Lexical Scope and Statistical Computing
Abstract Programming environments such as S and Lisp-Stat have languages for performing computations, data storage mechanisms, and a graphical interface. These languages provide an interactive interface to data analysis that is invaluable. To take full advantage of these programming environments, statisticians must understand the differences between them. Ihaka and Gentleman introduced R, a version of S which uses a different scoping regimen. In some ways this makes R behave more like Lisp-Stat. This article discusses the concept of scoping rules and shows how lexical scope can enhance the functionality of a language.