**From:** Daniel Bebber (*danbebber@forestecology.co.uk*)

**Date:** Mon 26 Apr 2004 - 01:29:35 EST

**Next message:**Alain Yamakana: "[R] Bug?"**Previous message:**kjetil@acelerate.com: "[R] ts's in lm()"**Maybe in reply to:**Tamas Papp: "[R] R vs Matlab: which is more "programmer friendly"?"**Next in thread:**Bill Vinyard: "RE: [R] R vs Matlab: which is more "programmer friendly"?"

Message-id: <000e01c42ada$1d6657a0$da41fea9@dops7026>

I have been using R for about 2 years and recently took a 6 week

introductory course to Matlab.

I can give entirely personal answers to your questions.

1. 'How smart?'. Don't know exactly what you mean, but both languages are

extremely functional. Both emphasize writing of functions to call rather

than repeatedly typing in the same code, so they encourage good programming

practice. I started with R, so prefer its syntax.

2. 'Learning curve'. Similar. R has a simpler interface. Matlab has various

enhancements that may help in the learning process, for example the path

browser and workspace browser in which you can interactively keep track of

all the objects in the workspace. Both have comprehensive help packages.

3. 'Further development'. Has to be R- its FREE! I don't know many students

who would fork out the money for a Matlab license.

4. 'Flexibility'. Both are perhaps infinitely flexible. You can write any

code you like, to do any statistical or mathematical processing. I would say

R is better for statistical analysis (though Matlab has a stats package you

can purchase), while Matlab is designed for mathematics. With Matlab you can

compile GUIs to run analyses, which are probably useful for sharing with

people who can't program.

Some other points.

1. I have heard that Matlab is faster than S-PLUS (and hence R?) at

performing calculations.

2. I found Matlab to be quite frustrating in its handling of data- for

example it is extremely difficult to save a data frame in which variables

are labelled with there names.

Hope this helps.

Dan Bebber

Department of Plant Sciences

University of Oxford

South Parks Road

Oxford OX1 3RB

UK

------------------------------

Message: 24

Date: Sun, 25 Apr 2004 11:08:09 +0200

From: Tamas Papp <tpapp@axelero.hu>

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

To: R-help mailing list <r-help@stat.math.ethz.ch>

Message-ID: <20040425090809.GA704@localhost>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1

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

-- Tamás K. Papp E-mail: tpapp@axelero.hu Please try to send only (latin-2) plain text, not HTML or other garbage.------------------------------

_______________________________________________ R-help@stat.math.ethz.ch mailing list https://www.stat.math.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help PLEASE read the posting guide! http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html

End of R-help Digest, Vol 14, Issue 25

______________________________________________ R-help@stat.math.ethz.ch mailing list https://www.stat.math.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help PLEASE do read the posting guide! http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html

**Next message:**Alain Yamakana: "[R] Bug?"**Previous message:**kjetil@acelerate.com: "[R] ts's in lm()"**Maybe in reply to:**Tamas Papp: "[R] R vs Matlab: which is more "programmer friendly"?"**Next in thread:**Bill Vinyard: "RE: [R] R vs Matlab: which is more "programmer friendly"?"

*
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.3
: Mon 03 May 2004 - 18:41:23 EST
*