns the max value in the passed vector.

Examples

Let’s look at some examples of using the above method to get the max value in a vector.

Maximum value in a numeric vector

Let’s create a vector of numbers (and without any NA values) and apply the max() function.

# create a vector of numbers
vec <- c(1, 3, 5, 4)
# max value in vector
max(vec)

Output:

5

We get 5 as the max value in the above vector, which is the correct answer.

What would happen if there are some NA present values in the vector?

Let’s find out.

First, we will create a vector with some NA values and then apply the max() function without any additional arguments.

# create a vector with NA values
vec <- c(1, 3, NA, 5, NA, 4, NA)
# max value in the vector
max(vec)

Output:

<NA>

You can see that we get NA as the output. This is because comparing a value with NA results in an NA in R.

Maximum in a vector with NA values

You can pass TRUE to the na.rm parameter of the max() function to exclude missing values when computing the maximum value in a vector.

# create a vector with NA values
vec <- c(1, 3, NA, 5, NA, 4, NA, NA)
# max value in the vector
max(vec, na.rm=TRUE)

Output:

5

Now we get the maximum value in the above vector as 5.

Maximum value in a character vector

The max() function also works similarly on a vector of characters. For example, let’s see what we get on applying the max() function on a vector of characters.

# create a vector of chracters
vec <- c("a", "b", "c", "d")
# max value in the vector
max(vec)

Output:

'd'

Here, we get ‘d’ as the maximum value in the above vector which contains the values ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’, and ‘d’.

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Author

  • Piyush

    Piyush is a data scientist passionate about using data to understand things better and make informed decisions. In the past, he's worked as a Data Scientist for ZS and holds an engineering degree from IIT Roorkee. His hobbies include watching cricket, reading, and working on side projects.