R is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. It is a GNU project which is similar to the S language and environment which was developed at Bell Laboratories (formerly AT&T,now Alcatel-Lucent) by John Chambers and colleagues. R can be considered as a different implementation of S. There are some important differences, but much code written for S runs unaltered under R.

Instructor’s question for class discussion:

Why are statistical programming languages important to data scientists? What are some advantages and disadvantages that R programming language has over the other main statistical programming languages (i.e. Python, SAS, SQL)?