[R-SIG-Finance] Lisp as a Base for a Statistical Computing System

Andrew Piskorski atp at piskorski.com
Wed Jan 26 16:28:43 CET 2011

On Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 11:17:45AM -0500, Dominick Samperi wrote:
Subject: Re: [R-SIG-Finance] R to common lisp translator

> The paper by Ross Ihaka and Duncan Temple Lang titled "Back to the
> Future: Lisp as a Base for a Statistical Computing System" discusses
> building a new foundation for R on top of Common Lisp, but I don't know
> if any work is being done in this direction.

Btw, when I read that paper a few years ago, it was interesting, but
it also sounded a lot like its authors largely picked their solution
(Lisp) first, and then thought about how to justify it.  Lisp probably
WOULD be a pretty good base for building a next-generation R-like
tool, but their discussion of possible alternatives seemed quite
cursory, as did their "Backward's compatibility?" section.


If I had both the time (a lot of time!) and a real mandate to do R&D
on something like that, I'd also look into LuaJIT, Erlang, and SciDB,
and think hard about what R problems I really want to solve and what I
could learn about solving them from those other tools.  However,
despite these criticisms, I do hope that Ihaka and Lang proceed
further with their ideas, and look forward to reading more about it.

Of course, this is all pretty much off topic...

For the original poster who sparked this thread:  Trying to speed up
your R code by auto-translating it to Lisp is a crazy, totally
impractical idea.  You are confusing someone's brief dead-end R&D
exploration with something you could actually use for real.  Profile
your R code and figure out what is really slowing it down, then
proceed from there.  There isn't any magic Lisp bullet to solve things
for you.

Andrew Piskorski <atp at piskorski.com>

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