Re: [R] Suitability of R for Algorithm simulations

From: François Pinard <pinard_at_iro.umontreal.ca>
Date: Sun 22 Oct 2006 - 15:43:05 GMT


Hi, people.

A correspondent puts me in front of a reply I sent to r-help, a few weeks ago, and quoted below. I should have been tired when I sent it. Please replace "Eiffel" by "Erlang" all over. Sorry for this error.

  Date: 2006-10-05 00:43:36
  Message-ID: 20061005004336.GA24159@alcyon.progiciels-bpi.ca

  [Ethan B. Fini]

> I would like to be able to instantiate an object for each node in my
> simulated (stand alone, one computer) "distributed" environment and
> then proceed by (a) adding message exchange functionality and (b)
> algorithm behavior to each node.

  Not so long ago, I quickly glanced at Eiffel after an enthusiastic   friend told me about it, and while I do not think I will soon use it for   myself, Eiffel might be the right choice for you, being strong on   light-weight processes and message passing, from what I've read...

  If I had a simulation problem to tackle nowadays, I'd likely consider   Python supplemented with greelets from the pylib library, mainly because   I'm fond on Python legibility, and have a reasonably good confidence in   people having implemented greenlets.

> The simulation results are represented on a GUI [...]

  The GUI aspects of Eiffel are unknown to me, I did not dive deep enough   to touch them. For Python, I'd use pygtk, but there are many toolkits   to choose from.

> Is R suitable for what I am trying to do? I looked around but have not
> been able to determine if R is the appropriate platform.

  R libraries are especially good at statistics and graphics. The   language in itself is much oriented towards vectorisation, among other   things, and this might be convenient for a speedy implementation of some   simulation problems. If vectorisation could not be turned into an   advantage for you with R, it is likely that R might be slow for such   problems, and also not so well adapted to quasi-parallelism between   interacting processes having each their own behaviour.

  Of course, seasoned R users might have much more sound opinions than   mine on this topic! :-)

--
François Pinard   http://pinard.progiciels-bpi.ca

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