Material about R

Table of Contents

The University of Manchester
photo of Georgi Boshnakov

What is R?

R is (the) free system for data analysis. It is being actively developed by the R development core team. Numerous extentions to its core functionality are contributed in the form of packages by individuals, academic and commercial institutions from around the world.

R resources

  • The R project web site This is the definitive place to look for information and downloads.
  • CRAN - the UK site CRAN (Comprehensive R Archive Network) is the main repository for R software and is mirrored around the world. The link here is to the UK mirror. A comprehensive list of mirrors can be found by choosing CRAN from the menu on the left-hand side of The R project page.

R documentation

All kinds of contributed documentation (in many languages) can be found in the documentation section of CRAN. Since having a lot of choice may be daunting, here are some pointers:

R Graphics

R Notes

Notes prepared by me for courses I teach.

  • Hints about R General information about R with some useful (I hope) advice on its use. Browse this file to get a filling of what is possible, keep at hand (and add your own tips) for reference. For textbook-like introduction to R see the resources in the previous sections of this page.

R functions

R installation and administration

  • To install the base R system on your own computer download the installation file from CRAN and execute it.

    Detailed instructions:

    • Go to a CRAN mirror, e.g. CRAN-UK mirror.
    • Under Download and install R, choose your operating system (Linux/Mac/Windows).
    • Click on Base.
    • Download the executable file (its name will be something like R-2.11.1-win32.exe).
    • Run the downloaded executable file.
  • Installing R packages.

    This is straightforward: in a freshly started R session choose the appropriate menu item, select the place containing the package(s) and tell R which ones to install.

    The first method below is most convenient for packages available on CRAN and other depositories. Packages obtained from other sources will usually reside on your computer or maybe removable media.

    Detailed instructions:

    Method 1 (Installing R packages from internet)
    In a running R session:
    • go to Packages->Install packages,
    • choose the CRAN mirror closest to you (e.g. Bristol),
    • choose the required package(s) from the list, e.g. polynom,
    • Click OK.
    Method 2 (Installing R packages from local zip files)
    (e.g. downloaded from CRAN).

    In a running R session:

    • go to Packages->Install packages from local zip files,
    • navigate to the directory containing the packages,
    • choose the required package(s) from the list.
    • Click OK.
  • R in the clusters at the School of Mathematics

    If R complains that a package is missing when you work in computer clusters, then you can install the package yourself using any of the procedures described above. If during the installation of a package you get an error message like ... access denied, then you need to do an one-off preparatory step. (I have removed the details here since they are somewhat technical and this should not happen anymore.)


Author: Georgi Boshnakov

Created: 2014-01-05 Sun 16:28

Emacs 24.3.1 (Org mode 8.2.4)

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