A brief course in R
2.1 Origin and development
is mainly a programming environment for conducting statistical computations and producing high-level graphics (see R Development Core Team 2012). These two areas of application should be interpreted widely, and indeed many tasks that one would not normally directly subsume under these topics can be accomplished with the language. The website of the project is http://www.r-project.org. The source code of the software is published as free software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL; see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html).
The language is a dialect of the S language, which was developed by John Chambers and colleagues at Bell Labs in the mid-1970s.1 At that time the software was implemented as FORTRAN libraries. A major advancement of the S language took place in 1988, following which the system was rewritten in C and functions for conducting statistical analysis were added. This was version 3 of the S language, referred to as S3 (see Becker et al. 1988; Chambers and Hastie 1992). At that stage in the development ...