NOV 9, 2009 7:05am ET

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Statistical Revolution


I just received a message on one of my R listserv accounts from REvolution Computing touting October's roundup of entries in the Revolutions blog. REvolution Computing is the company supporting the commercial dialects of the R Project for Statistical Computing, the open source statistical, data management and visualization software that has enjoyed dizzying world-wide success the last 10 years.

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Comments (2)
Hi Steve,

Great article as usual! I'm sure R presents a challenge to SAS Institute, but I don't think it's their biggest challenge. At the University of Tennessee, grad students get training in SAS, SPSS and R. When it comes to their own choice for their thesis or dissertation, the overwhelming choice is SPSS, even if they have been trained in the others and not SPSS. That's due to its ease of use. SAS has too many user interfaces to choose from (Enterprise Guide, Miner, Analyst, Assist, Insight, IML Studio, JMP) so professors teach only the program editor. Most students avoid programming at all costs. So SPSS gets 98% of the mind share for now.

Among those programming, R is definitely preferred. If an interface as easy as R Commander got as good as the SPSS interface, that would make it a serious challenge to the commercial vendors.

SPSS actually offers good interface support for R. You can easily add dialog boxes

Posted by BOB M | Wednesday, November 11 2009 at 4:34PM ET
Thanks Bob. Great feedback.

Quick question for you: Do statistics graduate students at Tennessee use SPSS? Or are the primary SPSS users in the social sciences and business? What I've been seeing at other schools is that the stats guys prefer R. But I want to make sure I have a representative sample!

Thanks. Steve

Posted by steve m | Thursday, November 12 2009 at 10:11AM ET
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