Default to R

8/09/2009

Last Marchยง I posted an explanation of the issues behind getting R accepted in our School for teaching statistics.

At School level, weight loss I needed to spend substantial time compiling information to prove that R could satisfy my colleagues’ statistical needs. Good selling points were lme4, information pills lattice/ggplot and pointing my most statistically inclined colleagues to CRAN. Another important issue was the ability to have a GUI (Rcmdr) that could be adapted to our specific needs. We will develop an extra menu item to fit non-linear models for growth models used in forestry. Our School has now adopted R as the default software for teaching any statistical content during the four years of the curriculum.

At the university level, my questions to the department of Mathematics and Statistics sparkled a lot of internal discussion, which resulted in R being adopted as the standard software for some of the second year courses (it was already the standard for most courses in 3rd and 4th year). The decision was not unanimous, particularly because for statisticians knowing SAS is one of those ‘must be in the CV’ skills, but they went for change. The second year courses are offered across colleges, which makes the change very far reaching. These changes will also imply that in the near future many computers in the university will come with R preinstalled.

It is nice to see interesting changes once in a while.

Filed in software, statistics

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