R (“GNU S”) is a sweet language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. R is similar to the award-winning S system, which was developed at Bell Laboratories by John Chambers et al. It is also very similar to my first taught language APL/360 except it does not require special characters.
You can install it from http://www.r-project.org/, there is a Windows version which comes with it’s own UI.
As simple example. You want to calculate 1/1 +1/2+ …. 1/1000. A verbose solution may be:
> a1 <- 1:1000
A one-liner (which APL is infamous for) would be:
You can also do some really interesting stuff, like finding the sum of all the square roots from –1 to -45
> a1 <- -1:-45
> a2 <- a1+ 0i
Yes, complex number support is native!
Often in programming you end up with a hyped-focused on a particular language pattern such as compiled object orientated in-fix languages. Languages such as R or F# or Prolog may be incomprehensible. If you become familiar with different ways of doing things, you may find that your solutions become more elegant. Often you will look at a problem and see a simple solution in another language pattern; this may result in an atypical elegant solution. Thinking outside of the silo.
Download it and walk through some tutorials. You may find R’s way of doing things very refreshing!