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Statistical Software Survey, by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences

This survey of products is an update of the survey published in 2005. The biennial statistical software survey in this issue provides capsule information about 44 products selected from 31 vendors. The tools range from general tools that cover the standard techniques of inference and estimation as well as specialized activities such as nonlinear regression, forecasting and design of experiments. The product information contained in the survey was obtained from product vendors and is summarized in the following tables to highlight general features, capabilities and computing requirements, and to provide contact information. Many of the vendors have extensive Web sites for further, detailed information, and many provide demo programs that can be downloaded from these sites. No attempt is made to evaluate or rank the products, and the information provided comes from the vendors themselves. The survey will be available on the Lionheart Publishing Web site (www.lionhrtpub.com). Vendors that were unable to make the publishing deadline will be added to the online survey.

Products that provide statistical add-ins available for use with spreadsheets remain common. The spreadsheet is the primary computational tool in a wide variety of settings, familiar and accessible to all. Many procedures of data summarization, estimation, inference, basic graphics and even regression modeling can be added to spreadsheets in this way. Statistical tools include PaceXL, NAG Statistical Add-in for Excel and UNISTAT. The functionality of products for use with spreadsheets continues to grow, including risk analysis and Monte Carlo sampling. Products such as Decisioneering's Crystal Ball and Palisade's @Risk extend the modeling capabilities of spreadsheets in addition to statistical analysis.

Dedicated general and special purpose statistical software generally have a wider variety and depth of analysis than available in the add-in software. For many specialized techniques such as forecasting, design of experiments and so forth, a statistical package is appropriate. Moreover, new procedures are likely to become available first in the statistical software and only later be added to the add-in software. In general, statistical software plays a distinct role on the analyst's desktop and provided that data can be freely exchanged among applications, each part of an analysis can be made with the most appropriate (or convenient) software tool.

An important feature of statistical programs was the importation of data from as many sources as possible, to eliminate the need for data entry when data is already available from another source. Most programs have the ability to read from spreadsheets and selected data storage formats. Also highly visible in this survey is the growth of data warehousing and "data mining" capabilities, programs and training. Data mining tools attempt to integrate and analyze data from a variety of sources (and purposes) to look for relations that would not be possible from the individual data sets. Within the survey we observe several specialized products, such as BESTFIT and STAT::FIT, which are more narrowly focused on distribution fitting than general statistics, but of particular use to developers of stochastic models and simulations.

URL: http://lionhrtpub.com/orms/surveys/sa/sa-survey.html

Table 1:
Software Description
Targeted Market

Table 2:
Operating Systems:
PC/Windows (95, 97, NT) - suggested min. RAM, PC/LINUX - suggested min. RAM, UNIX - suggested min. RAM, Other (specify) - suggested min. RAM

Table 3:
Import Formats, Export Formats

Table 4:
Tools
Online Help/Tutorials, EDA (Exploratory Data Analysis), Data Edit/Transformation, Graphics, Tables, Descriptive Statistics, Distribution Fitting

Table 5:
Tools (continued):
Nonparametric Statistics, Power/Sample Size Comp., Quality & Process Capability, ANOVA/GLIM, DOE (Design of Experiments), Response Surface Methods, Regression Fitting

Table 6:
Tools (continued):
Regression Selection, Logistic Regression, Nonlinear Regression, Time Series/Forecasting, Multivariate Statistics, Clustering/Classification

Table 7:
Tools (continued):
Reliability/Survival Analysis, Data/Database Management, Data Mining, CART, Resampling/Monte Carlo

Table 8:
Pricing Information: Commercial - Single Machine & Site, Educational - Single Machine & Site, Demo/Student - Single Machine & Site

Table 9:
Comments/New Features

Vendor List:
Software vendor contact information

Views: 290

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Comment by Vincent Granville on August 3, 2008 at 11:02am
Tom, this survey has been performed by some Operations Research association, not by data miners nor statisticians. Operations Research and Six Sigma people might be less familiar with the products that you mention. If you know of other surveys that mention Clementine, Cognos and even other products such as SQL Server Data Mining (the Microsoft data mining software), please feel free to publish it here.

Also, see these additional resources:

Product Reviews Group
Elder Research
Comment by Vincent Granville on July 26, 2008 at 12:42am

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