1 Computers and Statistics

(From broad and lofty visions, to what we can do this afternoon on the way toward making our computer a useful part of our work.)

2 Emacs

Let us look at what the authors of the component that integrates our statistical package into our IDE have to say about the statistical task:

"Complex contacts between interfaces can involve the coordination of several data files, multiple sta- tistical software packages, and the corresponding source code in each of these languages, combined for a single analysis. ESS, as part of Emacs, has tools which assist in this, including support for version and source code control systems, tools for accessing programs or files on remote machines, and interfaces to documentation systems including LaTeX and XML. In addition, Emacs can assist with, or be programmed to perform, many tasks related to data cleaning, management, and editing."
--Rossini et. al citation following.

The ultimate completion of this IDE is Linux, in which the whole operating system is designed with this philosophy and purpose. As someone doing scientific computing, you are not working at cross purposes with your operating system as in the case of Windows, which wants you to sit still at your desk and play solitaire. (This is a joke referring to a very popular card game that ships with Windows.)

3 R and ESS

"ESS is one of the first IDEs intended for statisticians. It provides an enhanced, powerful interface for efficient interactive data analysis and statistical programming. It is completely customizable to satisfy individual desires for interface styles as well as being extensible to additional statistical languages and analysis packages."

Rossini, Machler, Hornik, Heiberger, Sparapani (2001)

Emacs Speaks Statistics: A Universal Interface for Statistical Analysis

How does this connect to statisticians? We will consider one major statistical program that ess integrates:

R is an integrated suite of software facilities for data manipulation, calculation and graphical display. It includes


Why R for researchers and students?

4 LaTeX

Presenting results in journals (and homework) is an important part of the statistical task.
LaTeX is the best way to write math on a computer.
Based on TeX, created by Donald Knuth when he was dismayed at the poor quality of one of his mathematical books produced by computer.

5 Version Control

Once the project gets big enough, or once people start to collaborate, project management becomes essential. A good version control tool can help very much in this task. Thus, we introduce Subversion, a system highly favored by many developers currently.

Last modified: Wed Jan 24 14:57:33 EST 2007