The R Project for Statistical Computing

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The R Project for Statistical Computing

Postby Egaladeist » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:23 pm

R is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. It is a GNU project which is similar to the S language and environment which was developed at Bell Laboratories (formerly AT&T, now Lucent Technologies) by John Chambers and colleagues. R can be considered as a different implementation of S. There are some important differences, but much code written for S runs unaltered under R.

R provides a wide variety of statistical (linear and nonlinear modelling, classical statistical tests, time-series analysis, classification, clustering, ...) and graphical techniques, and is highly extensible. The S language is often the vehicle of choice for research in statistical methodology, and R provides an Open Source route to participation in that activity.

One of R's strengths is the ease with which well-designed publication-quality plots can be produced, including mathematical symbols and formulae where needed. Great care has been taken over the defaults for the minor design choices in graphics, but the user retains full control.

R is available as Free Software under the terms of the Free Software Foundation's GNU General Public License in source code form. It compiles and runs on a wide variety of UNIX platforms and similar systems (including FreeBSD and Linux), Windows and MacOS.

http://www.r-project.org/
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Re: The R Project for Statistical Computing

Postby cgkanchi » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:55 pm

Been playing with this during my PhD, and I know several people who use it and swear by it. It's a truly impressive open-source software that is replacing established paid-for software in academia.
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Re: The R Project for Statistical Computing

Postby cgkanchi » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:58 pm

Additionally, there is an open-source program called Octave that is intended to be a replacement for MATLAB. I don't know if anyone here uses MATLAB, but Octave is a decent open-source replacement (if with somewhat less features). http://www.gnu.org/software/octave/

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Re: The R Project for Statistical Computing

Postby outerlimit » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:26 am

I've used MATLAB before, but its been several years since I've had to use it...
I have a license through the software package I had to buy my freshmen year, so I'm able to get free updates.
Friend of mine told me about Octave, I've installed it once but never really played with it.
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Re: The R Project for Statistical Computing

Postby cgkanchi » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:23 am

To be fair, I use MATLAB over Octave myself. The core language is very similar (as close to identical as possible), but a lot of the peripheral "toolboxes" that you get with MATLAB aren't present in Octave yet. Since I need a few features from the toolboxes, Octave is out for me, especially since I use MATLAB for quick prototyping of maths code before it goes into Java, so spending time writing replacements for the toolboxes is right out.

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Re: The R Project for Statistical Computing

Postby Kwiep » Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:36 pm

I use MATLAB for the same reason, the crazy damn lot of toolboxes.

Altough if octave uses a similar scripting language you can probably use the .m files of most toolboxes.
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Re: The R Project for Statistical Computing

Postby cgkanchi » Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:34 pm

You probably could, but the whole point of using Octave would be defeated as the toolboxes are probably copyrighted by MathWorks, so you couldn't pass your code on to anyone who didn't have MATLAB installed.

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Re: The R Project for Statistical Computing

Postby Timaxe » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:51 pm

I haven't used Octave in a long time. Some time back I found SciLab ( http://www.scilab.org/ ) which is considered much closer to MatLab. I didn't use it much under Linux, but now that I'm back on Windows I think I'll take the Win32 binaries out for a spin.

SciLab & MatLab Comparison: http://www.num.uni-sb.de/iam/studium/vo ... SCILAB.pdf

Something that I used a bit because it is friggin sweet is Sage ( http://www.sagemath.org/ ). If you've used Mathematica before, this is basically a version that you can access in your web browser. You install the server, and the client is any web browser. I think by default it has its own math back end, but you can configure it to use Octave, MatLab, or Mathematica.

There are some public servers (called Sage notebooks) out there if you want to take it for a spin.

See: http://www.sagenb.org/
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