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RE: st: programming with stata,

From   "Rodrigo Alfaro A." <>
To   <>
Subject   RE: st: programming with stata,
Date   Mon, 5 May 2008 18:56:26 -0400

My two cents in this long discussion. 

I think that C/C+ or Fortran are "really" low-level languages, meanwhile
Ox, Octave, R, Matlab and Gauss are matrix-based packages. My experience
talking with some econometricians in the States (a non random sample) is
the following: they use matrix-based packages easy-to-use to try new
techniques (theoretical econometrics) or run simulations. However,
applied econometricians (most from labor) likes Stata very much as it is
a easy-but-strong software to manipulate data and run standard
econometrics techniques. 

Matrix-oriented packages are so easy to use that I do not see a point to
"learn" how to use them. Ox and R are sligtly different in syntax but at
the end the same stuff. C/C+ or Fortran are languages that you need to
learn at some point in your life (the sooner the better). There is a(n)
(in)famous sentence by Edward Prescott: "nothing replaces a long weekend
compiling a code in Fortran". Fortran is a very powerful language,
widely used in engeniering. Gauss was written in that language... or in
other word Fortran is its father. I guess that Matlab used to be written
in Fortran as well but since several years ago the company moves to
C/C+. The latter is the (current) father of Stata and EViews.   

Mata is a language in Stata that combines C and Fortran styles with a
unique feature. That feature is the fact that you could still have
ado-programming as your master, leaving the dirty stuff to Mata. In
addition, Mata is taking care of some parental-duties of C in Stata. 

In conclusion, get a tutorial of Matlab or Gauss and use them for quick
processes. Learn ado-prog and Mata if you wish to apply and share your
material with other people. 



-----Mensaje original-----
[] En nombre de Maarten buis
Enviado el: Lunes, 05 de Mayo de 2008 12:18 p.m.
Asunto: Re: st: programming with stata,

--- Tunga Kantarci <> wrote:
> But still, it may be hard to predict which software will be more 
> widely used in future. I don't know how the market evolves among these

> softwares but I may imagine that some languages will wear out, as 
> Fortran and now Gauss seem to be doing so.
> What would be your prediction?

If you are thinking about long term trends than my prediction is that
the future will not be what it used to be, so you will likely at some
point in the future be forced to learn a new language. That that will be
true whatever language you will choose now, either because your program
of choice adapts, as happened with Stata when it introduced Mata, or
because your program becomes obsolete. 

-- Maarten

Maarten L. Buis
Department of Social Research Methodology Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Boelelaan 1081
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands

visiting address:
Buitenveldertselaan 3 (Metropolitan), room Z434

+31 20 5986715

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