Another aspect of tool usefulness is how much does it help with the entire data mining process from data preparation and cleaning, modeling, evaluation, visualization and presentation (excluding deployment).
New KDnuggets Poll is asking: What part of your analytics / data mining work in the past 12 months was done in R?
While sitting in Delhi, India- I sometimes notice that there is one big new worthy gun related incident in the United States every six months (latest incident Gabrielle giffords incident) and the mythical NRA (which seems just as powerful as equally mythical Jewish American or Cuban American lobby ) . As someone who once trained to fire guns (.22 and SLR -rifles actually), comes from a gun friendly culture (namely Punjabi-North Indian), my dad carried a gun sometimes as a police officer during his 30 plus years of service, I dont really like guns (except when they are in a movie). My 3 yr old son likes guns a lot (for some peculiar genetic reason even though we are careful not to show him any violent TV or movie at all).
So to settle the whole guns are good- guns are bad thing I turned to the one resource -Internet
Here are some findings-
1) A lot of hard statistical data on guns is biased by the perspective of the writer- it reminds me of the old saying Lies, True lies and Statistics.
2) There is not a lot of hard data in terms of a universal research which can be quoted- unlike say lung cancer is caused by cigarettes- no broad research which can be definitive in this regards.
3) American , European and Asian attitudes on guns actually seem a function of historical availability , historic crime rates and cultural propensity for guns.
Switzerland and United States are two extreme outlier examples on gun causing violence causal statistics.
4) Lot of old and outdated data quoted selectively.
It seems you can fudge data about guns in the following ways-
1) Use relative per capita numbers vis a vis aggregate numbers
2) Compare and contrast gun numbers with crime numbers selectively
3) Remove drill down of type of firearm- like hand guns, rifles, automatic, semi automatic
Maybe I am being simplistic-but I found it easier to list credible data sources on guns than to summarize all assumptions on guns. Are guns good or bad- i dont know -it depends? Any research you can quote is welcome.
DEFINITION: Total recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm. Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence.
SOURCE: The Eighth United Nations Survey on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (2002) (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Centre for International Crime Prevention)
Here are the some surprising results from the Bible of all Data Miners , KDNuggets.com with some interesting comments about SAS being the Microsoft of analytics.
I believe technically advanced users will probably want to try out R before going in for a commercial license from Revolution Analytics as it is free to try out. Also WPS offers a one month free preview for its software- the latest release of it competes with SAS/Stat and SAS/Access, SAS/Graph and Base SAS- so anyone having these installations on a server would be interested to atleast test it for free. Also WPS would be interested in increasing engines (like they have for Oracle and Teradata).
One very crucial difference for SAS is it’s ability to pull in data from almost all data formats- so if you are using SAS/Connect to remote submit code- then you may not be able to switch soon.
Also the more license heavy customers are not the kind of cutomers who have lots of data in their local desktops but is usually pulled and then crunched before analysed. R has recently made some strides with the RevoScaler package from Revolution Analytics but it’s effectiveness would be tested and tried in the coming months- it seems like a great step in the right direction.
For SAS, the feedback should be a call to improve their product bundling – some of which can feel like over selling at times- but they have been fighting off challenges since past 4 decades and have the pockets and intention to sustain market share battles including discounts ( for repeat customers SAS can be much cheaper than say a first time user of WPS or R)