R-alpha: Matrix Class

Thomas Lumley thomas@biostat.washington.edu
Mon, 11 Aug 1997 18:04:28 -0700 (PDT)

On Tue, 12 Aug 1997, Ross Ihaka wrote:

> The have been a few prods to create an S-like matrix class for R.  A
> major reason for having a matrix class seems to be that people get
> bitten by the default behavior of the drop= parameter to "[".  That
> being the case does it make sense to change the semantics of "["
> rather than introducing a new class?

I think changing the semantics is preferable, in part because it fixes the
drop problem automatically, rather than requiring everyone to use a new
feature.  Creating a Matrix class would not fix the array problem for
arrays of dimension 3 or more, either.

However, a Matrix library might be a nice place to put matrix features
that not everyone needs. This helps keep the size of R down.  Libraries
that can be loaded and unloaded seem like the ideal place to put a whole
lot of things, rather than taking the S-PLUS approach of bundling gam and
trees and nlme and everything else together.  

Thomas Lumley
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