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Re: st: RE: Problem areas


From   James Muller <james.muller@internode.on.net>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: RE: Problem areas
Date   Sat, 27 Aug 2005 12:48:04 +1000

Just on point 6:

Jhilbe@aol.com wrote:

6. A relatively easy-to-learn programming language which can be used to program nearly any statistical procedure conceivable. Stata's ML and matrix
(Mata) capabilities are superior. I know of no other higher level statistical progamming language easier to use, or with the comprehensiveness of scope.
Got to disagree with your point about Mata. While I view Mata highly, its ease of use seems a consequence of the good manual and certain restrictions/limitations rather than innate easiness.

Very good manual indeed. No need to talk about that.

Certain restrictions. Mata looks like a restricted adaptation of C and MATLAB. Some of its easiness comes from restrictions on the functionality of each language - that is, the language itself is not as such easier but the data structures the language can represent at a standard level of ability is restricted. Of course at a higher level there is very little limitation.

I guess what I'm saying is that whether you're programming (small programs, not major projects) in C or Mata the difficulty of programming is in holding abstract structures in your head while working. If there's no chance the structure is complicated then you don't have to spend the effort worrying so much about possibility of causing unpleasant errors. This list is going to have some fun as beginners start messing with pointers.

James

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