R star launches fundraising appeal

08 March 2018
Hadley Wickham, leading R developer and Department of Statistics graduate
Hadley Wickham, leading R developer and Department of Statistics graduate

Leading R developer Hadley Wickham is calling on everyone who uses the statistical programming language R to donate just one dollar for every hour they have used it in the past year.

Hadley is a Department of Statistics graduate now living in the USA, where he has built a leading data science business on R. He wants users who have benefited from R, which is free and open-source, to give back.

The appeal comes as the second annual Ihaka Lecture Series begins in Auckland. It’s a series of free, livestreamed lectures that celebrate R and honour its co-founder Ross Ihaka, who recently retired from the Department of Statistics.

This year also marks the 25th birthday of R, which was created as a tool to help undergraduate students and unexpectedly became a global phenomenon.

Says Hadley, “I’m challenging all R users to give just $1 for every hour you’ve used R in the last year or, if you’re feeling more generous, for every hour you’ve ever enjoyed using it.”

Donations will support the Ihaka Lecture Series and help talented statistics students in need – “perhaps, even, the next Ross Ihaka.”

Hadley says that his life changed for good when he met R as an undergraduate at the University of Auckland.

“I had a background in programming, and I still vividly remember the feeling of “Wow! this language is weird!” when I encountered it in my first statistics class,” he recalls. “That weirdness led me to dig deeper into how R worked, and has turned into a 15-year love affair with the language.”

Now, says Hadley, he spends “40 hours a week thinking in and about R. I love the incredible energy and enthusiasm in the R community, as well as how friendly it is to newcomers.”

Read Hadley’s personal message and donate here.