George Ross Ihaka (born 1954[1]) is a New Zealand statistician who was an Associate Professor of Statistics at the University of Auckland until his retirement in 2017.[2] He is, with Robert Gentleman, one of the originators of the R programming language.[3][4][5] In 2008, Ihaka received the Pickering Medal, awarded by the Royal Society of New Zealand, for his work on R.[6]

Ross Ihaka
Ross Ihaka (5189180796).jpg
Ihaka at the 2010 New Zealand Open Source Awards
Born1954 (age 67–68)
Alma materUniversity of Auckland
University of California, Berkeley
Known forR programming language
AwardsPickering Medal (2008)
Scientific career
FieldsStatistical computing
InstitutionsUniversity of Auckland
ThesisRuaumoko (1985)


Ihaka completed his undergraduate education at the University of Auckland, and obtained his PhD in 1985 from the University of California, Berkeley. His thesis was titled Ruaumoko, after the Māori god of earthquakes, volcanoes and seasons.[7]

As of 2010, he was working on a new statistical programming language based on Lisp.[8][9] The Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland started a public lecture series in his honour in 2017.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Ihaka is of Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne and Ngati Pākehā (New Zealand European) descent.[5][11]


  1. ^ Wickham, Hadley (2014). Advanced R. New York: Chapman and Hall/CRC. p. 437. ISBN 9780429192678.
  2. ^ "Ross Ihaka retires from the Department of Statistics – The University of Auckland". Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  3. ^ Ihaka, R.; Gentleman, R. (1996). "R: A Language for Data Analysis and Graphics". Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics. 5 (3): 299–314. doi:10.2307/1390807. JSTOR 1390807.
  4. ^ Vance, Ashlee (7 January 2009). "Data Analysts Captivated by R's Power". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 January 2009.
  5. ^ a b Middleton, Juliet (9 January 2009). "Academic unfazed by rock star status". The New Zealand Herald.
  6. ^ Pickering Medal: Recipients, Royal Society of New Zealand.
  7. ^ "David's students". Department of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  8. ^ Ihaka, Ross; Temple Lang, Duncan (25 August 2008). Back to the Future: Lisp as a Base for a Statistical Computing System (PDF). Compstat 2008.
  9. ^ Ihaka, Ross (2010). R: Lessons Learned, Directions for the Future (PDF). Joint Statistical Meetings 2010, Statistical Computing Section.
  10. ^ "Ihaka Lecture Series – The University of Auckland". Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  11. ^ Ross Ihaka's Home Page, University of Auckland Department of Statistics.

External linksEdit