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Date:         Wed, 27 Aug 2003 14:27:30 -0700
Reply-To:     cassell.david@EPAMAIL.EPA.GOV
Sender:       "SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:         "David L. Cassell" <cassell.david@EPAMAIL.EPA.GOV>
Subject:      Re: Splus/R: Complementing and Extending Statistical Computingfor
              SAS Users
Content-type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII

Dianne Rhodes <RHODESD1@WESTAT.COM> replied [in part]: > Spying my SUGI bag, he asked what I might know about packages other than SAS > for doing statistics, and specifically graphics. He asked about MAPLE > (maybe he meant SYRUP) and some other packages I hadn't heard of, > Statistica. I suggested that S-Plus was supposed to be good for graphics, > and he could look into R because it was free.

MAPLE (now at version 9) is a great math package, and can bootstrap your language abilities if you speak Java, Fortran, MATLAB, VB, ... But it's aimed at high-end math instead of high-end stats.

Statistica is a good stats package.

S-Plus and R are both based on the S language, but differ in a few small ways. If you write your own functions, you will find out that one treats everything as a global variable (think global macro variables here) and the other treats everything as a local variable (think local macro variables here). So, as you know, going from global to local variables (or the other direction) can seriously muck up your code. If you are just using the available functions and not writing your own procedures, this is really not an issue.

> I asked what was he using now, and his reply "Excel." > > Geez.

My sentiments exactly.

> So, how does one learn S-Plus or R?

R comes with plenty of documentation, and tutorial materials. Peter's message has a number of R (and S and S-Plus) references too. My personal recommendation is to go to

and look in the left-hand column for the "Manuals" link. Click on that, and you'll get a list of R manuals. The very first one is entitled "An Introduction to R". Grab that. It's a readable intro that will get you started and working in R.

HTH, David -- David Cassell, CSC Senior computing specialist mathematical statistician

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