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Re: Octave's and Matlab's limitations

From: c.
Subject: Re: Octave's and Matlab's limitations
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2012 17:25:10 +0100

On 21 Nov 2012, at 17:07, Jordi GutiƩrrez Hermoso wrote:

> R is a language that was originally for statisticians, so it is
> *marvelous* at handling data, and not just the matrix data that a
> numerical analyst likes (Matlab originally was for numerical analysis,
> not for data manipulation).

Being a numerical analyst I may be biased ;)
But indeed, Matlab's language is designed to be as close as possible to the 
notation used in numerical analysis and scientific computing. Actually Matlab's 
language has even influenced mathematical notation to some degree, it is not 
to see the colon notation for indexing in mathematical papers. It might be just 
an interpreted 
wrapper around numerical libraries but that's exactly what many of its intended
users need. And it is not even that bad to very closely mimic fortran syntax,
actually many of my colleagues still use fortran (even fortran 77 is still used 
a lot)

> I am kinda frustrated how one of Matlab's and Octave's primary use
> cases is to draw graphs from data without actually doing any
> significant computations on that data. I learned Octave to do
> interesting numerical computations such as solving hyperbolic PDEs or
> figuring out cantilever problems with FEM, not to produce plots that
> would look good on publications. If you just want to grab your data
> and create plots for journals, particularly if you're a scientist who
> wants to state that your p-value is significant, R is far better
> suited for this task.

If you just want to draw plots, gnuplot isn't that bad either.


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