[R] Considering port of SAS application to R

Gabor Grothendieck ggrothendieck at gmail.com
Fri Apr 21 13:21:18 CEST 2006

R supports a number of databases and if you only need to work with a small
amount of data at once it should be readily do-able; however, R keeps objects
in memory and if you need large amounts at once then you could run into
problems.  Note that S-Plus keeps objects on disk and has other
features aimed at large data and might be an alternative if R cannot handle
the size and you want something based on the S language.

Since SAS was developed many years ago when optimizing computer
resources was more important than it is now it might be difficult to find
an alternative that matches it for performance with large data sets.

You probably want to quickly develop the core of your app in such a way
that it has the main performance characteristics of the full app so you
can get an idea of whether it will work prior to spending the time on the
full code.

Also note that R typically processes matrices faster than data frames
and, in general, how you write your application may affect its performance.

On 4/21/06, Werner Wernersen <pensterfuzzer at yahoo.de> wrote:
> Hi there!
> I am considering to port a SAS application to R and I would like to hear your opinion if you think this is possible and worthwhile. SAS is mainly used to do data management and then to do some aggregations and simple computations on the data and to output a modified data set. The main problem I see is the size of the data file. As I have no access to SAS yet I cannot give real details but the SAS data file is about 7 gigabytes large. (It's only the basic SAS system without any additional modules)
> What do you think, would a port to R be possible with reasonable effort? Is R able to handle that size of data? Or is R prepared to work together with some database system?
> Thanks for your thoughts!
> Best regards,
>  Werner
> ---------------------------------
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