[R] sas vs. R

ivo_welch-rstat8783@mailblocks.com ivo_welch-rstat8783 at mailblocks.com
Sun Nov 21 18:15:40 CET 2004


* better manuals.
* tech support for most universities contracted into the price, thus 
for researchers.
* batch orientation.  if you have to handle data sets that are as large 
as your memory, SAS generally does it better.  It seems to be an 
"n-pass design."  Years ago, when memory was expensive, I could not use 
S/R even for simple problems.  Just a few simple operations, and I was 
disk thrashing.
* all sorts of corporate-oriented data base and ready-to-go application 
stuff, often not statistical in nature, at all.


* actually, I believe that perl---which can be used as R or SAS 
backend---beats even weird SAS input statements in its flexibility.  
though don't get me going on how crazy it is not to have in-code data 
set embedding.
* a real programming language and a real graphics language.
* some stuff (e.g., built-in statistical procedures) are a bit overly 
complex; other stuff is so beautifully simple and intuitive that it 
borders on a miracle.
* interactive design.

both suffer from weird mysteries---magic incantations that gurus know, 
and ordinary people cannot easily find.

and let me say---despite prof brian ripley's occasional grumpiness ( 
;-) ), he and the rest if the core R group have done absolutely amazing 
things for the community, both building the program and in helping 
support it on this forum.  I wish some of the corporations or 
universities that are using SAS would fund the R group a little, too.


ivo welch
professor of finance and economics
brown / nber / yale

More information about the R-help mailing list