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RSS Matters

By Rich Herrington, Research and Statistical Support Services

Exploring S-Plus 5.1 on UNIX (SOL) - Part II

In the August 1999 issue of RSS matters we provided an introduction to using S-Plus on SOL ( In this issue we continue our exploration of S-Plus on SOL.

Constructing Expressions in S-Plus

To begin our session we must invoke S-Plus after logging onto SOL. Type "Splus5" at the UNIX prompt to start the S-Plus session. You should see the following screen:

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S-Plus expressions are typed in at the ">" prompt. S-Plus will print out the results of the evaluation once the "Enter" key is pressed:
wpeA.jpg (3974 bytes)
An incomplete expression will lead to a second prompt,   "+". You can continue with your expression at the second prompt:
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If the “+” prompt continues after pressing "Enter", then enter many “)” to get the “>” prompt back again. Then start your expression once again:
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Scalars and Assignments

The assignment operator is the sequence of characters, "<" (less than) and "-" (hyphen). Assigning the variable “weight”  the value of 190 we use the following:

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Character values are inserted in quotes. If the quotes are omitted, S-Plus will look for a possibly non-existent data object called "Jim" to assign to the variable "person". The result is not printed until you enter the object name:
wpe17.jpg (2121 bytes)



The function "rnorm( )",  returns a vector of random deviates from the normal distribution The "[n]" on the left shows where the row starts:

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A single number is a vector of length 1.  We can make vectors using the concatenation function,  "c( )". Then we can assign the integers 1,2,3 to the vector x:
wpe1F.jpg (3442 bytes)
We can create a vector of names. Also we can create a vector of sequential integers using the function, "a:b", where a is the starting integer and b is the ending integer:
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Object Names

Object names may contain letters, "abcDEF", or numbers,  "0123456789", or a dot, ".". Examples of valid names: height, weight,  x.var,  .yvar,   x.y.var,  or x110. Objects names cannot use an underscore, a hyphen, begin with a number, or use reserved symbols. Examples of invalid object names: _xvar,  y_var, x-yvar,  120xvar, T, F, or NA.


Handling Objects

We can list out all of the objects in our workspace:

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Objects remain until removed, even if one quits S-Plus:
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Objects as Variables

Objects can be used in expressions:

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Vector Arithmetic

Scalar Functions work on an element-wise basis. It is also possible to perform scalar and vector arithmetic:

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Logical Vectors

Expressions with relational operators return logical vectors, "T" is True,  "F" is False:

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Missing Values

A missing value is represented by "NA". Operations on NA return NA. The function ) checks for missing values:

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Vector Indexing

S-Plus uses brackets, [ ], to select elements of a vector. Negative indices remove elements:

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Logical Indices

A logical index selects elements. Symbols for the logical operators are:  "<" (less than),   ">" (greater than),  "<=" (less than or equal to),   ">=" (greater than or equal to), " = =" (equal to),   "!" (negation operator),  "!=" (not equal to).

wpe29.jpg (5642 bytes)



You can use [ ] on the left hand side of an assignment, "<-" :

wpe2A.jpg (3828 bytes)


Next Time

Next time we will cover matrices, arrays, and lists, among other topics. Good luck with S-Plus!