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Re: cross tables in reports?

From: Stanley A. Klein
Subject: Re: cross tables in reports?
Date: Fri, 01 Nov 2002 14:42:47

Derek -

I took a look at the A+ documentation.  A+ is a variant of a language
called APL ("A Programming Language") that, IIRC, was developed by an IBM
researcher in the early 1970's.  It is focused on matrix operations and
uses a much wider variety of operators than other languages.  With the
original APL, you needed a special keyboard to be able to input all the
peculiar characters that it used.  It was a very powerful language but very
hard to read.  You had to know the meaning of all the peculiar characters.
Think obfuscated C and go a few orders of magnitude worse.  :-)

As best I could tell from a quick look, all you get with A+ is the
language.  Securities analysis involves a lot of time series, and APL/A+
would be very good for manipulating that kind of data.  I doubt that you
get a lot of programs with it, because programs for time series analysis of
securities can turn out to be big moneymakers for firms in that industry,
and they probably hold them as trade secrets.  However, if we wanted to do
all the "usual suspects" in technical analysis of securities, A+ might be a
language to go for.

On the other hand, R is a more general statistical package, similar in
capability to SAS or SPSS, with the possible exception of the user
interface.  Although it also has a language engine, there are a lot of
applications for specialized statistical analyses included in the basic
package or out there for downloading.  You can probably find an R program
downloadable from the Net for any procedure in regression analysis or
statistical inference that you can find in almost any statistics book, no
matter how arcane.

I think the big users of R, besides academics, are probably strategic
planners, market researchers, and scientific researchers, especially in the
medical and social sciences where statistics are important.  R would be
good for going through data for sales, advertising, demographics, and other
factors to develop product and sales strategies.

Stan Klein

At 12:53 PM 11/1/2002 -0700, Derek Neighbors wrote:
>Stanley A. Klein said:
>> At 06:40 AM 10/31/2002 -0500, address@hidden wrote:
>>>Can gnue reports, or any other Free database tool for that matter,
>>> create crosstables, i.e. what <spit> excel <spit> calls pivot tables,
>>> (yes i know the OOo spreadsheet has the "Data Pilot" which is
>>> OpenOffice's answer to pivot tables but it's a point-and-click
>>> interactive tool and not a database).
>> If you are talking about cross tabulations and the subsequent
>> statistical processing the package to look for is called R.  It is a GPL
>> statistical system for which you can find links on at  It
>> is a clone of a commercial language called S.  It has really heavy-duty
>> statistical capabilities, a lot of extensions into specialized
>> statistical areas, and the capability of producing graphics based on its
>> statistical analyses. The package appears to be popular among academic
>> departments of statistics, who use and contribute.
>I think the standard OLAP engine language for financials is a langaguage
>called A (im serious not being smart butt).  There is a GPL implementation
>from Morgan Stanley (the original authors) called A+.  I think the website
>is .
>> The combination of GNUe and R could make a very high powered strategic
>> planning, forecasting, and data mining capability.
>I think R is worth checking out though I would not ignore A+.

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