R in the NY Times

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
59 messages Options
123
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

R in the NY Times

Alan Zaslavsky
This article is accompanied by nice pictures of Robert and Ross.

Data Analysts Captivated by Power of R
  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/technology/business-computing/07program.html

January 7, 2009
Data Analysts Captivated by R’s Power
By ASHLEE VANCE

To some people R is just the 18th letter of the alphabet. To others, it’s the rating on racy movies, a measure of an attic’s insulation or what pirates in movies say.

R is also the name of a popular programming language used by a growing number of data analysts inside corporations and academia. It is becoming their lingua franca partly because data mining has entered a golden age, whether being used to set ad prices, find new drugs more quickly or fine-tune financial models. Companies as diverse as Google, Pfizer, Merck, Bank of America, the InterContinental Hotels Group and Shell use it.

But R has also quickly found a following because statisticians, engineers and scientists without computer programming skills find it easy to use.

“R is really important to the point that it’s hard to overvalue it,” said Daryl Pregibon, a research scientist at Google, which uses the software widely. “It allows statisticians to do very intricate and complicated analyses without knowing the blood and guts of computing systems.”

It is also free. R is an open-source program, and its popularity reflects a shift in the type of software used inside corporations. Open-source software is free for anyone to use and modify. I.B.M., Hewlett-Packard and Dell make billions of dollars a year selling servers that run the open-source Linux operating system, which competes with Windows from Microsoft. Most Web sites are displayed using an open-source application called Apache, and companies increasingly rely on the open-source MySQL database to store their critical information. Many people view the end results of all this technology via the Firefox Web browser, also open-source software.

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.

Close to 1,600 different packages reside on just one of the many Web sites devoted to R, and the number of packages has grown exponentially. One package, called BiodiversityR, offers a graphical interface aimed at making calculations of environmental trends easier.

Another package, called Emu, analyzes speech patterns, while GenABEL is used to study the human genome.

The financial services community has demonstrated a particular affinity for R; dozens of packages exist for derivatives analysis alone.

“The great beauty of R is that you can modify it to do all sorts of things,” said Hal Varian, chief economist at Google. “And you have a lot of prepackaged stuff that’s already available, so you’re standing on the shoulders of giants.”

R first appeared in 1996, when the statistics professors Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman of the University of Auckland in New Zealand released the code as a free software package.

According to them, the notion of devising something like R sprang up during a hallway conversation. They both wanted technology better suited for their statistics students, who needed to analyze data and produce graphical models of the information. Most comparable software had been designed by computer scientists and proved hard to use.

Lacking deep computer science training, the professors considered their coding efforts more of an academic game than anything else. Nonetheless, starting in about 1991, they worked on R full time. “We were pretty much inseparable for five or six years,” Mr. Gentleman said. “One person would do the typing and one person would do the thinking.”

Some statisticians who took an early look at the software considered it rough around the edges. But despite its shortcomings, R immediately gained a following with people who saw the possibilities in customizing the free software.

John M. Chambers, a former Bell Labs researcher who is now a consulting professor of statistics at Stanford University, was an early champion. At Bell Labs, Mr. Chambers had helped develop S, another statistics software project, which was meant to give researchers of all stripes an accessible data analysis tool. It was, however, not an open-source project.

The software failed to generate broad interest and ultimately the rights to S ended up in the hands of Tibco Software. Now R is surpassing what Mr. Chambers had imagined possible with S.

“The diversity and excitement around what all of these people are doing is great,” Mr. Chambers said.

While it is difficult to calculate exactly how many people use R, those most familiar with the software estimate that close to 250,000 people work with it regularly. The popularity of R at universities could threaten SAS Institute, the privately held business software company that specializes in data analysis software. SAS, with more than $2 billion in annual revenue, has been the preferred tool of scholars and corporate managers.

“R has really become the second language for people coming out of grad school now, and there’s an amazing amount of code being written for it,” said Max Kuhn, associate director of nonclinical statistics at Pfizer. “You can look on the SAS message boards and see there is a proportional downturn in traffic.”

SAS says it has noticed R’s rising popularity at universities, despite educational discounts on its own software, but it dismisses the technology as being of interest to a limited set of people working on very hard tasks.

