Re: [R] Comparison between R and MATLAB

From: Earl F. Glynn <efg_at_stowers-institute.org>
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2008 13:05:27 -0500

"Shubha Vishwanath Karanth" <shubhak_at_ambaresearch.com> wrote in message news:7D44476A5833D340A0A85099D5EAD8B2832C_at_BAN-MAILSRV02.Amba.com... Can I get a comparison between R and MATLAB? How is R efficient than MATLAB? Or what are the weaknesses of R compared to MATLAB?

Don't forget to compare licenses and cost. Matlab's rigid and unreasonable license is the main reason I use R now.

Several years ago the Mathworks refused to let a post doc and me share a MatLab license -- they wanted all single-user licenses to be named users even if each of us only needed MatLab a few hours a month. I asked if they had a "math model" for what we got for a license, but they didn't care that there was a huge disconnect between what they wanted to sell and our usage needs. I quit using MatLab, converted my project from MatLab to R, and now steer as many people to R as possible.

The Mathworks refuses to acknowledge that life-science users of math tools are not like physical science users. Biologists can spend weeks or months on experiments and then occasionally need high-end math tools for analysis.

A single shared network MatLab license outside of academia is outrageously expensive. A single network concurrent license for Matlab and the Image processing, Signal Processing and PDE toolboxes costs $18,800 -- I received that quote just yesterday since we still have a few people that use existing MatLab code.

MatLab may be a good product, but the Mathworks is unreasonable in how they license it. We are a non-profit, basic life scientific research institute and the Mathworks sells us the same license as for-profit businesses. Only degree-granting universities are eligible for academic pricing apparently.

efg
Earl F Glynn
Bioinformatics
Stowers Institute for Medical Research



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