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What is R?

R is the world’s most powerful programming language for statistical computing, machine learning and graphics as well as a thriving global community of users, developers and contributors. R is free, open-source software distributed and maintained by the R-project. The source code is available under the terms of the Free Software Foundation's GNU General Public License for a variety of platforms.

The R Community

R is a global community of more than 2 million users and developers who voluntarily contribute their time and technical expertise to maintain, support and extend the R language and its environment, tools and infrastructure. At the center of the R Community is the R Core 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 that ensures the financial stability of the R-project and holds and administers the copyright of R software and its documentation.

Applications of R

R applications span the universe from theoretical computational statistics and the hard sciences such as astronomy, chemistry and genomics to practical applications in business, drug development, finance, health care, marketing, medicine and much more. The power and flexibility of the R language, its free availability on nearly every important computational platform and the tens of thousands of high quality functions distributed in nearly 5,000 packages make R an ideal platform for any application that could benefit from intense calculation and high-quality, vetted, sophisticated algorithms.

R Community Resources

On a daily basis, the R community generates R related resources and creates multiple opportunities for learning about R.  These range from the low level documentation on the various R packages to the face-to-face meetings with R experts at one of the weekly R user group events held around the world. In between, there is an entire ecosystem of resources for self-study, one-on-one help through R help, Stack Overflow and the other mailing lists as well as daily pointers to new applications, tutorials and current events through Twitter (#rstats) and the numerous R blogs.

Download R

Don’t hesitate! Download R get a handle on your data, play with it, analyze it and see it come to life.  R is available for download on a number of Unix, Linux, Windows and OS X platforms. Once you have downloaded the R software itself search for contributed packages by application area, by name or by tag.

Contributors to R

R’s great power, utility and high level of excellence comes from the thousands of volunteer contributors spread around the globe. The real “heavy lifters” are the members of the R core group who make changes to the language, fix bugs, test the code, maintain the CRAN infrastructure and keep the wheels running on all of the various platforms that are supported.