[R] Newbie questions

Zsombor Cseres-Gergely z.cseres-gergely at ucl.ac.uk
Mon Oct 30 23:27:46 CET 2000


I am new to R, but a fairly `old' user of Stata. I read posts asking about
survey methods and large datasets in the archive, so I will not ask those
questions again. But some still remain:
- R seems to consume more memory given the same set of data, say if I have
  only a data frame defined, than Stata. Am I right if I think that this is
  because the object oriented nature of R and can not be overcome (ie., sort
  of traedoff between efficiency and complexity as with assembly <-> C <->
- If not, is it a design goal of the developers to do speed/memory
  optimization (apart from dynamic memory allocation, which, as I understand
  orthogonal to this problem)
- Since sometimes I need to use modestly really large datasets (60000*300
  matrix), I wonder if I can do that in R at all? More adequately: is R
  scalable without limits by brute force (adding more CPU/RAM)?
- I noted, that R can use SQL datasources. Since it is really the case that
  one have to use both huge amount of records _and_ variables, an SQL+R
  combination might be one for me. Is it right? How fast would this be?
- Browsing the package lists, I have not seen a library for hypothesis
  testing. Everybody builds it from primitives or serious people do not do
  this at all?
- Generally: how do you think somebody in survey/econometrics could use R?
  (Answer: It depends on.... I know. But this is not the motivation. Stata is
  the last residuum in my GNU system. I would like to get rid of it...)

BTW, I compiled R on the Hurd (http://hurd.gnu.org). It compiled flawlessly,
but I was not able to test it because an X failure I have not been able to
track down yet (X is somewhat immature in the Hurd).

Thank you in advance,

Zsombor Cseres-Gergely

PS: please (also) cc. me the reply, because I am not on the list (yet)
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