Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Excel v. R for Statistics

A previous post on the IEOR Tools blog led me to an article by Michael Milton on O'Reilly Answers about the relative merits of Excel and R for statistics. I tend to incline toward the position that Excel should never be used for statistics (beyond sample means, anyway). Milton links to a 2007 post by Frank Harrell on this theme; Harrell in turn links to other sources. Milton suggests that, beyond quick (and simple) computations, Excel would be the platform of choice for presenting statistical analysis. I'm not convinced; I would be more inclined to use a presentation package, embedding R-generated graphics, for that. Nonetheless, I'm happy to see R getting a bit more publicity, as well as a thoughtful discussion of the relative merits of R versus Excel. One option Milton missed is RExcel, an Excel add-in that provides access within Excel to R functionality. One of these days, time permitting, I need to play with it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Due to intermittent spamming, comments are being moderated. If this is your first time commenting on the blog, please read the Ground Rules for Comments. In particular, if you want to ask an operations research-related question not relevant to this post, consider asking it on Operations Research Stack Exchange.