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May. 22, 2018
Aug. 25, 2015

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ranger: A Fast Implementation of Random Forests

Marvin N. Wright


ranger is a fast implementation of random forest (Breiman 2001) or recursive partitioning, particularly suited for high dimensional data. Classification, regression, probability estimation and survival forests are supported. Classification and regression forests are implemented as in the original Random Forest (Breiman 2001), survival forests as in Random Survival Forests (Ishwaran et al. 2008). For probability estimation forests see Malley et al. (2012).

ranger is written in C++, but a version for R is available, too. We recommend to use the R version. It is easy to install and use and the results are readily available for further analysis. The R version is as fast as the standalone C++ version.


R version

To install the ranger R package from CRAN, just run


R version >= 3.1 is required. With recent R versions, multithreading on Windows platforms should just work. If you compile yourself, the new RTools toolchain is required.

To install the development version from GitHub using devtools, run


Standalone C++ version

To install the C++ version of ranger in Linux or Mac OS X you will need a compiler supporting C++11 (i.e. gcc >= 4.7 or Clang >= 3.0) and Cmake. To build start a terminal from the ranger main directory and run the following commands

cd cpp_version
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..

After compilation there should be an executable called "ranger" in the build directory.

To run the C++ version in Microsoft Windows please cross compile or ask for a binary.


R version

For usage of the R version see ?ranger in R. Most importantly, see the Examples section. As a first example you could try

ranger(Species ~ ., data = iris)

Standalone C++ version

In the C++ version type

ranger --help 

for a list of commands. First you need a training dataset in a file. This file should contain one header line with variable names and one line with variable values per sample. Variable names must not contain any whitespace, comma or semicolon. Values can be seperated by whitespace, comma or semicolon but can not be mixed in one file. A typical call of ranger would be for example

ranger --verbose --file data.dat --depvarname Species --treetype 1 --ntree 1000 --nthreads 4

If you find any bugs, or if you experience any crashes, please report to us. If you have any questions just ask, we won't bite.

Please cite our paper if you use ranger.


  • Wright, M. N. & Ziegler, A. (2017). ranger: A Fast Implementation of Random Forests for High Dimensional Data in C++ and R. Journal of Statistical Software 77:1-17.
  • Schmid, M., Wright, M. N. & Ziegler, A. (2016). On the use of Harrell’s C for clinical risk prediction via random survival forests. Expert Systems with Applications 63:450-459.
  • Wright, M. N., Dankowski, T. & Ziegler, A. (2017). Unbiased split variable selection for random survival forests using maximally selected rank statistics. Statistics in Medicine.
  • Breiman, L. (2001). Random forests. Machine learning 45:5-32.
  • Ishwaran, H., Kogalur, U. B., Blackstone, E. H., & Lauer, M. S. (2008). Random survival forests. The Annals of Applied Statistics 2:841-860.
  • Malley, J. D., Kruppa, J., Dasgupta, A., Malley, K. G., & Ziegler, A. (2012). Probability machines: consistent probability estimation using nonparametric learning machines. Methods of Information in Medicine 51:74-81.

Latest Releases
Version 0.8.3 for Windows
 Dec. 13 2017
 Dec. 1 2017
Version 0.4.2: Windows multithreading support
 May. 2 2016
CRAN version 0.4.0
 Apr. 7 2016
CRAN version 0.3.0
 Nov. 10 2015