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Every software project has reasons for its existence and continued development. Quail extends the ANSI standard language COMMON LISP to facilitate data analysis and statistical modelling. Important extensions include a rich object-oriented statistical graphics and general interface building system, multi-way array manipulation, in addition to a suite of mathematical, probabilistic, and statistical capabilities. The primary motivation for this extension is to provide an open-ended computing research environment where quantitative researchers can freely mix symbolic and numerical computation, and rapidly prototype ideas. Fundamental to Quail's design is the close modelling of statistical concepts in software.

An overview of the Quail project is given emphasizing the integration of its design concepts.