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Introduction to R

From Wikipedia:

R is a programming language and free software environment for statistical computing and graphics supported by the R Foundation for Statistical Computing. The R language is widely used among statisticians and data miners for developing statistical software and data analysis. Polls, data mining surveys, and studies of scholarly literature databases show substantial increases in popularity; as of September 2020, R ranks 9th in the TIOBE index, a measure of popularity of programming languages.

Installing the programming environment

R is available as a free software project, available under the Free Software Foundation GNU General Public License.  It is available on Windows, MacOS, and is available or can be complied for many Unix/Linux platforms.

The base packages of R, as downloaded and installed in the link below, is a command line interface (CLI) based programming environment.  Most users of R will also install R Studio (see the other tab) which provides an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for R.

R may be downloaded here.


While installing R does not require Administrative Privileges on your system, if you have an OCIO managed computer, you may find it more convenient to install both R and RStudio using the Software Center.  See the "Installing R Studio" tab for more details.

Note:  RStudio must be installed separately from R

R Studio comes in a couple different flavors:  Desktop and Server.  Desktop versions run on a PC (Windows, Macintosh, or Linux) and Server versions run on a server - the user connects to the server using a web browser.  Both Desktop and Server versions come in the Open Source and Professional versions.  The Open Source versions are free, but do not include professional support.  Pro versions include a commercial license, which includes support from R Studio. Typically, for personal use, the Open Source Desktop version is used.


RStudio may be downloaded here.


RStudio requires administrative privileges to install. On an OCIO managed PC, this requirement can be avoided by installing RStudio via the Software Center instead of downloading and installing manually.  Here are some instructions on how to do this:

  1. In the Start menu, type “Software Center” and run the OSU Software Center application
  2. If you are also installing R, find the “R for Windows” item in the list, click it, and then click the Install button
  3. Go back to the list of Applications
  4. Find the “RStudio” item in the list, click it, and then click the Install button

Note:  R must be installed separately from R Studio. 

Where to find R

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