[R] The Quality & Accuracy of R

Gabor Grothendieck ggrothendieck at gmail.com
Tue Jan 27 01:52:01 CET 2009


It would be possible to develop tools to develop code coverage
statistics quantifying the percent of the code that the tests
exercise.

On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 10:04 AM, Muenchen, Robert A (Bob)
<muenchen at utk.edu> wrote:
> Hi All,
>
>
>
> We have all had to face skeptical colleagues asking if software made by
> volunteers could match the quality and accuracy of commercially written
> software. Thanks to the prompting of a recent R-help thread, I read, "R:
> Regulatory Compliance and Validation Issues, A Guidance Document for the
> Use of R in Regulated Clinical Trial Environments
> (http://www.r-project.org/doc/R-FDA.pdf). This is an important document,
> of interest to the general R community. The question of R's accuracy is
> such a frequent one, it would be beneficial to increase the visibility
> of the non-clinical  information it contains. A document aimed at a
> general audience, entitled something like, "R: Controlling Quality and
> Assuring Accuracy" could be compiled from the these sections:
>
>
>
> 1.      What is R? (section 4)
>
> 2.      The R Foundation for Statistical Computing (section  3)
>
> 3.      The Scope of this Guidance Document (section 2)
>
> 4.      Software Development Life Cycle (section 6)
>
>
>
> Marc Schwartz, Frank Harrell, Anthony Rossini, Ian Francis and others
> did such a great job that very few words would need to change. The only
> addition I suggest is to mention how well R did in, Keeling & Parvur's
> "A comparative study of the reliability to nine statistical software
> packages, May 1, 2007 Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Vol.51,
> pp 3811-3831.
>
>
>
> Given the importance of this issue, I would like to see such a document
> added to the PDF manuals in R's Help.
>
>
>
> The document mentions (Sect. 6.3) that a set of validation tests, data
> and known results are available. It would be useful to have an option to
> run that test suite in every R installation, providing clear progress,
> "Validating accuracy of t-tests...Validating accuracy of linear
> regression...." Whether or not people chose to run the tests, they would
> at least know that such tests are available. Back in my mainframe
> installation days, this step was part of many software installations and
> it certainly gave the impression that those were the companies that took
> accuracy seriously. Of course the other companies probably just ran
> their validation suite before shipping, but seeing it happen had a
> tremendous impact.  I don't know how much this would add to download,
> but if it was too much, perhaps it could be implemented as a separate
> download.
>
>
>
> I hope these suggestions can help mitigate the concerns so many non-R
> users have.
>
>
>
> Cheers,
>
> Bob
>
>
>
> =========================================================
>
> Bob Muenchen (pronounced Min'-chen),
>
> Manager, Research Computing Support
>
> U of TN Office of Information Technology
>
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>
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>
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>
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