I read in the New York Times today about an open source programming language and environment for conducting statistical analysis. R, the Software, Finds Fans in Data Analysts:
R is also the name of a popular programming language used by a growing number of data analysts inside corporations and academia. It is becoming their lingua franca partly because data mining has entered a golden age, whether being used to set ad prices, find new drugs more quickly or fine-tune financial models. Companies as diverse as Google, Pfizer, Merck, Bank of America, the InterContinental Hotels Group and Shell use it.
But R has also quickly found a following because statisticians, engineers and scientists without computer programming skills find it easy to use.
This is pretty interesting stuff on a couple of levels. One, it is a programming language created by and for statisticians and data analysts rather than programmers. The story indicates it is easier to use by non-programmers who want to do custom analysis. Two, it is an open source project begun over ten years ago that is now starting to challenge the dominance of SAS, the dominant stats package. It is a classic example of an established firm being disrupted by an upstart, innovative, technology.
The R Project web site. This might of interest to your in-house statisticians, if you have them.