Computer Algebra in R Bridges a Gap Between Symbolic Mathematics and Data in the Teaching of Statistics and Data Science

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Abstract

The capability of R to do symbolic mathematics is enhanced by the reticulate and caracas packages. The workhorse behind these packages is the Python computer algebra library SymPy. Via reticulate, the SymPy library can be accessed from within R. This, however, requires some knowledge of SymPy, Python and reticulate. The caracas package, on the other hand, provides access to SymPy (via reticulate) but by using R syntax, and this is the main contribution of caracas. We show examples of how to use the SymPy library from R via reticulate and caracas. Using caracas, we demonstrate how mathematics and statistics can benefit from bridging computer algebra and data via R. The caracas package integrates well with Rmarkdown and Quarto, and as such supports creation of teaching material and scientific reports. As inspiration for teachers, we include ideas for small student projects.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe R Journal
Volume15
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)181-197
Number of pages17
ISSN2073-4859
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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