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For each factor variable in a vector, tapply() computes a measure (mean, median, min, max, etc.) or a function. It's a helpful function that allows you to construct a subset of a vector and then apply functions to each subset separately.

The apply() family is part of the R base package and contains methods for repetitively manipulating slices of data from matrices, arrays, lists, and dataframes. These routines allow you to cross data in a variety of ways without having to utilise loop constructs explicitly.

For an example of a specific tapply method, see tapply,Vector,ANY-method in the IRanges package (defined for Vector objects).

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