1.1 What is R
These notes describe how to use R
while learning introductory
statistics. The purpose is to allow this fine software to be used in
"lower-level" courses where often MINITAB, SPSS, Excel, etc. are
used. It is expected that the reader has had at least a pre-calculus
course. It is the hope, that students shown how to
at this early level will better understand the statistical
issues and will ultimately benefit from the more sophisticated
program despite its steeper ``learning curve''.
The benefits of R
for an introductory student are
R is free. R is open-source and runs on UNIX, Windows
- R has an excellent built-in help system.
- R has excellent graphing capabilities.
- Students can easily migrate to the commercially supported S-Plus
program if commercial software is desired.
- R's language has a powerful, easy to learn syntax with many
built-in statistical functions.
- The language is easy to extend with user-written
- R is a computer programming language. For
programmers it will feel more familiar than others and for new
computer users, the next leap to programming will not be so large.
What is R
lacking compared to other software solutions?
It has a limited graphical interface (S-Plus has a good
one). This means, it can be harder to learn at the outset.
- There is no commercial support. (Although one can argue the
international mailing list is even better)
- The command language is a programming language
so students must learn to appreciate syntax issues etc.
is an open-source (GPL) statistical environment modeled after S
S language was developed in the late 1980s at AT&T labs.
project was started by Robert Gentleman and Ross Ihaka of
the Statistics Department of the University of Auckland in 1995. It has
quickly gained a widespread audience. It is currently maintained by
core-development team, a hard-working, international team
developers. The R
project web page
is the main site for information on R
. At this site are directions
for obtaining the software, accompanying packages and other sources
1.2 A note on notation
A few typographical conventions are used in these notes. These
include different fonts for urls
, R commands
different typesetting for
longer sequences of R commands.
Copyright © John Verzani, 2001-2. All rights reserved.