THE ROLE OF FREELY AVAILABLE SOFTWARE IN BRIDGING HIGH EDUCATION AND RESEARCH: THE CASE OF R
R is a freely available software http://www.r-project.org/ which is increasingly being used in a wide range of scientifc fields and adopted by many institutions as a “standard”. R is a high-level language like Matlab, Mathematica or IDL intended for scientific work and graphical representation.
R uses a basic module (currently version R 2.8.1) with a set of basic statistical applications and features. Additionally, specific packages which have been developed by research groups from several scientific fields can be downloaded http://lib.stat.cmu.edu/R/CRAN/ since they are offered freely to the rest of the scientific community.
This includes a great deal of scientific tools used in simulation and data mining in a number of fields ranging from engineering, meteorology, genetics, climate, agriculture, biology, environmental protection, linguistics to topography, to mention a few. The tools include genetic algorithms, machine learning, multiple linear regression, neural networks, self-organizing maps, cluster analysis, principal component analysis….R is an object-oriented software which runs using scripts that are quite simple to write. Besides, examples are easily available in the web for a huge number of applications.
The purpose of this poster is to communicate the experience of our research group in the use of R as a valuable tool in our doctorate program and also the adoption of R as a standard in the research projects under development. As an example, the use of R in a research project currently being carried out to develop climate change scenarios in the Basque Country is shown. In this sense, there is a continuity between high education, research and inner short-courses in the frame of the research group that can be attributed to the adoption from the begining of R as a standard. The results of this decision are highly positive and provide a great number of advantages regarding the everyday operative exchange of scientific and educational results and initiatives inside the group.