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John Cook: Why and How People Use R

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R is a strange, deeply flawed language that nevertheless has an enthusiastic and rapidly growing user base. What about R accounts for its popularity in its niche? What can language designers learn from R's success?

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  • Great talk!

    By popular demand I have some experience teaching R to novices. Being a mathematician with a fair amount of computer science experience, I always found myself rather uncomfortable teaching these R workshops and courses. In particular, students that know how to program in e.g. C++, C# or Java, find themselves totally lost by its peculiarities (or maybe even misconceptions???). 

    John really nails the issues in this talk. Honestly, I was somewhat sceptical seeing a talk on R in the Lang.Next conference, but I totally subscribe to John's point of view here. Statisticians love R, I do not... In particular lack of decent tools is unbearable once you are used to IDEs like Visual Studio 2010. Indeed there is quite some room for designing a suitable and reliable DSL for statistics and the proper tools that go with it! Maybe call it Q#++?

  • Shashi PenumarthySpace_Cow I like cows

    I am a C# .net programmer. Did Java and Python in the past as well. I absolutely loved R for what it could do and in fact it replaced a lot of my Excel/SQL use.

    If you can think in terms of vectors, R is a breeze to learn and use. The main issue is that people try to label R as this or that (object-oriented, functional, scripting, 'like scheme', etc). Instead if you stop trying to label it and just learn the way it works, you can do some incredible stuff with it.

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