[R] How to Describe R to Finance People

Ko-Kang Kevin Wang k.wang at auckland.ac.nz
Fri Jun 4 13:50:32 CEST 2004


I've been doing a joint research with someone from the Property
Department here and she is about to give a presentation on the
results.  The audience will include people from Property and Finance,
and she is wondering how to describe R to these people (as I used R to
do the analyses), since she has never even heard of R before our joint
research (and has been using SPSS).  The difficult part is she has
only about 1 ~ 2 minutes to talk about R.

The following is what I have in mind, any suggestions from people in
Finance will be greatly appreciated!  (From our research together I
think it may be safe to assume the audience will know, or at least
have heard of, basic statistical terminology such as multiple linear
regression and dummy variables).

R was originally developed by Dr. Ross Ihaka and Dr. Robert Gentleman
from the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland in
1992.  It is free and in the last decade it has evolved into one of
the most powerful statistical software, with over 150 user-contributed
add-on packages.  It is not only used by statisticians or scientists,
but also econometricians and people in finance due to its cost (FREE)
and its powerfulness.

Although it has a slightly higher learning curve than SPSS-like
program, it gets easier to use once one is familiar with it.  One of
the main advantage it has over SPSS-like software is that you do not
need to explicitly create dummy variables.  You only need to specify
your dependent variable and independent variables and R will fit it
(and create dummy variables automatically) for you.

It also has many state-of-art free resources, including manuals,
contributed tutorials and documentations, online.  A free mailing list
is also available for people to ask questions and questions are
usually answered by more experienced users around the world within a
few hours (sometimes even within minutes).

As mentioned above, she was rather impressed when I mention that one
does not need to create dummy variables in R.  Therefore I am thinking
she might be interested in mentioning it in her talk.

I have never had experience of trying to introduce R to
non-Scientists, hence I would appreciate any comments!



Ko-Kang Kevin Wang, MSc(Hon)
SLC Stats Workshops Co-ordinator
The University of Auckland
New Zealand

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