“I think it addresses a niche market for high-end data analysts that want free, readily available code," said Anne H. Milley, director of technology product marketing at SAS. She adds, “We have customers who build engines for aircraft. I am happy they are not using freeware when I get on a jet.”

But while SAS plays down R’s corporate appeal, companies like Google and Pfizer say they use the software for just about anything they can. Google, for example, taps R for help understanding trends in ad pricing and for illuminating patterns in the search data it collects. Pfizer has created customized packages for R to let its scientists manipulate their own data during nonclinical drug studies rather than send the information off to a statistician.

The co-creators of R express satisfaction that such companies profit from the fruits of their labor and that of hundreds of volunteers.

Mr. Ihaka continues to teach statistics at the University of Auckland and wants to create more advanced software. Mr. Gentleman is applying R-based software, called Bioconductor, in work he is doing on computational biology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

“R is a real demonstration of the power of collaboration, and I don’t think you could construct something like this any other way,” Mr. Ihaka said. “We could have chosen to be commercial, and we would have sold five copies of the software.”

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Bill Pikounis
Pardon my exuberance, but this is simply awesome. What a treat to find
on the front web page of the NY Times this morning under Technology. I
think the article is very well written by the author, and I think it
captures top highlights of why the software and community are so
special.

Continued high gratitude to all of R-core and the R community for its
unique accomplishments. Every bit of praise is well-earned and
deserved.

I have continuously claimed to colleagues (primarily pharma industry)
for the past 8 years or so that R is the most exciting going on in the
area of statistics.

Thanks,
Bill

####################

Bill Pikounis
Statistician



On Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 08:10, Zaslavsky, Alan M.
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> This article is accompanied by nice pictures of Robert and Ross.
>
> Data Analysts Captivated by Power of R
>  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/technology/business-computing/07program.html
>
> January 7, 2009
> Data Analysts Captivated by R's Power
> By ASHLEE VANCE
>

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Frank Harrell
In reply to this post by Alan Zaslavsky
This is great to see.  It's interesting that SAS Institute feels that
non-peer-reviewed software with hidden implementations of analytic
methods that cannot be reproduced by others should be trusted when
building aircraft engines.

Frank


Zaslavsky, Alan M. wrote:

