[Rd] Sage <--> R integration

William Stein wstein at gmail.com
Tue Apr 15 18:27:08 CEST 2008

Hi R-Devel,

The Sage project (http://www.sagemath.org) has been working extremely
hard for several
years to create a viable free open source alternative to Maple,
Matlab, Mathematica, and
Magma. Numerous users have requested statistical functionality.
Though Sage includes
scipy and numpy, which have some statistical functionality, we've
decided the best longterm
solution is to strongly integrate R into Sage.    We started doing
this in December, and
now include R in all copies of Sage, and include R as part of the Sage
build process.

R/Sage integration will have many potential benefits for the R projects:

1. Sage has a cross platform graphical user interface, which also
works over the web; it
will be possible to use this as a GUI for R as well.  This is what
many young people like
and feel comfortable with, and it makes deployment in a teaching
environment very easy.

2. The Sage Foundation has received funding from Microsoft to do a
full native port of Sage and
its components to Microsoft Windows (MSVC 32 *and* 64-bit).   The more
R is into Sage, the more important it will be for us to do a 64-bit
MSVC port of R (instead
of using your 32-bit only mingw binaries/build system), which is
something R users
would greatly benefit from.    The Sage Foundation has also received funding to
do and maintain 32 and 64-bit Solaris ports of Sage and all components; again
R can benefit from this.   )This funding means highly talented full
and part-time
developers working on these ports.)

3. Sage has substantial mathematical functionality that is not in R,
ranging from optimization
code to advanced number theory and cryptographic algorithms; combining
R with Sage
results in a very powerful environment for mathematical calculation
that really extends how
R will get used.

At present, the best possible way to encourage and support R being
fully integrated into
Sage would be for the R Google Summer of Code Mentors to select the R
/ Sage integration
project for one of their (four?) project slots.

Currently the one R GSoC project is rated number six, so is not likely
to be funded
unless it receives support from other mentors (or Google ups the
number of allocations).

 -- william

William Stein
Associate Professor of Mathematics
University of Washington

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