The American Statistical Association recently created a new, bi-annual award to to recognize an individual or team for innovation in computing, software, or graphics that has had a great impact on statistical practice or research. The committee has just announced the winner (or in this, joint winners) of the first award: Robert Gentleman and Ross Ihaka, for their work in initiating the R Project for Statistical Computing.
It really can't be overstated how well-deserved this award is. No other project has made world-class software available to so many people while also by encouraging so many to participate in advancing the art and science of statistical computing through the medium of an open-source project. While many, many people have made significant contributions to the R project over the years, it's undeniable that Robert and Ross were the ones that got it all started. Congratulations, R&R!
(For more information about the history of the R project, this New York Times article from 2009 is a great resource. You can also read a profile of Ross Ihaka in the New Zealand Herald. Disclosure: Robert Gentleman recently joined the board of REvolution Computing.)
ASA Sections on Statistical Computing and Statistical Graphics: Statistical Computing and Graphics Award