> This article is accompanied by nice pictures of Robert and Ross.
>
> Data Analysts Captivated by Power of R
>   http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/technology/business-computing/07program.html
>
> January 7, 2009
> Data Analysts Captivated by R’s Power
> By ASHLEE VANCE
>
> To some people R is just the 18th letter of the alphabet. To others, it’s the rating on racy movies, a measure of an attic’s insulation or what pirates in movies say.
>
> R is also the name of a popular programming language used by a growing number of data analysts inside corporations and academia. It is becoming their lingua franca partly because data mining has entered a golden age, whether being used to set ad prices, find new drugs more quickly or fine-tune financial models. Companies as diverse as Google, Pfizer, Merck, Bank of America, the InterContinental Hotels Group and Shell use it.
>
> But R has also quickly found a following because statisticians, engineers and scientists without computer programming skills find it easy to use.
>
> “R is really important to the point that it’s hard to overvalue it,” said Daryl Pregibon, a research scientist at Google, which uses the software widely. “It allows statisticians to do very intricate and complicated analyses without knowing the blood and guts of computing systems.”
>
> It is also free. R is an open-source program, and its popularity reflects a shift in the type of software used inside corporations. Open-source software is free for anyone to use and modify. I.B.M., Hewlett-Packard and Dell make billions of dollars a year selling servers that run the open-source Linux operating system, which competes with Windows from Microsoft. Most Web sites are displayed using an open-source application called Apache, and companies increasingly rely on the open-source MySQL database to store their critical information. Many people view the end results of all this technology via the Firefox Web browser, also open-source software.
>
> 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.
>
> Close to 1,600 different packages reside on just one of the many Web sites devoted to R, and the number of packages has grown exponentially. One package, called BiodiversityR, offers a graphical interface aimed at making calculations of environmental trends easier.
>
> Another package, called Emu, analyzes speech patterns, while GenABEL is used to study the human genome.
>
> The financial services community has demonstrated a particular affinity for R; dozens of packages exist for derivatives analysis alone.
>
> “The great beauty of R is that you can modify it to do all sorts of things,” said Hal Varian, chief economist at Google. “And you have a lot of prepackaged stuff that’s already available, so you’re standing on the shoulders of giants.”
>
> R first appeared in 1996, when the statistics professors Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman of the University of Auckland in New Zealand released the code as a free software package.
>
> According to them, the notion of devising something like R sprang up during a hallway conversation. They both wanted technology better suited for their statistics students, who needed to analyze data and produce graphical models of the information. Most comparable software had been designed by computer scientists and proved hard to use.
>
> Lacking deep computer science training, the professors considered their coding efforts more of an academic game than anything else. Nonetheless, starting in about 1991, they worked on R full time. “We were pretty much inseparable for five or six years,” Mr. Gentleman said. “One person would do the typing and one person would do the thinking.”
>
> Some statisticians who took an early look at the software considered it rough around the edges. But despite its shortcomings, R immediately gained a following with people who saw the possibilities in customizing the free software.
>
> John M. Chambers, a former Bell Labs researcher who is now a consulting professor of statistics at Stanford University, was an early champion. At Bell Labs, Mr. Chambers had helped develop S, another statistics software project, which was meant to give researchers of all stripes an accessible data analysis tool. It was, however, not an open-source project.
>
> The software failed to generate broad interest and ultimately the rights to S ended up in the hands of Tibco Software. Now R is surpassing what Mr. Chambers had imagined possible with S.
>
> “The diversity and excitement around what all of these people are doing is great,” Mr. Chambers said.
>
> While it is difficult to calculate exactly how many people use R, those most familiar with the software estimate that close to 250,000 people work with it regularly. The popularity of R at universities could threaten SAS Institute, the privately held business software company that specializes in data analysis software. SAS, with more than $2 billion in annual revenue, has been the preferred tool of scholars and corporate managers.
>
> “R has really become the second language for people coming out of grad school now, and there’s an amazing amount of code being written for it,” said Max Kuhn, associate director of nonclinical statistics at Pfizer. “You can look on the SAS message boards and see there is a proportional downturn in traffic.”
>
> SAS says it has noticed R’s rising popularity at universities, despite educational discounts on its own software, but it dismisses the technology as being of interest to a limited set of people working on very hard tasks.
>
> “I think it addresses a niche market for high-end data analysts that want free, readily available code," said Anne H. Milley, director of technology product marketing at SAS. She adds, “We have customers who build engines for aircraft. I am happy they are not using freeware when I get on a jet.”
>
> But while SAS plays down R’s corporate appeal, companies like Google and Pfizer say they use the software for just about anything they can. Google, for example, taps R for help understanding trends in ad pricing and for illuminating patterns in the search data it collects. Pfizer has created customized packages for R to let its scientists manipulate their own data during nonclinical drug studies rather than send the information off to a statistician.
>
> The co-creators of R express satisfaction that such companies profit from the fruits of their labor and that of hundreds of volunteers.
>
> Mr. Ihaka continues to teach statistics at the University of Auckland and wants to create more advanced software. Mr. Gentleman is applying R-based software, called Bioconductor, in work he is doing on computational biology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
>
> “R is a real demonstration of the power of collaboration, and I don’t think you could construct something like this any other way,” Mr. Ihaka said. “We could have chosen to be commercial, and we would have sold five copies of the software.”
>
> Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company


--
Frank E Harrell Jr   Professor and Chair           School of Medicine
                      Department of Biostatistics   Vanderbilt University

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Frank Harrell
Department of Biostatistics, Vanderbilt University
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Frank Harrell
In reply to this post by Bill Pikounis
Bill Pikounis wrote:

> Pardon my exuberance, but this is simply awesome. What a treat to find
> on the front web page of the NY Times this morning under Technology. I
> think the article is very well written by the author, and I think it
> captures top highlights of why the software and community are so
> special.
>
> Continued high gratitude to all of R-core and the R community for its
> unique accomplishments. Every bit of praise is well-earned and
> deserved.
>
> I have continuously claimed to colleagues (primarily pharma industry)
> for the past 8 years or so that R is the most exciting going on in the
> area of statistics.
>
> Thanks,
> Bill

Amen to that, and in addition, R is now the top tool for everyday
analysis, not just a research statistician's tool.

