Published on Sep 08,2014
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What is R?

R is a free software programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics. R’s popularity has increased substantially in recent years with a lot of Data Scientists, Statisticians, Analysts using R for statistical analysis, data visualization and predictive analysis.

R Studio here, is one of the distributions of R. The image basically contains 4 windows which include:

  • Source Window(left-hand top window)
  • Console Window(left-hand bottom window)
  • Environment Window(right-hand top window)
  • Grass Window(right-hand bottom window)

Let us take an instance where we have to take a mean for the numbers 1,2,3,4 & 5. An example statement in R would be:


In order to take help in mean, the following statement is applicable:


It will give a basic definition of what mean is.

Basically, we can analyze data in R by writing scripts and functions in the R programming language. There are also various packages available. Here, there is one package called ‘rattle’ which is a GUI (Graphical User Interface). The only disadvantage is that it loads all the data in memory which makes it slow. The advantage is that R is being used by statisticians, engineers and scientists as they do not require computer programming skills. Also, R language consists of functions for every data manipulation, or statistical model or chart.

Rattle Window

Here, we can take data and see it as spreadsheet, ODBC, rdatafile, library, corpus or script. We can also get the file and use it for analysis. An important point to note is that R can be downloaded from its mother site ‘Comprehensive R Archive Network’, given the feature that R is an open-source. Also, R blogger is a community which gives latest developments in R. Another advantage is that it has more than 5,000 packages available and each package is designed for a custom function.

Who Uses R?

Some of the major domains using R include Telecom, Pharmaceuticals, Financial Services, Life Sciences and Education sectors.

What are the major areas of mathematics that are used in Data Science?

Mostly, the statistical part of mathematics comes into play when working on this platform. Concepts like mean, median and mode are used to begin with. A basic knowledge of statistics from a 10th grade level would be required.

Some of the top companies using R are ANZ, Google, Firefox, BOA, LinkedIn, Flipkart and Amazon.

Features of R

  • R is an open and free tool designed by statisticians for statisticians.
  • With over 5,000 packages available, R has multiple ways of doing the same thing.
  • It by default stores memory in RAM.
  • R has the most advanced graphics where programming skills are required.
  • R has GUI to make learning easier.
  • Customization needs command line.
  • R can connect to many databases and data types.

R is also an important platform in order to study social media. Through this platform, one can pull data from Twitter, Facebook or any social media included in the package.


Think of package as a customized function, say tweet R in R environment. If the user wants to include the package in his session, a command is run as such:

Fetch Narendra Modi  no. of tweets.

This will in turn fetch the tweets from Mr. Narendra Modi’s account.

The unique advantage of R includes customized graph visualizations with over 5,000 packages.

Also, R can be connected to many databases, which can include RDBMS, SAS and many more.

R, along with its feature to pull data from any source also assists its users through help section on its site, blog from users in its community and stack overflow.

Got a question for us? Mention them in the comments section and we will get back to you. 

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Published on Sep 08,2014

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