The caret package (short for Classification And REgression Training) is a set of functions that attempt to streamline the process for creating predictive models. The package contains tools for:
- data splitting
- feature selection
- model tuning using resampling
- variable importance estimation
as well as other functionality.
Shameless promotion! I have a book called Applied Predictive Modeling which features caret and many other packages. It is available through Spinger, Amazon and discriminating booksellers everywhere. There is also a website and a blog.
There are many different modeling functions in R. Some have different syntax for model training and/or prediction. The package started off as a way to provide a uniform interface the functions themselves, as well as a way to standardize common tasks (such parameter tuning and variable importance).
The current release version can be found on CRAN.
You can always email me with questions, comments or suggestions.