Frank

>
> ####################
>
> Bill Pikounis
> Statistician
>
>
>
> On Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 08:10, Zaslavsky, Alan M.
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> This article is accompanied by nice pictures of Robert and Ross.
>>
>> Data Analysts Captivated by Power of R
>>  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/technology/business-computing/07program.html
>>
>> January 7, 2009
>> Data Analysts Captivated by R's Power
>> By ASHLEE VANCE
>>
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>


--
Frank E Harrell Jr   Professor and Chair           School of Medicine
                      Department of Biostatistics   Vanderbilt University

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Frank Harrell
Department of Biostatistics, Vanderbilt University
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Simon Pickett-4
I would like to add that I would have spent many more years doing my PhD if
it wasnt for R! all data management, statistics and graphics were conducted
using it. This was the direction my university and many more research
institutes appear to be heading.

It probably doesnt get said enough and I am sure I speak for all young
researchers I am very much in debt for all the kind souls who have helped me
and other newbies on this forum over the years,

Thanks very much R team.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Frank E Harrell Jr" <[hidden email]>
To: "Bill Pikounis" <[hidden email]>
Cc: <[hidden email]>
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2009 2:25 PM
Subject: Re: [R] R in the NY Times


> Bill Pikounis wrote:
>> Pardon my exuberance, but this is simply awesome. What a treat to find
>> on the front web page of the NY Times this morning under Technology. I
>> think the article is very well written by the author, and I think it
>> captures top highlights of why the software and community are so
>> special.
>>
>> Continued high gratitude to all of R-core and the R community for its
>> unique accomplishments. Every bit of praise is well-earned and
>> deserved.
>>
>> I have continuously claimed to colleagues (primarily pharma industry)
>> for the past 8 years or so that R is the most exciting going on in the
>> area of statistics.
>>
>> Thanks,
>> Bill
>
> Amen to that, and in addition, R is now the top tool for everyday
> analysis, not just a research statistician's tool.
>
> Frank
>
>>
>> ####################
>>
>> Bill Pikounis
>> Statistician
>>
>>
>>
>> On Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 08:10, Zaslavsky, Alan M.
>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> This article is accompanied by nice pictures of Robert and Ross.
>>>
>>> Data Analysts Captivated by Power of R
>>>
>>> http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/technology/business-computing/07program.html
>>>
>>> January 7, 2009
>>> Data Analysts Captivated by R's Power
>>> By ASHLEE VANCE
>>>
>>
>> ______________________________________________
>> [hidden email] mailing list
>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
>> PLEASE do read the posting guide
>> http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
>> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>>
>
>
> --
> Frank E Harrell Jr   Professor and Chair           School of Medicine
>                      Department of Biostatistics   Vanderbilt University
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide
> http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Tony Breyal
In reply to this post by Alan Zaslavsky
Thank you for posting this, I found it a very enjoyable read!

I am curious, is there an archive of 'R in the Media' or 'R in the
Press' articles somewhere? It would be interesting to see how the
perception of R has changed/evolved over time relative to other
packages.

