[R] R in Industry

Ben Fairbank BEN at SSANET.COM
Thu Feb 8 18:48:05 CET 2007

To those following this thRead:

There was a thread on this topic a year or so ago on this list, in which
contributors mentioned reasons that corporate powers-that-be were
reluctant to commit to R as a corporate statistical platform.  (My
favorite was "There is no one to sue if something goes wrong.")

One reason that I do not think was discussed then, nor have I seen
discussed since, is the issue of the continuity of support.  If one
person has contributed disproportionately heavily to the development and
maintenance of a package, and then retires or follows other interests,
and the package needs maintenance (perhaps as a consequence of new
operating systems or a new version of R), is there any assurance that it
will be available?  With a commercial package such as, say, SPSS, the
corporate memory and continuance makes such continued maintenance
likely, but is there such a commitment with R packages?  If my company
came to depend heavily on a fairly obscure R package (as we are
contemplating doing), what guarantee is there that it will be available
next month/year/decade?  I know of none, nor would I expect one.

As R says when it starts up, "R is free software and comes with

Ben Fairbank

-----Original Message-----
From: r-help-bounces at stat.math.ethz.ch
[mailto:r-help-bounces at stat.math.ethz.ch] On Behalf Of Patrick Burns
Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2007 10:24 AM
To: Albrecht,Dr. Stefan (AZ Private Equity Partner)
Cc: r-help at stat.math.ethz.ch
Subject: Re: [R] R in Industry

 From what I know Matlab is much more popular in
fixed income than R, but R is vastly more popular in
equities.  R seems to be making quite a lot of headway
in finance, even in fixed income to some degree.

At least to some extent, this is probably logical behavior --
fixed income is more mathematical, and equities is more

Matlab is easier to learn mainly because it has much simpler
data structures.  However, once you are doing something
where a complex data structure is natural, then R is going to
be easier to use and you are likely to have a more complete
implementation of what you want.

If speed becomes a limiting factor, then moving the heavy
computing to C is a natural thing to do, and very easy with R.

Patrick Burns
patrick at burns-stat.com
+44 (0)20 8525 0696
(home of S Poetry and "A Guide for the Unwilling S User")

Albrecht, Dr. Stefan (AZ Private Equity Partner) wrote:

>Dear all,
>I was reading with great interest your comments about the use of R in
>the industry. Personally, I use R as scripting language in the
>industry, not so much for its statistical capabilities (which are
>great), but more for programming. I once switched from S-Plus to R,
>because I liked R more, it had a better and easier to use documentation
>and it is faster (especially with loops).
>Now some colleagues of mine are (finally) eager to join me in my
>quantitative efforts, but they feel that they are more at ease with
>Matlab. I can understand this. Matlab has a real IDE with symbolic
>debugger, integrated editor and profiling, etc. The help files are
>great, very comprehensive and coherent. It also could be easier to
>And, I was very astonished to realise, Matlab is very, very much faster
>with simple "for" loops, which would speed up simulations considerably.
>So I have trouble to argue for a use of R (which I like) instead of
>Matlab. The price of Matlab is high, but certainly not prohibitive. R
>great and free, but maybe less comfortable to use than Matlab.
>Finally, after all, I have the impression that in many job offerings in
>the financial industry R is much less often mentioned than Matlab.
>I would very much appreciate any comments on my above remarks. I know
>there has been some discussions of R vs. Matlab on R-help, but these
>could be somewhat out-dated, since both languages are evolving quite
>With many thanks and best regards,
>Stefan Albrecht
>	[[alternative HTML version deleted]]
>R-help at stat.math.ethz.ch mailing list
>PLEASE do read the posting guide
>and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.

R-help at stat.math.ethz.ch mailing list
PLEASE do read the posting guide
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