Course Announcement

Message Board

“S Programming” Course Announcement for Summer 2002
STAT 5910-358 (1 credit)

Are you planning on staying in Stillwater this summer and looking for something to do?  Would you like to take a course that is taught in a “relaxed” atmosphere without collected homework and tests?  Would you like to learn how to program or improve your S-Plus and R programming skills?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, then take my S Programming course! 

This will be a “readings” course.  Students will be required to purchase the book, S Programming, by Venables and Ripley (see resources below).  We will meet once per week during the June 10 to August 2 session to discuss parts of the book.  There will be no formal lectures, but instead an outline of topics to discuss.  A laptop and data projector will be available for us to interact with S-Plus version 6 (release 2) and R version 1.4.1.  Class meetings will be limited to 2 hours. 

Below are my expectations for students taking the course:

bulletSpend 5-10 hours preparing for each class meeting.  This will involve reading the assigned pages of the book (and sometimes other sources), trying out the example S code, and preparing comments and questions.  
bulletAttend each class meeting.
bulletWrite a review of the book.   

Students taking this course will gain:

bulletAn understanding of the basics and finer details of programming in S-Plus and R (for example, students will learn how to interface C or FORTRAN compiled code with their S-Plus programs). 
bulletThe ability to incorporate S-Plus and R into future course work and research.
bulletAn enjoyable summer experience!

Student grades will be based upon class participation, attendance, and the book review.  Stop by my office for more specifics regarding the grading process.  The only prerequisite for the course is students need to be able to duplicate in S-Plus the information presented on slides 1-42 of my “Who wants to become an S-Plus user?” 10-4-01 seminar.  The seminar PowerPoint slides can be downloaded from

For more information about the book, examine these resources:

bulletA reviewer for the Journal of the American Statistical Association gave S Programming a VERY GOOD review!  See p. 353 of the March 2002 issue.  Here are the first few lines of the review:

Let me come right to the point.  If you use S at all – either through the S-Plus commercial software package or its free open software variant, R – get this book.  It is a superbly written, indispensable resource to the S language.  Whether you merely dabble in S/R (or are contemplating such dabbling) or are a seasoned veteran who uses it extensively, you will find S Programming invaluable. book listing: - The price of a new book is $59.95 (53.95 used).  Excerpts from the book are available on the web page. 
bulletVenables and Ripley’s website for the book:
bulletVenables and Ripley have a companion book, Modern Applied Statistics with S-PLUS, which contains information on specific statistical applications in S-Plus and R.  The corresponding website is
bulletS-Plus listserv
bulletR listserv

If you are interested in taking the course, please come talk to me about it before registering.  I will give you more detailed information about the course. 

© 2002 Christopher R. Bilder