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Poll: Math applications (results)
Submitted by J.W. Bizzaro; posted on Thursday, December 09, 2004 (3 comments)
Submitter Our current poll asks which math application or scripting/programming language you most frequently use (implied for analyses in bioinformatics). Of 696 respondents...

26% say they use R (
17% say they use Matlab ([link]).
12% say they use "a spreadsheet".

R is a Free/Open Source project modeled after the S language. But surprisingly, S/S-Plus, which is not Open Source, came in almost dead last with 1% of the vote.

As with S/S-Plus, Matlab has an Open Source counterpart: Octave ( But the reverse happened here, as Octave got only 2% of the vote.

It is also interesting to note that "a calculator or emulator" came in fourth, with 7% of the vote. I would think it's tricky doing genome analyses with a hand-held calculator. But, in all fairness, respondents probably didn't think we were limiting the use of these applications to bioinformatics.

The full results of the poll can be found here:

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excel with biologists
Submitted by Nobody; posted on Thursday, December 09, 2004
ask some lab biologists this same question and you'll likely find that more of them use excel/spreadsheets than R
Re: excel with biologists
Submitted by J.W. Bizzaro; posted on Friday, December 10, 2004
Submitter No arguments here with that. In fact, I bet if lab biologists were excluded from the poll, spreadsheets and calculators would drop below 5%.
Survey is biased
Submitted by Nobody; posted on Friday, December 17, 2004
This survey is clearly biased. I would be inclined to disregard the results (R 26%, MATLAB 17%). Since the survey was hosted on, a proponent of open source, the respondents are obviously more likely to come from a sample that is predisposed to favoring open source applications, such as "R".
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