RE: [R] R as programming language: references?

From: Huntsinger, Reid <>
Date: Wed 13 Apr 2005 - 02:44:28 EST

As far as predicting the number of copies which R will create during the execution of some code, that's almost completely implementation dependent; no language specification (syntax or semantics) would help. You can investigate this empirically (try several approaches and look at memory usage) and/or look at the relevant source (packages, the interface code for .C/.Call/.Fortran etc, the array manipulation routines,...). I should add that this code is surprisingly clear and modular, so it's much easier to read than you might think.

Reid Huntsinger

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Jan T. Kim Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2005 12:54 PM
Subject: Re: [R] R as programming language: references?

On Tue, Apr 12, 2005 at 02:01:04PM +0200, A.J. Rossini wrote:
> On Apr 12, 2005 11:54 AM, Duncan Murdoch <> wrote:
> > > ----- Original Message ----- From: "Federico Calboli"
> > > <>
> > > To: "r-help" <>
> > > Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2005 5:14 PM
> > > Subject: [R] R as programming language: references?
> > >
> > >
> > >> Hi All,
> > >>
> > >> I am looking for references on R as a programming language (apart
> > >> the standard R-lang.pdf and the other manuals), reference that would
> > >> cover _in_depth_ things like loops, code optimisation, debugging
> > >> etc... and is as up-to-date as possible.
> > >>
> > >> Can anyone suggest any book or other reference apart from the "green
> > >> book" and the V&R "S-programming"?
> >
> > I think you've already got the best references.
> There is always the source. In a sense, it IS the most in-depth and
> up-to-date description of the intricacies of using the language,
> though it isn't as easy to read as V&R's S Programming.
> In-depth and up-to-date are tradeoffs rather than being complementary.

I don't know what Federico Calboli has in mind, but as for myself, upon starting with R, I've been looking for an R language reference in the style of the Python reference ( The specification of the grammar and the associated semantics of a language gives me the kind of in-depth conceptual understanding that I like to have, and I find this more difficult to accrue for R than for other languages. For example, I'm still not certain whether I'm able to correctly predict how many copies of an object are created during the execution of some code, and consequently, I'm not really confident that my code is reasonably optimal.

I'd appreciate pointers to any (more or less hidden) gems I may have overlooked, of course.

Best regards, Jan

 +- Jan T. Kim -------------------------------------------------------+
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Received on Wed Apr 13 02:52:36 2005

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