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Beginning R: The Statistical Programming Language by Mark Gardener

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Chapter 1

Introducing R: What It Is and How to Get It

What you will learn in this chapter:

  • Discovering what R is
  • How to get the R program
  • How to install R on your computer
  • How to start running the R program
  • How to use the help system and find help from other sources
  • How to get additional libraries of commands

R is more than just a program that does statistics. It is a sophisticated computer language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. R is available from the R-Project for Statistical Computing website (www.r-project.org), and following is some of its introductory material:

R is an open-source (GPL) statistical environment modeled after S and S-Plus. The S language was developed in the late 1980s at AT&T labs. The R project was started by Robert Gentleman and Ross Ihaka (hence the name, R) of the Statistics Department of the University of Auckland in 1995. It has quickly gained a widespread audience. It is currently maintained by the R core-development team, a hard-working, international team of volunteer developers. The R project webpage is the main site for information on R. At this site are directions for obtaining the software, accompanying packages, and other sources of documentation.

R is a powerful statistical program but it is first and foremost a programming language. Many routines have been written for R by people all over the world and made freely available from the R project website as “packages.” However, the basic installation (for Linux, Windows ...

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