Cheers,
Tony Breyal


On 7 Jan, 13:10, "Zaslavsky, Alan M." <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> This article is accompanied by nice pictures of Robert and Ross.
>
> Data Analysts Captivated by Power of R
>  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/technology/business-computing/07pro...
>
> January 7, 2009
> Data Analysts Captivated by R’s Power
> By ASHLEE VANCE
>
> To some people R is just the 18th letter of the alphabet. To others, it’s the rating on racy movies, a measure of an attic’s insulation or what pirates in movies say.
>
> R is also the name of a popular programming language used by a growing number of data analysts inside corporations and academia. It is becoming their lingua franca partly because data mining has entered a golden age, whether being used to set ad prices, find new drugs more quickly or fine-tune financial models. Companies as diverse as Google, Pfizer, Merck, Bank of America, the InterContinental Hotels Group and Shell use it.
>
> But R has also quickly found a following because statisticians, engineers and scientists without computer programming skills find it easy to use.
>
> “R is really important to the point that it’s hard to overvalue it,” said Daryl Pregibon, a research scientist at Google, which uses the software widely. “It allows statisticians to do very intricate and complicated analyses without knowing the blood and guts of computing systems.”
>
> It is also free. R is an open-source program, and its popularity reflects a shift in the type of software used inside corporations. Open-source software is free for anyone to use and modify. I.B.M., Hewlett-Packard and Dell make billions of dollars a year selling servers that run the open-source Linux operating system, which competes with Windows from Microsoft. Most Web sites are displayed using an open-source application called Apache, and companies increasingly rely on the open-source MySQL database to store their critical information. Many people view the end results of all this technology via the Firefox Web browser, also open-source software.
>
> 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.
>
> Close to 1,600 different packages reside on just one of the many Web sites devoted to R, and the number of packages has grown exponentially. One package, called BiodiversityR, offers a graphical interface aimed at making calculations of environmental trends easier.
>
> Another package, called Emu, analyzes speech patterns, while GenABEL is used to study the human genome.
>
> The financial services community has demonstrated a particular affinity for R; dozens of packages exist for derivatives analysis alone.
>
> “The great beauty of R is that you can modify it to do all sorts of things,” said Hal Varian, chief economist at Google. “And you have a lot of prepackaged stuff that’s already available, so you’re standing on the shoulders of giants.”
>
> R first appeared in 1996, when the statistics professors Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman of the University of Auckland in New Zealand released the code as a free software package.
>
> According to them, the notion of devising something like R sprang up during a hallway conversation. They both wanted technology better suited for their statistics students, who needed to analyze data and produce graphical models of the information. Most comparable software had been designed by computer scientists and proved hard to use.
>
> Lacking deep computer science training, the professors considered their coding efforts more of an academic game than anything else. Nonetheless, starting in about 1991, they worked on R full time. “We were pretty much inseparable for five or six years,” Mr. Gentleman said. “One person would do the typing and one person would do the thinking.”
>
> Some statisticians who took an early look at the software considered it rough around the edges. But despite its shortcomings, R immediately gained a following with people who saw the possibilities in customizing the free software.
>
> John M. Chambers, a former Bell Labs researcher who is now a consulting professor of statistics at Stanford University, was an early champion. At Bell Labs, Mr. Chambers had helped develop S, another statistics software project, which was meant to give researchers of all stripes an accessible data analysis tool. It was, however, not an open-source project.
>
> The software failed to generate broad interest and ultimately the rights to S ended up in the hands of Tibco Software. Now R is surpassing what Mr. Chambers had imagined possible with S.
>
> “The diversity and excitement around what all of these people are doing is great,” Mr. Chambers said.
>
> While it is difficult to calculate exactly how many people use R, those most familiar with the software estimate that close to 250,000 people work with it regularly. The popularity of R at universities could threaten SAS Institute, the privately held business software company that specializes in data analysis software. SAS, with more than $2 billion in annual revenue, has been the preferred tool of scholars and corporate managers.
>
> “R has really become the second language for people coming out of grad school now, and there’s an amazing amount of code being written for it,” said Max Kuhn, associate director of nonclinical statistics at Pfizer. “You can look on the SAS message boards and see there is a proportional downturn in traffic.”
>
> SAS says it has noticed R’s rising popularity at universities, despite educational discounts on its own software, but it dismisses the technology as being of interest to a limited set of people working on very hard tasks.
>
> “I think it addresses a niche market for high-end data analysts that want free, readily available code," said Anne H. Milley, director of technology product marketing at SAS. She adds, “We have customers who build engines for aircraft. I am happy they are not using freeware when I get on a jet.”
>
> But while SAS plays down R’s corporate appeal, companies like Google and Pfizer say they use the software for just about anything they can. Google, for example, taps R for help understanding trends in ad pricing and for illuminating patterns in the search data it collects. Pfizer has created customized packages for R to let its scientists manipulate their own data during nonclinical drug studies rather than send the information off to a statistician.
>
> The co-creators of R express satisfaction that such companies profit from the fruits of their labor and that of hundreds of volunteers.
>
> Mr. Ihaka continues to teach statistics at the University of Auckland and wants to create more advanced software. Mr. Gentleman is applying R-based software, called Bioconductor, in work he is doing on computational biology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
>
> “R is a real demonstration of the power of collaboration, and I don’t think you could construct something like this any other way,” Mr. Ihaka said. “We could have chosen to be commercial, and we would have sold five copies of the software.”
>
> Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing listhttps://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guidehttp://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Kevin E. Thorpe
In reply to this post by Alan Zaslavsky
Zaslavsky, Alan M. wrote:

