What is R?
R is an alternative to traditional statistical packages such as SAS, SPSS, Stata, etc. R is a completely free software programming language and software environment for statistical computing and generation of graphics. It is an extensible, open-source language and computing environment compatible with the Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, and Linux platforms.
R has the ability to perform virtually every data manipulation, statistical analysis, and graphical representation that the ever more complex modern data requires. You can easily find, download and use cutting-edge community-reviewed methods in statistics and predictive modeling from leading researchers in data science, free of charge. The open-source platform has led to the generation of an active community providing a unique advantage over other traditional statistical software systems.
An additional benefit of R is the unparalleled ease with which well-designed publication-quality plots can be produced, including mathematical symbols and formulae where needed. Default design choices were carefully chosen to provide the most streamlined and simplest user experience while still allowing full user control.
What does R look like?
The R interface uses a programming language format to perform all analyses. For those completely new to R, or new to any programming environment, writing a script to perform analysis can be quite daunting.
> Data = read.csv("SampleData.csv", header=TRUE)
> plot(Data$Year, Data$Number)
However, although a steep learning curve does exist, once you get started, you will quickly realize the power of using a programming environment to perform analysis.