Re: [R] R vs Matlab: which is more "programmer friendly"?

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From: Fan (xiao.gang.fan1@libertysurf.fr)
Date: Tue 27 Apr 2004 - 05:10:26 EST


Message-id: <408D5EA2.9040907@libertysurf.fr>

To get more opinions, you might be also interested to take a
look at MATLAB newsgroup, there were some interesting threads
on the topic, for example:

http://newsreader.mathworks.com/WebX?50@88.3Z0AaB5okKu.1@.eec5e6d

--
Fan

Tamas Papp wrote: > Hi, > > The department of economics at our university (Budapest) is planning a > course on numerical methods in economics. They are trying to decide > which software to use for that, and I would like to advocate R. The > other alternative is Matlab. > > I have found comparisons in terms of computational time for matrix > algebra, but I don't think that is relevant: the bottleneck for > economists is usually the programmer's time: if it takes a couple of > hours to write something that is run only a few times, one should not > care whether it runs in 2 or 2.1 minutes... > > I am an economist, and I have used Octave, but only until I found R. > So I am not in a position to evaluate Matlab vs R. I would be > grateful if somebody could compare R to Matlab, especially regarding > the following: > > 1. How "smart" the language is. R appears to be a nice functional > programming language, is Matlab comparable? Last time I used Octave, > it seemed to be little more than syntactic sugar on some C/Fortran > libraries. It appears to me that using R gradually pushes people > towards better programming habits, but I may be biased (I am a Scheme > lover). > > 2. Learning curve. If somebody could share his/her experience on > using R or Matlab or both in the classrom, how students take to it. > > 3. Which language do you think is better for students' further > development? We would like to equip them with something they can use > later on in their career even if they don't become theoretical > economists (very few undergraduate students do that). > > 4. How flexible are these languages when developing new > applications/functions? Very few of the problems I encounter have a > ready-made solution in a toolbox/library. > > Thanks, > > Tamas >

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