Lost opportunities

Why we need a variety of statistical languages

Sanford Weisberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

To the worker who only has a hammer, we are told, everything looks like a nail. Solutions to applied statistical problems are framed by the limitations imposed by statistical computing packages and languages. For better or worse, we can do what the packages do: we cannot do what the packages won't do. Statistical languages like R have basic tools that allow the analyst to design new hammers, but even in R we cannot build an arbitrary hammer, only ones within the limits imposed by the R language. XLISP-STAT imposes different limitations, so we can produce different hammers. In this article, I look at some of the tools in XLISP-STAT that allow the user to think about graphics in ways that cannot be easily replicated in other statistical languages. The interactive graphical methods available in XLISP-STAT lead to very different methodology than would be developed without the tools that XLISP-STAT provides. The general approach to graphics and indeed to data analysis in general is quite different in a package like Arc that is built on top of XLISP-STAT, than it is in other statistical packages. We discuss why that might be true, and why this depends on design options created by XLISP-STAT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Statistical Software
Volume13
StatePublished - Feb 2005

Fingerprint

Hammers
Statistical Computing
Statistical package
Interactive Methods
Nails
Graphical Methods
Data analysis
Arc of a curve
Language
Methodology
Arbitrary
Design
Graphics

Keywords

  • Arc
  • Computing
  • Graphics
  • XLISP-STAT

Cite this

Lost opportunities : Why we need a variety of statistical languages. / Weisberg, Sanford.

In: Journal of Statistical Software, Vol. 13, 02.2005, p. 1-12.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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