Re: [R] The old question: R vs MATLAB vs Mathematica vs ...

From: Ben Bolker <>
Date: Mon 16 Oct 2006 - 14:17:37 GMT

Ali - <saveez <at>> writes:

> R introduces itself as a 'statistical' language and environment. There are
> many discussions about comparing R to MATLAB or mathematica (or other
> similar software). It seems to me that these other software have a broader
> range of applications. For example, in Mathematica one can solve a partial
> differential equation numberically or do image processing, or, one can
> connect a data acquisition card to MATLAB to acquire data from a measurement
> and analyse the results.
> - Does R already provide such facilities?

some ...

RSiteSearch("image analysis")   

RSiteSearch("PDE") -- suggests not much in the way of numeric PDE solutions

RSiteSearch("data acquisition") -- suggests not much (but see )

> - Was R design to be merely a statistical tool or was it designed with an
> idea of a general mathematical tool in mind?

  It was designed as a "language and environment for statistical computing and graphics". However, since it provides interfaces to routines written in other languages (Tcl/Tk, C, Fortran, ...) and other programs (databases, GIS, etc.), it can do lots of other things.

> - If the answer to the above is no, can R already be extended to include the
> missing features simply by extra packages


or does it need some rational
> changes to support these features?


   You should think about why you want to extend R in these ways. If you already have access to Mathematica/MATLAB and are happy with their capabilities, you should just use them. Perhaps you can't afford them; are there other free/open tools that do what you want? If so, you should think about using them, or perhaps writing interfaces between them and R.

    Ben Bolker mailing list PLEASE do read the posting guide and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code. Received on Tue Oct 17 14:42:15 2006

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