Incanter is a Clojure-based, R-like statistical computing and graphics environment for the JVM. At the core of Incanter are the Parallel Colt numerics library, a multithreaded version of Colt, and the JFreeChart charting library, as well as several other Java and Clojure libraries.
The motivation for creating Incanter is to provide a JVM-based statistical computing and graphics platform with R-like semantics and interactive-programming environment. Running on the JVM provides access to the large number of existing Java libraries for data access, data processing, and presentation. Clojure’s seamless integration with Java makes leveraging these libraries much simpler than is possible in R, and Incanter’s R-like semantics makes statistical programming much simpler than is possible in pure Java.
Motivation for a Lisp-based R-like statistical environment can be found in the paper Back to the Future: Lisp as a Base for a Statistical Computing System by Ihaka and Lang (2008). Incanter is also inspired by the now dormant Lisp-Stat (see the special volume in the Journal of Statistical Software on Lisp-Stat: Past, Present, and Future from 2005).
For a great introduction to programming in Clojure, read Clojure – Functional Programming for the JVM. by R. Mark Volkmann. For an even more extensive introduction, get one of the books on Clojure Programming Clojure by Stuart Halloway, “The Joy of Clojure” by Michael Fogus and Chris Houser, “Clojure in Action” by Amit Rathore, “Practical Clojure” by Luke VanderHart and Stuart Sierra.
Other Clojure resources
Start by visiting the Incanter website for an overview, checkout the documentation page for a listing of HOW-TOs and examples, and then download either an Incanter executable or a pre-built version of the latest build of Incanter, which includes all the necessary dependencies, and unpack the file (if you would like to build it from source, read Building Incanter).
Start the Clojure REPL (aka the shell) by double-clicking on the downloaded executable or, if you downloaded the pre-built distribution, running one of the scripts in the Incanter directory:
script\repl.bat on Windows. NOTE: The lein repl task uses Clojure 1.1, and Incanter 1.2.x requires Clojure 1.2, so use the repl script instead of lein.
From the Clojure REPL, load the Incanter libraries:
user=> (use '(incanter core stats charts))
Try an example: sample 1,000 values from a standard-normal distribution and view a histogram:
user=> (view (histogram (sample-normal 1000)))
Try another simple example, a plot of the sine function over the range -10 to 10:
user=> (view (function-plot sin -10 10))
The online documentation for most Incanter functions contain usage examples. The documentation can be viewed using Clojure’s
doc function. For example, to view the documentation and usage examples for the
linear-model function, call
(doc linear-model) from the Clojure shell. Use
(find-doc "search term") to search the online documentation from the Clojure shell. The API documentation can also be found at http://liebke.github.com/incanter.
More Incanter examples
The following documentation covers the Incanter and Clojure APIs and the APIs of the underlying java libraries.
Related API documentation
1. Clone the repository with git:
git clone git://github.com/liebke/incanter.git
2. Install Leiningen
a. Download the lein script:
(use lein.bat on Windows)
b. Place it on your path and chmod it to be executable:
chmod +x lein
3. From the incanter directory, download the necessary dependencies:
4. Start a REPL:
script\repl.bat, or start a Swank server:
script/installuses Leiningen to build all the modules and install them in your local ~/.m2 repository.