11 August 2014

A Visit in the Hadleyverse

Hadley Wickham is interviewed by Eduardo Arino de la Rubia in conjunction with the useR! meeting in Los Angeles. He warms the cockles of my heart starting at 15:50 of the interview, when they discuss the bipolar (my term, not theirs) nature of R. Yes, R is both an Excel on steroids (neither of them says Excel, but reading between the lines...) and a kinda, sorta language to write programs. Since most of us know Hadley via his packages (and he's using Rcpp more, lately), and this interview is about how he goes about making same, it's impossible to judge how he feels about R as a stat command language for stats, quants, data scientists, and the like. But it is clear that he gets the difference. It's also my inference that he envisions lots o London Whales making their mistakes in R rather than Excel. Whether that's a good thing is another matter. Sometimes brain surgery should only be done by trained neurosurgeons. If The Great Recession taught us nothing else, it's that quant is too often done cavalierly, by those with little to no understanding of what they're doing, yet with an outcomes' agenda. Bad dog.

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