IPSUR – A Free R Textbook

Here is a free R textbook called IPSUR-


IPSUR stands for Introduction to Probability and Statistics Using R, ISBN: 978-0-557-24979-4, which is a textbook written for an undergraduate course in probability and statistics. The approximate prerequisites are two or three semesters of calculus and some linear algebra in a few places. Attendees of the class include mathematics, engineering, and computer science majors.

IPSUR is FREE, in the GNU sense of the word. Hard copies are available for purchase here from Lulu and will be available (coming soon) from the other standard online retailers worldwide. The price of the book is exactly the manufacturing cost plus the retailers’ markup. You may be able to get it even cheaper by downloading an electronic copy and printing it yourself, but if you elect this route then be sure to get the publisher-quality PDF from theDownloads page. And double check the price. It was cheaper for my students to buy a perfect-bound paperback from Lulu and have it shipped to their door than it was to upload the PDF to Fed-Ex Kinkos and Xerox a coil-bound copy (and on top of that go pick it up at the store).

If you are going to buy from anywhere other than Lulu then be sure to check the time-stamp on the copyright page. There is a 6 to 8 week delay from Lulu to Amazon and you may not be getting the absolute latest version available.

Refer to the Installation page for instructions to install an electronic copy of IPSUR on your personal computer. See the Feedback page for guidance about questions or comments you may have about IPSUR.

Also see http://ipsur.r-forge.r-project.org/rcmdrplugin/index.php for the R Cmdr Plugin

This plugin for the R Commander accompanies the text Introduction to Probability and Statistics Using R by G. Jay Kerns. The plugin contributes functions unique to the book as well as specific configuration and functionality to R Commander, the pioneering work by John Fox of McMaster University.

RcmdrPlugin.IPSUR’s primary goal is to provide a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) to the open-source and freely available R statistical computing environment. RcmdrPlugin.IPSUR is equipped to handle many of the statistical analyses and graphical displays usually encountered by upper division undergraduate mathematics, statistics, and engineering majors. Available features are comparable to many expensive commercial packages such as Minitab, SPSS, and JMP-IN.

Since the audience of RcmdrPlugin.IPSUR is slightly different than Rcmdr’s, certain functionality has been added and selected error-checks have been disabled to permit the student to explore alternative regions of the statistical landscape. The resulting benefit of increased flexibility is balanced by somewhat increased vulnerability to syntax errors and misuse; the instructor should keep this and the academic audience in mind when usingRcmdrPlugin.IPSUR in the classroom

Towards better analytical software

Here are some thoughts on using existing statistical software for better analytics and/or business intelligence (reporting)-

1) User Interface Design Matters- Most stats software have a legacy approach to user interface design. While the Graphical User Interfaces need to more business friendly and user friendly- example you can call a button T Test or You can call it Compare > Means of Samples (with a highlight called T Test). You can call a button Chi Square Test or Call it Compare> Counts Data. Also excessive reliance on drop down ignores the next generation advances in OS- namely touchscreen instead of mouse click and point.

Given the fact that base statistical procedures are the same across softwares, a more thoughtfully designed user interface (or revamped interface) can give softwares an edge over legacy designs.

2) Branding of Software Matters- One notable whine against SAS Institite products is a premier price. But really that software is actually inexpensive if you see other reporting software. What separates a Cognos from a Crystal Reports to a SAS BI is often branding (and user interface design). This plays a role in branding events – social media is often the least expensive branding and marketing channel. Same for WPS and Revolution Analytics.

3) Alliances matter- The alliances of parent companies are reflected in the sales of bundled software. For a complete solution , you need a database plus reporting plus analytical software. If you are not making all three of the above, you need to partner and cross sell. Technically this means that software (either DB, or Reporting or Analytics) needs to talk to as many different kinds of other softwares and formats. This is why ODBC in R is important, and alliances for small companies like Revolution Analytics, WPS and Netezza are just as important as bigger companies like IBM SPSS, SAS Institute or SAP. Also tie-ins with Hadoop (like R and Netezza appliance)  or  Teradata and SAS help create better usage.

4) Cloud Computing Interfaces could be the edge- Maybe cloud computing is all hot air. Prudent business planing demands that any software maker in analytics or business intelligence have an extremely easy to load interface ( whether it is a dedicated on demand website) or an Amazon EC2 image. Easier interfaces win and with the cloud still in early stages can help create an early lead. For R software makers this is critical since R is bad in PC usage for larger sets of data in comparison to counterparts. On the cloud that disadvantage vanishes. An easy to understand cloud interface framework is here ( its 2 years old but still should be okay) http://knol.google.com/k/data-mining-through-cloud-computing#

5) Platforms matter- Softwares should either natively embrace all possible platforms or bundle in middle ware themselves.

Here is a case study SAS stopped supporting Apple OS after Base SAS 7. Today Apple OS is strong  ( 3.47 million Macs during the most recent quarter ) and the only way to use SAS on a Mac is to do either


or do a install of Ubuntu on the Mac ( https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MacBook ) and do this


Why does this matter? Well SAS is free to academics and students  from this year, but Mac is a preferred computer there. Well WPS can be run straight away on the Mac (though they are curiously not been able to provide academics or discounted student copies 😉 ) as per


Does this give a disadvantage based on platform. Yes. However JMP continues to be supported on Mac. This is also noteworthy given the upcoming Chromium OS by Google, Windows Azure platform for cloud computing.

Twitter Cloud and a note on Cloud Computing

That’s what I use twitter for. If you have a twitter account you can follow me here


A couple of weeks ago I accidentally deleted many followers using a Twitter App called Refollow- I was trying to clean up people I follow and checked the wrong tick box-

so please if you feel I unfollowed you- it was a mistake. Seriously.














On Cloud Computing- and Google- rumours ( 🙂 ) are emerging that Google’s push for cloud computing is to turn desktop computing to IBM like mainframe computing .  Except that there are too many players this time. Where is the Department of Justice and anti trust – does Amazon qualify for being too big in cloud computing currently.

Or the rumours could be spread by Microsoft/ Apple / Amazon competitors etc. Geeks are like that sometimes.