Ross Ihaka on the history of the R project

June 6, 2016

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Ross Ihaka, one of the co-creators of R (along with Robert Gentleman), recently gave an interview to the University of Auckland's alumni magazine, Ingenio. In the article, he shares the story of the genesis of R in the early 1990s:

The story all began back in the early 1990s when the internet was in its infancy and computers at the University of Auckland were boxy Macintoshes with floppy disks. Ross had done his undergraduate degree at Auckland then his masters and PhD at Berkeley, returning to a lecturing post in the Department of Statistics. Undergraduate students were using what Ross calls “old and clunky programmes” for their data analysis, and he thought there had to be a better way.

Ihaka also expresses some well-deserved pride in the success of R while being humble about his role and that of the other volunteers who worked on the R project:

Ross says that that observing the global labour of love has tempered his cynicism. “R changed my opinion of humanity to some extent, to see how people are really willing to freely give of themselves and produce something larger than themselves without any thought of personal glory. There’s a lot of work with no recognition.”

To read the complete article and learn more about the history of R from its co-creator, follow the link below.

Ingenio: R – the ultimate virus

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