[R] Re: How to Describe R to Finance People

Jonathan Baron baron at psych.upenn.edu
Sat Jun 5 16:54:10 CEST 2004

On 06/05/04 10:11, ivo welch wrote:
>but R has also huge drawbacks.  most importantly, there is no good
>*current* textbook for an intro R user.  that is, not for the fancy
>statistical techniques, but lots about data manipulation, plots, linear
>regression, heteroskedasticity and related (white-like) corrections,
>programming, "cookbook" (ala perl cookbook---more about the simple
>stuff:  how to delete or insert a row, how to delete or insert a column,
>typical problems, especially when doing IO).  so, honestly, i cannot
>recommend R to my finance students right now.

I recommend to students that they read the Introduction that
comes with R for this purpose, then the "Notes..." that I wrote
with Yuelin Li.  See the "R references" section of my R page
(below).  Unfortunately, these notes are not meant to be a
complete text, and they don't even cover all the points you just
mentioned (although they probably should).  Yuelin, if I may
speak for him, has expressed some interest in expanding our Notes
into an actual textbook, eventually, so your comments may
encourage him.  Still, I think you might find these notes helpful
for students.  (And there are other similar sets of introductory
documents in the R contributed documents section:
http://cran.r-project.org/other-docs.html.)  I also recommend a
reference card (see my page, which links to another one in
addition to the one in the R contributed docs page), which is a
good substitute for a GUI.  And I provide templates for the kinds
of analyses that students will do, so that the students can
modify the templates without understanding everything in them.
That said, I'm not talking about a class of 300.  I end up doing
a lot of help by email.  It would be overwhelming with a large
class (or the students would be too shy to ask for help, in which
case _they_ would be overwhelmed).

>one more big problem:  the name "R".  I cannot easily specify to do a
>comprehensive google search on subject matter "insert and R".  A single
>letter like R just does not connect well with google.  this is of course
>steeped in too much history, but a name change would help---calling it
>some random 6-letter combination.

Google is pretty smart.  If you enter "R" and nothing else, you
get to the right place.  But you might also find my R page
helpful.  My students use that too.  I think that the name R is
here to stay.  It has a certain coolness about it.

Jonathan Baron, Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
Home page:            http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~baron
R search page:        http://finzi.psych.upenn.edu/

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