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Alamo City R Users Group Message Board › R - What can we do to help get the word out?

R - What can we do to help get the word out?

A former member
Post #: 1
First of all, this is the first time I will be able to get something I always have wanted to say, now that I am in an R Group I will not miss the opportunity!

Through the three years that I have been using R, mostly in Puerto Rico, some persons that find out I know how to use R have two reactions: 1) What is R? and 2) That's too difficult!. Both of them are indicators that there is a lot to do for the sake and development of R. This anecdotes should allow us to reflect on some important issues ... Is R used by Professionals? What should we do to give R to the most people possible?.

The first question posses an interesting issue, R is mainly used on the academia by Professors and by some Professionals who have seen the "light" and avoid to use Excel and to some degree some have also eliminated SPSS as their statistics applications.

However, what can we do as a group to "preach to the non converted"? I think R has the capability of becoming, like it is happening, one of the most used applications in Statistics. Groups have made a clear statement on their hope for R as they are developing more and more libraries and books that incorporate R as a working tool. In the case of the libraries I found it amazing that a group of persons take the time to develop databases such as MASS, CAR (Done for a complete book), and others the main reason of these libraries are

Which issues could we, should we address?

1) Easy programming system - R poses a threat to some programs that have great reputation but a difficult programming language.

2) Fit to the user needs - R gives the user the ability to create Functions if they are not comfortable using the more than 1,000 functions created and included in R. Actually R has a great reputation for weeding out the bad functions and replacing them with much more powerful functions. I had an interesting thing to say however it left my mind as I went to drink some water ... will try to remember.

3) Much more easy way to document a process - Using R's Scripts is really a great way to document later the way in which the procedures were done. If there is an error, which R is great in pointing out, it is just a matter of going to the script and correcting the "faut-pas" and rerunning the script from the line it was interrupted by the console.

4) Montecarlo Simulations - I was impressed as to how fast the Montecarlo Simulations run on R, what used to take me 15 minutes in other simulators, took me less than 5 minutes in the R process. Really I am not exaggerating when I say that some of them took less than 2 minutes.

5) Graphics - It is interesting how the graphs are interactive as you can Identify which point corresponds to which line that is the example of the scatter graphs. The graphs are also fit to the user needs as the user can do a graph as he is pleased.

6) Use in inferential statistics - the use of ANOVA and LS are one of the most consisted found among Statistical Software, this is a thing that should be stressed with business professionals, if they want reliable results R is the way they should turn.

Something should be done to "get the word out" maybe addressing potential users on Professional Associations, Continuing Education Courses for professionals in different disciplines that are heavy data users an idea comes to mind about Industrial Chemists, Industrial Engineers, feel free to add more. R is not only for Academia! Maybe we could contact a newspaper and draft or write an article about the benefits of R for those in the industrial setting and for those who are working with data all days! It could be a good thing we can do for the software we are all using.

What do you think?
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