[R] Are you experienced in SAS and R as well? Which of these would you recommend?

Nels Tomlinson tomlinso at purdue.edu
Fri Nov 23 17:49:54 CET 2001


Here at Purdue, the Statistics department requires that its students 
learn both SAS and S/R.  SAS is a necessary skill for work in industry, 
since most employers use it, and since it handles large data sets well. 
  Unfortunately SAS is terribly awkward to actually DO anything with.  I 
used to program in FORTRAN IV, and the SAS data step reminds me of that, 
only it seems a good deal worse.

A little over a year ago I had to work with a large data set from a 
credit bureau.  It was close to a gigabyte, and I found that SAS could 
open the data and do things with it, even on a little laptop with only 
144MB of ram.  I used SAS to pick out several random samples of 10,000 
observations, and worked on them with R.  R is wonderfully flexible, and 
I was able to do some exploratory stuff that I just wouldn't have 
bothered to do with SAS.  I also used R to do some ad hoc plotting which 
suggested that my data followed a negative binomial distribution better 
than a Poisson.  Again, I could probably have done this in SAS, but I 
certainly wouldn't have bothered.

I don't think that the choice between SAS and the dialects of S is an 
``either this or that'' choice at all; you really should get familiar 
with both, and use whichever is best for the job at hand.

Hope this helps you,

Michael Reinecke wrote:

> Hello!
> Disapointed about SPSS I have to choose another statistic program. And 
> altough I sympathise with the idea of a non-commercial software-project 
> like R and I like the spirit of the R community (and of course I am not 
> keen on paying 150$ to SAS for a one-year students license), I will 
> probably buy SAS, because people I will work with use SAS and I want a 
> close cooperation with them. Besides I guess that SAS is still much more 
> powerful than SAS.
> But: can ´t you convince me to choose R? I would appreciate that very 
> much, because my sympathy is with the r-project. Maybe the syntax of 
> both programs is quite similar, so I will still be able to exchange a 
> lot of experience with my SAS-using future collegues!? Or I could even 
> convince the newcomers to swap to R!?
> If you know some arguments, I should consider for my decission, I am 
> looking forward to hear (or read) of you!
> Michael
> Michael Reinecke
> Turnerstr. 3a
> 49076 Osnabrück
> Germany
> Tel: +49-541-64147
> mreineck at uos.de <mailto:mreineck at uos.de>

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