While Steve is a little “under the weather” (it must be all the snow that Al Gore sent him), I thought I’d mention an interesting article in the New York Times which sings the praises of the programming language R.
R is similar to other programming languages, like C, Java and Perl, in that it helps people perform a wide variety of computing tasks by giving them access to various commands. For statisticians, however, R is particularly useful because it contains a number of built-in mechanisms for organizing data, running calculations on the information and creating graphical representations of data sets.
Some people familiar with R describe it as a supercharged version of Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet software that can help illuminate data trends more clearly than is possible by entering information into rows and columns.
What makes R so useful — and helps explain its quick acceptance — is that statisticians, engineers and scientists can improve the software’s code or write variations for specific tasks. Packages written for R add advanced algorithms, colored and textured graphs and mining techniques to dig deeper into databases.
So there you have it: R is the future.
Give up the Fortran, Mike and the Hockey Team, and join the 21st Century. Uncle Steve does know best.
R can be downloaded at http://www.r-project.org/ and is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX. And its free.