Rethinking statistical software through R-Instat

African Data Initiative

IDEMS is committed to supporting the African Data Initiative. This includes through the open source development of R-Instat, a front end to the popular statistics language R, initially conceived for and developed primarily in Africa. It was instigated by African Maths Initiative (AMI) as part of their African Data Initiative (ADI) project to support data playing a transformative role in African development.

The impetus for ADI remains with our colleagues dotted around Africa most notably driven by partners in Kenya and Ghana. IDEMS offers both human and financial support to the initiative.

Tailored software for climatic analysis

The importance of R-Instat has already expanded beyond ADI and it is establishing itself as an invaluable tool for the analysis of climatic data. IDEMS has collaborated with WMO, EUMETSAT and the UK-Met office to create and expand tailored functionality within R-Instat, and train partners including international met office staff in its use. 

This work has already demonstrated the potential of R-Instat in its current form to support tailored data analytics. However it has also challenged us to go further  and lay the groundwork for future R-Instat web-components which would integrate seamlessly into online climate data management systems and web frameworks.    

A vision for the future of data analytics

Over the next few years IDEMS will be creating open R-Instat web-components related to a number of other application areas as part of upcoming projects. The vision is to integrate recent advances in data science with some statistical rigor through tailored analytic tools for specific audiences.

This vision is now of global significance and reach. IDEMS has taken the lead in pushing R-Instat towards these cutting edge developments. This has complemented the ongoing developments for ADI, opening up possibilities the ADI team could not otherwise have dreamed of, such as the potential for a future version of R-Instat on smart phones.

The recent review of R-Instat has highlighted both how useful the current version already is as well as a number of areas which would be useful to prioritise. Our response to the review is to push towards these changes with a concerted effort in 2022.