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Happy 23rd Birthday R!

By February 28, 2023Blog

R is turning 23 this year on February 28/29th! R 1.0.0 was first released on February 29, 2000, implementing a dialect of the language S, which was developed at Bell Laboratories by John Chambers. Initially, R was written by Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman, who were Senior Lecturers at the Department of Statistics of the University of Auckland in Auckland, New Zealand. In addition, a large group of individuals has contributed to R by testing and sending reports. 

The CRAN (Comprehensive R Archive Network) repository has been a powerhouse for contributors to add valuable R packages to the open source ecosystem.  Currently, the CRAN package repository features 19,234 available packages!

The latest release (2022-10-31, Innocent and Trusting) is here: R-4.2.2.tar.gz, read what’s new in the latest version.

At-A-Glance Major milestones

  • 1993: Research project starts in Auckland, NZ  
  • 1995: R released as open source software
  • 1997: R core group formed
  • 1997: CRAN founded
  • 2000: R 1.0.0 released (February 29) 
  • 2003: R Foundation founded
  • 2004: First international user conference in Vienna
  • 2009: The R Journal starts publication
  • 2012: R-Ladies founded
  • 2015: R Consortium founded
  • 2016: R-Ladies Global founded, supported by R Consortium
  • 2022: The R Consortium Submissions Working Group successfully submits test submission package with a Shiny component to FDA
  • 2022: R 4.2.2 released

The R Consortium is committed to promoting and supporting the R language and community through the development of open-source software, education, and collaboration. The R Community is filled with individuals who continue to contribute and improve the language for many years to come! Here are some celebratory quotes from members of the R Community. 📣

“Some people laugh when I tell them that R’s best feature as language is its community. But I’m very serious. Especially @RLadiesGlobal has been such a positive agent of change for so many people.”

Yanina Bellini Saibene, rOpenSci Community Manager and Organizer of R Ladies Santa Rosa/ Global

“I had the pleasure of first using R in 2004 at an interesting-sounding university class that I took expecting nothing; yet we ended up writing simulations on the chaotic dynamics of the Hungarian potato market… with a very limited understanding of the underlying math and theory, but a lot of alt-tabbing and copy-pasting between the RGui and NotePad++ on Windows. A lot has changed since then in how I write (on Linux/ESS), combine (with Python), run (in non-interactive sessions), or chat about R (on GitHub, Slack, even in person), but I am still zealous about the R language, as it has been a great companion in half of my lifetime — thanks a lot to all the contributors and the related community.”

Gergely Daróczi, PhD, Co-founder, CTO of
RxStudio Inc and Organizer of Budapest Users of R Network Group

“The R language has somehow managed to evolve perfectly with my own personal growth regarding coding and Data Science: I started as a biology student doing mostly base-R statistical tests. When I got into Machine Learning and Data Science, the R packages I needed had been developed recently enough that they made my coding life so much easier (e.g. caret and lime). And particularly the development of tidy principles for coding with R (and applying them to data analysis, text analysis, modeling and visualization) has become a feature that makes working with R not only easy but also very enjoyable. Last but not least, I have always cherished the uniquely supportive and inclusive community around the R language!”

Shirin Elsinghorst, PhD, Data Scientist at CodeCentric and Organizer of MünsteR

“From my PhD notes from the year 2000. ‘R – looks like it could be useful’. Perhaps a little understated!”

Colin Gillespie, PhD, Co-Founder of Jumping Rivers Ltd and Organizer of North East Data Scientists Group

“It’s honestly mind-blowing how far R has come. When I first started using it, using open-source software for real-world analysis was almost unthinkable. Today, pharmaceutical companies are using R to get drugs approved by the FDA. R has made high-quality advanced statistics available to everyone.”

David Smith, PhD, Principal Cloud Advocate, Microsoft and R Consortium ISC Member

Join us in celebrating the 23rd birthday of R! 🎉