[R] Re: R-1.1.0 is released : GUI

Yves Gauvreau cyg at sympatico.ca
Sat Jun 17 14:41:57 CEST 2000

This discussion is quite interesting. From the little I know of these issues
may I humbly suggest that parallelism may be the ultimate solution for the
problem of speed and data size. Again in my humble opinion I find R to be
quite a powerful and flexible solution as it is. Trying to make a Formula
one out of it will just be a lost of time and effort because the foundation
doesn't lend itself to these kind of improvements as some of you pointed
out. But if it where possible to enlist a bunch of computer at some large
and properly setup problem there would be virtually no limit to the kind of
problem one could tackle using it. These days you can get a few hundred
megahertz PC for practically pocket change. How much time and effort would
be required to improve R capabilities by a factor of 2 say? I think it would
be lots and lots. How much work would it be to give R parallelism I think it
could be a lot less. All together I think asking the core team to improve
the performance of R knowing that probably only very few would really
benefit is asking to much. I would be curious to know what it would involve
to provide R with parallelism enlisting PVM or other similar package?

My penny worth bit.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Prof Brian D Ripley" <ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk>
To: <cstrato at eunet.at>
Cc: <r-help at stat.math.ethz.ch>
Sent: Saturday, June 17, 2000 2:22 AM
Subject: Re: [R] Re: R-1.1.0 is released : GUI

> On Fri, 16 Jun 2000 cstrato at eunet.at wrote:
> > Dear Prof Ripley, dear R developers
> >
> > I hope this mail does not upset any of the R developers, in which case
> > I apologize. There are some questions which I wanted to ask for some
time, but
> > did not do. However, the mail of Prof. Ripley regarding Java/Swing did
> > confuse me, so I decided to ask the questions now:
> Lots of others have already given a lot of insights.  My concern in my
> original posting was a practical one, having recently struggled for
> some days (and failed) to get a Java/Swing GUI to run. I was only talking
> about the GUI side.
> > I am using S-Plus and R for some time now and find it very elegant and
> > programming in it. It simplifies coding so much and has so many
> > functions built in that it would be great to be able to write programs
> > in R/S.
> >
> > However, I have two problems, which other people have also mentioned in
> > r-help a couple of times: I have very large datasets to work with and
thus I
> > need
> > i, the ability to handle large data sets, and
> > ii, speed, speed, speed.
> > For this reason I am currently thinking to re-write my programs in C++,
> > my program needs 2hrs in S-Plus on a 733MHz machine with 1GB RAM, and
> > would take much longer in R.
> >
> > Furthermore, it would also be great to have a GUI to work with in R,
> > to S-Plus.
> Um. S-PLUS only has a GUI on Windows.  When that first came out the
> reesources it needed were too much for the computers most of us had at the
> time. (I had a laptop with a maximum memory of 40Mb, and it needed 48Mb at
> least to be happy.)  In my very limited experience TcL/Tk-based GUIs are
> much less resource intensive than Java-based ones, and that's an issue.
> > My first question is:
> > Since S/R is a full featured language it would be great to have a native
> > compiler, so that I could write stand-alone programs which profit from
> > full speed, and ability to handle large data-sets, of a stand-alone
> > Wouldn´t this be an option to consider?
> >
> > Related to the first question and to the GUI question is my second
> > It would be great if I could wrap some S/R code in a GUI, so that other
> > people not knowing the language could use my programs.
> > Do I understand it write that the bindings to Tcl/Tk offer just this
> Yes.  On Windows you can also (now) program the GUI used for the port, in
> at negligible run-time cost.
> --
> Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
> Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
> University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
> 1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
> Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595
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