R is a programming language and software for statistical computing and graphics. It is the most popular tool for statisticians and a widely used software for statistical data analysis thanks to the fact that its source code is freely available and it is fairly easy to access from installation to theoretical application.
Most of information about R can be found at R Project including the software itself and many add-on packages. These individually contributed packages serve particular statistical interests of their users. The documentation menu on the website and each packages contain extensive documentations of how-to’s. Some large packages include demos so that following the scripts in a demo makes R learning easy.
For astronomers, the R tutorial from Penn State Summer School for Astronomers will be useful. This tutorial illustrates R with astronomical data sets. Copy-and-pasting command lines will be a good starting point until data structures and programming logics become internalized. R is a fairly simple language to learn if one has a little experience in other programming languages.
A good online tutorial, providing an overview of R, is found from this link. Many user’s interest dependent tutorials available on line. Here are sample images from Taeyoung’s Tutorial (click for pdf).
Among many available textbooks, the followings provide general R usage. More books are available for specific needs.
- Modern Applied Statistics with S, 4th ed. by Venables and Ripley (R was developed from S, The book website provides exercise problems and data sets).
- Introductory Statistics with R, by Peter Daalgard.
- Data Analysis and Graphics Using R: An Example-based Approach, by J. Maindonald and J. Braun
Also, Introduction to the R Project for Statistical Computing for use at ITC (click for pdf) by D.G. Rossiter provides a short but extensive overview of R.Unfortunately, FITS reader is not available in R. We hope a skillful astronomer to contribute a FITS reader among other packages.