RE: [R] R annoyances

From: Vadim Ogranovich <vograno_at_evafunds.com>
Date: Fri 20 May 2005 - 05:10:21 EST


I guess it depends on what kind of data analysis one does. R is designed and best suited for the analysis that starts with a data frame which fits in 1/10th of your computer RAM. R programming is then mostly limited to writing small convenience functions for better presentation, visualization, etc. Or alternatively one implements a new fitting procedure/algorithm and applies it to the data.

Now things begin to look harder when you have 200G of data and 8G of RAM and still need to find "structure" in the data. You need to pre-process the data, recover from *unexpected* failures, store and retrieve intermediate data sets, etc. This requires qualities of a good general-purpose programming language. Note, we do not use R to program a system, we do data analysis so we should be considered R *users*. In my view, and the experience of the colleague of my confirms it, R has a long way to go to become a wrinkle-free general purpose language.

To your specific question, why good (C++) programmers should not struggle with R? Because they have the skills to plan sizeable programs in any wrinkle-free language.

Hope this makes my earier comments more clear, Vadim

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Berton Gunter [mailto:gunter.berton@gene.com]
> Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2005 10:55 AM
> To: Vadim Ogranovich; 'Thomas Lumley'; 'Rod Montgomery'
> Cc: r-help@stat.math.ethz.ch
> Subject: RE: [R] R annoyances
>
> Vadim et.al:
>
> I do not care to comment one way or the other about R's
> "irregularities.'
> But I am puzzled by your statement that a "good C++
> programmer is struggling with R." Why should they not
> struggle?! R is primarily a language for data analysis,
> statistics, and graphics. I do not understand why someone who is a
> C++ programmer would be expected to have the knowledge and
> experience to
> C++ be
> a "data miner" and would not therefore struggle to deal with
> the statistical and data analysis issues that are
> deliberately at the heart of many of R's programming conventions.
>
> Is there something here that I am missing, or is this yet
> another example of Frank Harrell's "instant brain surgeon" commentary?
>
> -- Bert Gunter
> Genentech Non-Clinical Statistics
> South San Francisco, CA
>
> "The business of the statistician is to catalyze the
> scientific learning process." - George E. P. Box
>
>
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: r-help-bounces@stat.math.ethz.ch
> > [mailto:r-help-bounces@stat.math.ethz.ch] On Behalf Of Vadim
> > Ogranovich
> > Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2005 10:40 AM
> > To: Thomas Lumley; Rod Montgomery
> > Cc: r-help@stat.math.ethz.ch
> > Subject: RE: [R] R annoyances
> >
> > I think the flaw in this reasoning is that programmers are not
> > considered users. IMO, making a better language is beneficial for
> > users.
> >
> > I am now watching how a new colleague of mine, a very good C++
> > programmer turning into a data miner, is struggling w/ many
> > "irregularities" of R.
> >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: r-help-bounces@stat.math.ethz.ch
> > > [mailto:r-help-bounces@stat.math.ethz.ch] On Behalf Of
> Thomas Lumley
> > > Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2005 9:39 AM
> > > To: Rod Montgomery
> > > Cc: r-help@stat.math.ethz.ch
> > > Subject: Re: [R] R annoyances
> > >
> > > On Thu, 19 May 2005, Rod Montgomery wrote:
> > > > Thomas Lumley wrote:
> > > >> This one is actually a FAQ,
> > > >> mtx[,1,drop=FALSE]
> > > >>
> > > >> -thomas
> > > >>
> > > > I wonder whether there is, or should be, a way to set FALSE
> > > as the default?
> > > >
> > >
> > > There shouldn't be (apart from editing the code), because
> you really
> > > don't want something this basic to be unpredictable.
> > >
> > > There have been discussions at several times about whether
> > > drop=FALSE or drop=TRUE should be the default. The decision has
> > > always been that programmers can cope either way, but that users
> > > probably don't expect mtx[,1] to be a vector, and that they
> > > definitely don't expect mtx[1,1] to be a matrix.
> > >
> > > -thomas
> > >
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>
>
>



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https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help PLEASE do read the posting guide! http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html Received on Fri May 20 05:16:13 2005

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