> This article is accompanied by nice pictures of Robert and Ross.
>
> Data Analysts Captivated by Power of R
> http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/technology/business-computing/07program.html
>
>
> January 7, 2009 Data Analysts Captivated by R’s Power By ASHLEE VANCE
>
>
> SAS says it has noticed R’s rising popularity at universities,
> despite educational discounts on its own software, but it dismisses
> the technology as being of interest to a limited set of people
> working on very hard tasks.
>
> “I think it addresses a niche market for high-end data analysts that
> want free, readily available code," said Anne H. Milley, director of
> technology product marketing at SAS. She adds, “We have customers who
> build engines for aircraft. I am happy they are not using freeware
> when I get on a jet.”
>

Thanks for posting.  Does anyone else find the statement by SAS to be
humourous yet arrogant and short-sighted?

Kevin

--
Kevin E. Thorpe
Biostatistician/Trialist, Knowledge Translation Program
Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
University of Toronto
email: [hidden email]  Tel: 416.864.5776  Fax: 416.864.6057

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Marc Schwartz
on 01/07/2009 08:44 AM Kevin E. Thorpe wrote:

> Zaslavsky, Alan M. wrote:
>> This article is accompanied by nice pictures of Robert and Ross.
>>
>> Data Analysts Captivated by Power of R
>> http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/technology/business-computing/07program.html
>>
>>
>>
>> January 7, 2009 Data Analysts Captivated by R’s Power By ASHLEE VANCE
>>
>>
>> SAS says it has noticed R’s rising popularity at universities,
>> despite educational discounts on its own software, but it dismisses
>> the technology as being of interest to a limited set of people
>> working on very hard tasks.
>>
>> “I think it addresses a niche market for high-end data analysts that
>> want free, readily available code," said Anne H. Milley, director of
>> technology product marketing at SAS. She adds, “We have customers who
>> build engines for aircraft. I am happy they are not using freeware
>> when I get on a jet.”
>>
>
> Thanks for posting.  Does anyone else find the statement by SAS to be
> humourous yet arrogant and short-sighted?
>
> Kevin

It is an ignorant comment by a marketing person who has been spoon fed
her lines...it is also a comment being made from a very defensive and
insecure posture.

Congrats to R Core and the R Community. This is yet another sign of R's
growth and maturity.

Regards,

Marc Schwartz

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Rubén Roa-Ureta
In reply to this post by Alan Zaslavsky
Zaslavsky, Alan M. wrote:
> This article is accompanied by nice pictures of Robert and Ross.
>
> Data Analysts Captivated by Power of R
>   http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/technology/business-computing/07program.html
>  
Thanks for the heads up. The R morale is going through the roof!
I've given three courses on R since the second half of 2007 here in
Chile (geostatistics, Fisheries Libraries for R, and generalized linear
models) and all my three audiences (professionals working in academia,
government, and private research institutions) were very much impressed
by the power of R. I spent as much time on R itself as on the
statistical topics, since students wanted to learn data management and
graphics once they started to grasp the basic elements.
R creators, Core Team, package creators and maintainers, and experts on
the list, thanks so much for such a great work and such an open
attitude. You lead by example.
Rubén

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Duncan Murdoch
In reply to this post by Kevin E. Thorpe
On 1/7/2009 9:44 AM, Kevin E. Thorpe wrote:

> Zaslavsky, Alan M. wrote:
>> This article is accompanied by nice pictures of Robert and Ross.
>>
>> Data Analysts Captivated by Power of R
>> http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/07/technology/business-computing/07program.html
>>
>>
>> January 7, 2009 Data Analysts Captivated by R’s Power By ASHLEE VANCE
>>
>>
>> SAS says it has noticed R’s rising popularity at universities,
>> despite educational discounts on its own software, but it dismisses
>> the technology as being of interest to a limited set of people
>> working on very hard tasks.
>>
>> “I think it addresses a niche market for high-end data analysts that
>> want free, readily available code," said Anne H. Milley, director of
>> technology product marketing at SAS. She adds, “We have customers who
>> build engines for aircraft. I am happy they are not using freeware
>> when I get on a jet.”
>>
>
> Thanks for posting.  Does anyone else find the statement by SAS to be
> humourous yet arrogant and short-sighted?

