Installing R

Learning R


R is a free statistical software. As you learn more about R, you will find that it is designed around a computer language capable of being easily extended for problems of interest to actuaries and other scientists. It is broadly supported by the statistics community and thus has many of the most advanced techniques already built-in. Because of the price (zer0), it is accessible to all student actuaries and professionals, regardless of where you work or play.


Introductions to R


There are many, many manuals and tutorials available to help you learn R. There is a large collection available at The R Project for Statistical Computing.

  1. There are several online manuals at The R project. In particular, the R Core Development Team has their own An Introduction to R
  2. There are several excellent books on The R project web site.
  3. I still like the older Contributed Documentation. Here are some of the shorter online manuals:
    • “The R Guide” (version 2.3) by Jason Owen)
    • “R for Beginners” by Emmanuel Paradis
  4. In the same place, you will find some "Short Documents and Reference Cards." Here are a couple of good ones:
    • “R reference card” by Jonathan Baron
    • “R reference card” by Tom Short
  5. An Introduction to R provided by Datacamp is a great way to start quickly.

Our Approach to Learning R


We will practice the “learning by doing” approach. That is, take the sample code available from the web site (with the data) and replicate the steps to learn how R functions. In this way, you will also learn statistical methods while learning the code. After some familiarity with the code, you can use the text exercises to practice the same procedures but with different datasets.


In addition to the R scripts on this site, check out our Online Tutorial that provides a quick overview of the first six chapters.



Date: 25 October 2018