IBM Joins R Consortium to Advance the R Programming Language

In a move to advance data science in the enterprise, IBM has joined the R Consortium to better support the R programming language.

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The R Consortium, an open-source foundation to support the R programming language and its user community, today announced that IBM has joined the organization as a Platinum member, the highest level of membership available.

R is a programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics supported by the R Foundation for Statistical Computing. The R language is widely used among statisticians and data miners for developing statistical software and data analysis.

The Linux Foundation launched the R Consortium last year. The R language is used by statisticians, analysts and data scientists to unlock value from data. It is a free and open-source programming language for statistical computing and provides an interactive environment for data analysis, modeling and visualization. The R Consortium complements the work of the R Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Austria that maintains the language. The R Consortium focuses on user outreach and other projects designed to assist the R user and developer communities.

As a Platinum member of the consortium, IBM joins other Platinum members Microsoft and RStudio and is also a Platinum member of The Linux Foundation. As a Platinum member of the R Consortium, IBM will gain a seat on both the board of directors and Infrastructure Steering Committee (ISC), helping to provide support and technical guidance to the R community.

Dinesh Nirmal, vice president of development for next-generation analytics platform and big data solutions at IBM, will join the R Consortium board of directors. IBM is joining the R Consortium to help accelerate the adoption of data science in the enterprise.

"We're pleased to welcome IBM to the R Consortium," said Hadley Wickham, the R Consortium's Infrastructure Steering Committee chair, in a statement. "IBM is a longstanding contributor to open source software and has immense expertise in data analytics and computing."

Indeed, as a leader in data analytics and management, IBM has invested in software and technology—such as Hadoop, Spark and R—designed to help enterprises gain insights from data. The company has relied on R, among other data languages, to help create innovations such as its Watson cognitive computing system.

"IBM is deeply invested in open source software for computing applications like data science," said Nirmal, in a statement. "And as a long time member of The Linux Foundation, it's a natural fit for us to extend our commitment to collaborative development by joining the R Consortium. The R Consortium is the leading open source community to advance the R language for data analysis and modeling."

The R programming language is one of the most popular languages around, as the big data wave has hit enterprises large and small. Companies are looking for R programmers as the need for big data applications written in R has taken off. According to the TIOBE Index of the most popular programming languages in the world, the R language ranks among the top 20, coming in at No. 16 for the month of June. R slipped three places from the No. 13 rank it held in June of last year.

Meanwhile, the R Consortium cited an IDC study that said by 2020, an estimated 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet. However, less than 1 percent of this data is ever analyzed for meaningful applications. Data scientists, for example, spend up to 70 percent of their time integrating and organizing data before analyzing and applying it toward critical applications like weather modeling or cancer research.

Today's news furthers IBM's commitment to advance Spark as the analytics operating system for driving analytics across every business. IBM continues to partner with leading data science organizations, including Galvanize, H2O, LightBend and RStudio, to promote an integrated and unified data science ecosystem.

"Millions of data scientists and academic researchers use R language every day and want to collaborate with their peers to share visualization and analysis techniques," said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation, in a statement. "The R Consortium promotes the sharing of ideas and accelerates findings that make R even better for business, research and academic purposes."