Chapter 1Why R?

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1.1 Why R?

Welcome to the world of Statistical Computing! During the first quartile of the previous century Statistics started growing at a great speed under the schools led by Sir R.A. Fisher and Karl Pearson. Statistical computing replicated similar growth during the last quartile of that century. The first part laid the foundations and the second part made the founders proud of their work. Interestingly, the beginning of this century is also witnessing a mini revolution of its own. The R Statistical Software, developed and maintained by the R Core Team, may be considered as a powerful tool for the statistical community. The software being a Free Open Source Software is simply icing on the cake.

R is evolving as the preferred companion of the Statistician. The reasons are aplenty. To begin with, this software has been developed by a team of Statisticians. Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman laid the basic framework for R, and later a group was formed who are responsible for the current growth and state of it. R is a command-line software and thus powerful with a lot of options for the user.

The legendary Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis delivered one of the important essays in the annals of Statistics, namely, “Why Statistics?” It appears that Indian mathematicians were skeptical to the thought of including Statistics as a legitimate branch of science in general, and mathematics in particular. This essay addresses some of those ...

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