[R] How to Describe R to Finance People

Pikounis, Bill v_bill_pikounis at merck.com
Fri Jun 4 14:59:32 CEST 2004

Hi Kevin,
I think your \begin{quote}...\end{quote} block covers it nicely.  Some
generic remarks to consider:

* If the presenter is using slides, distill the description into 1 slide
(for the 1-2 minutes).

* Of course Edward Tufte would not approve, but I think three main bullet
points are useful, with some sub-items that could be explicit or described

	* R is free (as in beer, wine, etc.)

	* There is a strong, growing R community 
		* Useful documentation, and 
		* Help is always a sincere, intelligent email posting away

      * (Choose an authentic example, such as what you described with the
SPSS dummy coding)

By "authentic", I mean something you feel much of the audience will relate
to.  That could be specific to data analysis and/or interpretation in
Finance, or just a more convenient/efficient way to do tedious tasks, like
good computer software should do.  The "plot" example I just now see cited
by Barry Rowlingson is a good one, I think.

The first two items derive from the principle of open source software, and
it could be pointed out that the Earth now has several examples of where the
open-source model has been indisputably successful, based on the facts.  And
such examples are not just for "geeks" anymore; note for example OpenOffice
and KDE.

Hope that helps and good luck,

Bill Pikounis, Ph.D.

Biometrics Research Department
Merck Research Laboratories
PO Box 2000, MailDrop RY33-300  
126 E. Lincoln Avenue
Rahway, New Jersey 07065-0900

Phone: 732 594 3913
Fax: 732 594 1565

> -----Original Message-----
> From: r-help-bounces at stat.math.ethz.ch 
> [mailto:r-help-bounces at stat.math.ethz.ch] On Behalf Of 
> Ko-Kang Kevin Wang
> Sent: Friday, June 04, 2004 7:51 AM
> To: r-help at stat.math.ethz.ch
> Subject: [R] How to Describe R to Finance People
> Hi,
> 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).
> \begin{quote}
> 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).
> \end{quote}
> 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!
> Cheers,
> Kevin
> --------------------------------------------
> Ko-Kang Kevin Wang, MSc(Hon)
> SLC Stats Workshops Co-ordinator
> The University of Auckland
> New Zealand
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