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What is R?

Video Introduction to R

The R Open Source Project Structure

At the center of the R Open Source Project and R Community is R Core, a group of approximately twenty developers who maintain R and guide its evolution. The official public structure for the R Community is provided by the R Foundation, a not for profit organization with an impressive list of members and supporters. The R Foundation ensures the financial stability of the R-project and holds and administers the copyright of R software and its documentation.

What You Can Expect from R

R is a language! You do data analysis by writing functions and scripts, not by pointing and clicking. That may sound daunting if you are new to programming, but R is an easy language to learn, and a very natural and expressive one for data analysis. Working with R is an interactive experience that encourages experimentation, exploration and play. It is likely that whatever your area of interest, you will find R packages (libraries of functions) that will be immediately helpful. And, of course, R is renowned for its capabilities to visualize data.

About Microsoft R Open

Microsoft R Open is the enhanced distribution of R from Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft R Open is a complete open source platform for statistical analysis and data science, which is free to download and use.

The current version, Microsoft R Open 3.3.2, is based on (and 100% compatible with) the statistical language, R-3.3.2, and includes additional capabilities for performance, reproducibility and platform support. Learn more...

Get Microsoft R Open today! You can download and install Microsoft R Open right from this site.

A (Brief) History of R

R was first implemented in the early 1990’s by Robert Gentleman and Ross Ihaka, both faculty members at the University of Auckland. Robert and Ross established R as an open source project in 1995. Since 1997, the R project has been managed by the R Core Group. And in February 2000, R 1.0.0 was released.

The R language was closely modeled on the S Language for Statistical Computing conceived by John Chambers, Rick Becker, Trevor Hastie, Allan Wilks and others at Bell Labs in the mid 1970s, and made publicly available in the early 1980’s.

For more information, see Ross Ihaka’s brief account of how R got started highlights some of the connections between R and S.

R Packages

R Packages are collections of R functions, data, and compiled code. While R comes with a set of packages by default, there are many more packages that can be added to extend the capabilities of R. Whether you're using R to optimize portfolios, analyze genomic sequences, or to predict component failure times, experts in every domain have made resources, applications and code available for free, online.

Browse for packages by name, author, title, and published date or find packages organized by task.

Learn more about packages and task views here.

R Contributors

The current version of Open R is the result of years of collaboration from people all over the globe. R was initially written by Robert Gentleman and Ross Ihaka, who were known as "R & R" of the Statistics Department of the University of Auckland.

Since mid-1997, there has been a core group of contributors with write-access to the R source. The current set of contributors are:

Douglas Bates
John Chambers
Peter Dalgaard
Seth Falcon
Robert Gentleman
Kurt Hornik
Ross Ihaka
Michael Lawrence
Friedrich Leisch
Uwe Ligges
Thomas Lumley
Martin Maechler
Martin Morgan
Duncan Murdoch
Paul Murrell
Martyn Plummer
Brian Ripley
Deepayan Sarkar
Duncan Temple Lang
Luke Tierney
Simon Urbanek

Heiner Schwarte (until Oct. '99)
Guido Masarotto (until June '03)
Stefano Iacus (until July '14)

Read more about those that have contributed to R.