To me it just seemed like a "blast from the past".

Duncan Murdoch

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Mxkuhn
In reply to this post by Marc Schwartz
> "You can look on the SAS message boards and see there is a proportional downturn in traffic."

I think that I actually made this statement about both the SAS and
Splus traffic...

I wasn't really trying to be critical of SAS. I was trying to get
across that SAS focused their resources on features that had nothing
to do with *statistical analysis* (e.g. data warehousing etc.)

--

Max

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Jeffrey J. Hallman-2
In reply to this post by Alan Zaslavsky
The article quotes John Chambers, but it doesn't mention that R started out as
an implementation of the S language.  I don't suppose Insightful is too happy
about that.

The SAS spokesman quoted in the article is clearly whistling past the graveyard.
--
Jeff

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Darin A. England
In reply to this post by Frank Harrell
On Wed, Jan 07, 2009 at 08:00:28AM -0600, Frank E Harrell Jr wrote:
> This is great to see.  It's interesting that SAS Institute feels that
> non-peer-reviewed software with hidden implementations of analytic
> methods that cannot be reproduced by others should be trusted when
> building aircraft engines.
>
> Frank

Unfortunately, that type of FUD issued by the SAS marketing person still
works. I see it at my employer (a large healthcare company.) It's a
battle to change a culture, but ironically the recession helps.
People are now taking notice of the obscene licensing fees for SAS.

Darin

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Peter Dalgaard
In reply to this post by Jeffrey J. Hallman-2
Jeffrey J. Hallman wrote:
> The article quotes John Chambers, but it doesn't mention that R started out as
> an implementation of the S language.  I don't suppose Insightful is too happy
> about that.

You mean Tibco...

The statement that S "failed to generate broad interest" is also a bit
misleading. I believe S-PLUS had more than 100000 users in its day,
although it may be true that its success was mainly in the academic
world. Obviously the pool of people who knew S from the preceding decade
was very important for the early development of R.

