Murphy Choy

Unusual comparisons standards for software

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2011 at 2:31 am

I was recently involved in an online discussion/debate on different statistical software that were in the market. This discussion inevitably led to the discussion between R and SAS while at the same time discussing the strength and weaknesses of the software.

I have often been bombarded by many people who claims the superiority of one software over another. This is interesting from the perspective that many people will be comparing the performance of the softwares without any sense of the underlying hardware specifications. This argument seems to be more pervasive in discussion involving R.

I am all for R if the users loves it and having been a R programmer before switching to SAS. However, I find the argument about the huge amount of RAM needed to run the data merging and sorting to be misleading. Personally, I have rarely came across any PCs/Laptops with more than 8Gb of RAM while the majority having RAM size of 2Gb- 4Gb. This makes it difficult for one to use R to manage data sets of 1Gb and beyond.

However, SAS has none of these problems and I am now even processing a 6Gb data on a Pentium 4 with 512Mb Ram. While it takes a long time, it is not crashing on me yet.

This post is here to highlight some facts and not to flame people.

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