Straw Poll on Statistical Computing

The abstract of my previous (reblogged) post claims that R is “the premier language of statistical computing”. That may be true for the wider world of statistics, and I like R very much, but in my experience astronomers and cosmologists are much more likely to do their coding in Python.  It’s certainly the case that astronomers and physicists are much more likely to be taught Python than R. There may well even be some oldies out there still using other languages like Fortran, or perhaps  relying on books of statistical tables!

Out of interest therefore I’ve decided to run the following totally biased and statistically meaningless poll of my immense readership:


If you choose “something else”, please let me know through the comments box what your alternative is. I can then add additional options.


16 Responses to “Straw Poll on Statistical Computing”

  1. oh well, I am an oldie: f9x/f2k and IDL, lazily finding my way trough python tricks. I know R exists…

  2. For a number of years I have been using R within Python using the rpy binding (which is out of date now, but still works just fine It’s possible to use ‘the best of both worlds’ in this case. I like R’s statistical capabilities, but actually use it mostly for making plots, where I think R really excels compared to (e.g.) matplotlib.

  3. Stata for preference. But other options might be SAS, WinBUGS, or JAGS.

  4. C++ and ROOT

  5. Just switched from IDL to Python. Still making lots of mistakes.

  6. Douglas Clowe Says:

    C, mostly due to inertia

  7. C++/Root

  8. John Peacock Says:

    This still applies:

    “If you can’t do it in FORTRAN, do it in assembly language. If you can’t do it in assembly language, it isn’t worth doing.”

    Seriously, although I do now use python quite a lot, I tend to be nervous of black boxes and for stats problems prefer to code from scratch so I know what’s going on. For me, it will forever be fastest to do that in fortran.

    Maybe youngsters will eventually discover “hey, there’s this cool language that’s really very similar to python, except faster”. But then it would become fashionable and in no time we’d have fortran3 that was incompatible with all previous code…

  9. If the human race is ever invited to join the Galactic Federation, under
    ‘significant achievements’ on the membership form, you will find:

    -J.S. Bach
    -Silly Putty

    Good enuf for yeh? Then harken ye to Glass’ Theorem:

    “On any planet where a High-Level language is invented, the very first one
    to be of any use whatsoever will become immortal, outliving races,
    civilizations, and species. On -THIS- planet, that language is Fortran.”

    —seen in comp.lang.fortran

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