--
   O__  ---- Peter Dalgaard             Øster Farimagsgade 5, Entr.B
  c/ /'_ --- Dept. of Biostatistics     PO Box 2099, 1014 Cph. K
 (*) \(*) -- University of Copenhagen   Denmark      Ph:  (+45) 35327918
~~~~~~~~~~ - ([hidden email])              FAX: (+45) 35327907

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

David M Smith
In reply to this post by Tony Breyal
On Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 6:39 AM, Tony Breyal <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Thank you for posting this, I found it a very enjoyable read!
>
> I am curious, is there an archive of 'R in the Media' or 'R in the
> Press' articles somewhere? It would be interesting to see how the
> perception of R has changed/evolved over time relative to other
> packages.

That's a great idea, and I just created an "Rmedia" category on the
REvolutions R blog to track exactly such articles.  You can find it
here:

http://blog.revolution-computing.com/rmedia/

If anyone knows of any other mainstream articles about R available
online please let me know, and I'll do a round-up post in that section
to make sure they're captured.

By the way, we're writing about R and issues related to R daily at:

http://blog.revolution-computing.com

# David Smith

--
David M Smith <[hidden email]>
Director of Community, REvolution Computing www.revolution-computing.com
Tel: +1 (206) 577-4778 x3203 (Seattle, USA)

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Bryan Hanson
In reply to this post by Kevin E. Thorpe
I believe the SAS person shot themselves in the foot more in more ways than
one.  In my mind, the reason you would pay, as Frank said, for
 
> non-peer-reviewed software with hidden implementations of analytic
> methods that cannot be reproduced by others

Would be so that you can sue them later when a software problem in the
designing of the engine makes your plane fall out of the sky!

Bryan
*************
Bryan Hanson
Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry
DePauw University, Greencastle IN USA


>> ³I think it addresses a niche market for high-end data analysts that
>> want free, readily available code," said Anne H. Milley, director of
>> technology product marketing at SAS. She adds, ³We have customers who
>> build engines for aircraft. I am happy they are not using freeware
>> when I get on a jet.²
>>
>
> Thanks for posting.  Does anyone else find the statement by SAS to be
> humourous yet arrogant and short-sighted?
>
> Kevin

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Marc Schwartz
I would also point out that the use of the term "freeware" as opposed to
"FOSS" by the SAS rep, comes off as being unprofessional and
deliberately condescending...

The author of the article, to his credit, was pretty consistent in using
open source terminology.

Regards,

Marc

on 01/07/2009 10:26 AM Bryan Hanson wrote:
> I believe the SAS person shot themselves in the foot more in more ways than
> one.  In my mind, the reason you would pay, as Frank said, for
>  
>> non-peer-reviewed software with hidden implementations of analytic
>> methods that cannot be reproduced by others
>
> Would be so that you can sue them later when a software problem in the
> designing of the engine makes your plane fall out of the sky!

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

gunksta
In reply to this post by Darin A. England

> Unfortunately, that type of FUD issued by the SAS marketing person still
> works. I see it at my employer (a large healthcare company.) It's a
> battle to change a culture, but ironically the recession helps.
> People are now taking notice of the obscene licensing fees for SAS.
>
> Darin

I agree. I work for a consulting firm (human services) and my boss
prefers us to use SPSS, rather than R. It's painful. I have version 11
installed on my Windows laptop. Next year, the license expires!

For someone coming from a SPSS background, R is a little mind-blowing,
simply because it is so much more powerful. But, perseverance pays off.
Once I master Sweave and such, I'll be able to churn out reports much
more quickly than I ever could with SPSS.

I do wish the author of the article had included comments from SPSS, in
addition to the humorous FUD from the SAS spokesperson. Newer versions
of SPSS actually have the option of using R for data analysis, in
addition to the SPSS engine. It would have been interesting to compare
the corporate responses of the two companies.

--
Insert something humorous here.  :-)

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

Erik Iverson
In reply to this post by Marc Schwartz
I pointed a friend of mine toward the article, to which he replied:

"I hope that they run SAS on Solaris too, god only knows how tainted the
syscalls are in that linux freeware."

Of course, now Solaris is 'freeware', too, so I suppose that according to
SAS, running SAS on Windows is the best way to be sure you're getting the
right answers.

On Wed, 07 Jan 2009 10:56:53 -0600, Marc Schwartz
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> I would also point out that the use of the term "freeware" as opposed to
> "FOSS" by the SAS rep, comes off as being unprofessional and
> deliberately condescending...
>
> The author of the article, to his credit, was pretty consistent in using
> open source terminology.
>
> Regards,
>
> Marc
>
> on 01/07/2009 10:26 AM Bryan Hanson wrote:
>> I believe the SAS person shot themselves in the foot more in more ways
> than
>> one.  In my mind, the reason you would pay, as Frank said, for
>>
>>> non-peer-reviewed software with hidden implementations of analytic
>>> methods that cannot be reproduced by others
>>
>> Would be so that you can sue them later when a software problem in the
>> designing of the engine makes your plane fall out of the sky!
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide
> http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: R in the NY Times

ajayohri
In reply to this post by David M Smith
you can use google alerts to track media coverage of R using some keywords

regards,

ajay



On Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 9:52 PM, David M Smith <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 6:39 AM, Tony Breyal <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> > Thank you for posting this, I found it a very enjoyable read!
> >
> > I am curious, is there an archive of 'R in the Media' or 'R in the
> > Press' articles somewhere? It would be interesting to see how the
> > perception of R has changed/evolved over time relative to other
> > packages.
>
> That's a great idea, and I just created an "Rmedia" category on the
> REvolutions R blog to track exactly such articles.  You can find it
> here:
>
> http://blog.revolution-computing.com/rmedia/
>
> If anyone knows of any other mainstream articles about R available
> online please let me know, and I'll do a round-up post in that section
> to make sure they're captured.
>
> By the way, we're writing about R and issues related to R daily at:
>
> http://blog.revolution-computing.com
>
> # David Smith
>
> --
> David M Smith <[hidden email]>
> Director of Community, REvolution Computing www.revolution-computing.com
> Tel: +1 (206) 577-4778 x3203 (Seattle, USA)
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> PLEASE do read the posting guide
> http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
>

        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
123