RE: [S] Possible Statistical Enhancements to S-PLUS

Willem deWinter (
31 Mar 1998 13:29:00 0800

First of all I'd like to thank Charles for his initiative, I think he's
doing an excellent job in liaising between Mathsoft and the wider

I believe S-plus definitely needs enhancement of its suite of multivariate
methods. Though with its matrix-oriented approach and powerful graphics
S-plus is ideally suited for descriptive multivariate data analysis,
surprisingly little functionality is built in. I must note here, though,
that I haven't upgraded to version 4.0 yet, which may or may not be better

Fortunately people like Trevor Hastie and Brian Ripley made some wonderful
stuff available in their mda and MASS libraries, but I think it's time that
at least some of this gets integrated into standard S-plus. The last time I
tried to use Hastie's mda functions under Windows I failed, because the
called Fortran and Unix code. The discr() function is woefully inadequate
for descriptive work, and without Ripley's lda() I would have had to switch
to another program. Also, it would be nice to be able to go beyond the
standard PCA rotations of the data space as in projection pursuit.

Finally, I believe the spin plot in v3.3 for Windows is outdated (again v4.0
may have improved on this). For my research I'm using a custom developed,
experimental 3D data visualisation program, which allows interactive
'virtual reality' exploration of 3D data spaces and capturing of interesting
views in publication quality colour perspective 'stills'. It should be
possible to add some similar functionality to Splus.

I'm just a tinkerer, and I'd be interested in the opinion of others,
especially the real stats pros.

Willem de Winter
Dept. of Anatomy and Human Biology
University of Western Australia
From: Charles Roosen
To: s-news; Willem deWinter
Subject: [S] Possible Statistical Enhancements to S-PLUS
Date: Saturday, 28 March 1998 5:33AM

Dear S-PLUS users,

For this note I'm wearing the hat of statistical developer looking for
product ideas, as opposed to company spokesmodel.

We are at the point in the development cycle where we are assessing what new
features to add to future versions of S-PLUS. In particular, I'm taking the
lead on sorting out what new statistical functionality to add. I'll compile
replies made to me personally (, or discuss amongst

Some questions:

1) What statistical techniques which you use regularly are not available in

2) What "standard" techniques does S-PLUS need to be an even more
well-rounded basic statistics package?

3) What hot new techniques should we add to S-PLUS as part of commitment to
stay on the cutting edge of statistical computing?

4) What user-contributed functions in StatLib have you found to be of both
high value and high quality, and thus contenders for inclusion in S-PLUS?

Charlie Roosen

Charles Roosen, PhD 1700 Westlake Ave N, Suite 500
Senior Statistician Seattle, WA 98109
Data Analysis Products Division (206) 283-8802 x254
MathSoft email:

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