

Found the comparison between R and Matlab, questions were asked by a professor of economics so he could introduce either Matlab or R for his students, he wanted to compare both packages based on smartness, good programming habits, it's use in later stage of professional life of students, flexibility and learning curve. ( I just copy pasted useful material so presently I don't have a link for the site )
I have been using R for about 2 years and recently took a 6 week introductory course to Matlab. I can give entirely personal answers to your questions. 1. 'How smart?'. Don't know exactly what you mean, but both languages are extremely functional. Both emphasize writing of functions to call rather than repeatedly typing in the same code, so they encourage good programming practice. I started with R, so prefer its syntax. 2. 'Learning curve'. Similar. R has a simpler interface. Matlab has various enhancements that may help in the learning process, for example the path browser and workspace browser in which you can interactively keep track of all the objects in the workspace. Both have comprehensive help packages. 3. 'Further development'. Has to be R its FREE! I don't know many students who would fork out the money for a Matlab license. 4. 'Flexibility'. Both are perhaps infinitely flexible. You can write any code you like, to do any statistical or mathematical processing. I would say R is better for statistical analysis (though Matlab has a stats package you can purchase), while Matlab is designed for mathematics. With Matlab you can compile GUIs to run analyses, which are probably useful for sharing with people who can't program. Some other points. 1. I have heard that Matlab is faster than SPLUS (and hence R?) at performing calculations. 2. I found Matlab to be quite frustrating in its handling of data for example it is extremely difficult to save a data frame in which variables are labelled with there names I was exposed to and have used Matlab and R both in and out of the classroom, both as a student and as an instructor. 1. Both Matlab and R are "smart." In terms of flexibility, I think they are both about the same. This includes their FSF or commercial counterparts Octave and SPlus respectively. With appropriate guidance, all of these applications can be used to develop better programming habits. As a general rule the commercial versions have a smoother appearance and better documentation...but this is not true of R. R has some of the best documentation around as well as superb online support via the R mailing lists. From a student's perspective access to well written documentation and online support are essential. 2. Both require the user to have some programming experience; otherwise the learning curve is steep in the beginning. Both can be used to introduce programming provided you make room in your syllabus for the basics in the beginning. 3. In my opinion, the main difference  besides the obvious one...cost  is that R is easily accessible anywhere in the world, costs nothing (which makes it affordable for students), has excellent documentation, a robust, friendly and helpful user base, superior online support ... 4. The power of R and Matlab is that they are both easily extensible. If you can't find a readymade function to do what you want, you can easily, on the fly, write your own and then make it a permanent function for your use at any time  Here is other link for comparison Comparison of data analysis packages: R, Matlab, SciPy, Excel, SAS, SPSS, Stata Comparison of data analysis packages: R, Matlab, SciPy, Excel, SAS, SPSS, Stata  AI and Social Science – Brendan O'Connor
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The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple. 


Intrigued by SciPy/NumPy/Matplotlib which uses Python as scripting language. Somewhere I read that easy language for Tradestation and Multicharts derived from Python. So it might be easy for easy lang users...
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The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple. 



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RcppArmadillo
for more go to the link. 
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Will be handy for NT users...
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The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple. 
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