[R] SAS and R on multiple operating systems

Douglas Bates bates at stat.wisc.edu
Tue Apr 6 04:24:26 CEST 2010

On Mon, Apr 5, 2010 at 3:13 PM, Roger DeAngelis(xlr82sas)
<rdeangel at amgen.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> This is not meant to be critical of R, but is intended as
> a possible source for improvements to R.
> SAS needs the competition.
> I am reasonably knowledgeable about
> R
> SAS-(all products including IML)
> SAS and R run on
> Windows(all flavors)
> UNIX(all flavors)
> Apple OSs
> Does R run on natively (no emulation)?
> We have quite a few users on these systems
> Z-OS (mainframe)

Just out of curiosity, do you really know of anyone who is running a
VAX-VMS system at present?  My recollection of VAX minicomputers and
VaxStations is that they would be considerably less powerful, have
much less memory and possibly less disk space than a $250 netbook.
The first VAX at our university, a VAX-11/780, was allegedly a "1
MIPS" machine but it was pretty difficult to get it to do a million of
any instruction in one second.  I eventually succeeded because it had
a special instruction for decrement and branch on zero so if you
loaded a register with 100000 and put it in a tight loop of that one
instruction, it was able to count from 100000 down to zero within a
second.  When I bought the second Vax on the campus, a less powerful
Vax-11/750, I was considered extravagant because I equipped it with a
*second* megabyte of memory (at a cost of about $9000).

I recently bought an Intel Atom and Nvidia ION based "nettop" computer
for $330.  That computer has a dual-core 1.6 GHz processor, plus 2GB
of memory and 160 GB SATA hard drive.  I expect the electricity and
air conditioning bill for running a VAX would probably hit $300 after
a few months, and that isn't even counting the cost of buying it and
paying for (probably very old) operators to take care of it.  And for
that you would get a computer that is less than 1/100th as powerful as
the micro desktop.  Why would anyone do that?

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