R (programming Language) - Programming Features

Programming Features

R is an interpreted language typically used through a command line interpreter. If one types "2+2" at the command prompt and presses enter, the computer replies with "4".

> 2+2 4

Like many other languages, R supports matrix arithmetic. R's data structures include scalars, vectors, matrices, data frames (similar to tables in a relational database) and lists. The R object system is extensible and includes objects for, among others, regression models, time-series and geo-spatial coordinates.

R supports procedural programming with functions and, for some functions, object-oriented programming with generic functions. A generic function acts differently depending on the type of arguments it is passed. In other words the generic function dispatches the function (method) specific to that type of object. For example, R has a generic print function that can print almost every type of object in R with a simple "print(objectname)" syntax.

Although R is mostly used by statisticians and other practitioners requiring an environment for statistical computation and software development, it can also be used as a general matrix calculation toolbox with performance benchmarks comparable to GNU Octave or MATLAB.

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