Interview with a Team Member: Frans Meerhoff

In our series Interview With A Team Member, we aim to introduce the people behind the JASP project. Today we are interviewing Frans Meerhoff, one of our software developers.


Frans Meerhoff is a software developer. He is responsible for the core development of JASP. To contact Frans, you can send him an e-mail


What is your professional background?

I studied physics at the Free University (VU) of Amsterdam and graduated in 1988. After a short period as a teacher at a secondary school, I had the opportunity to join a technical engineering company that automated numerical controlled machines (CAD/CAM). I enjoyed writing software with the use of geometrical mathematics and being able to manufacture a product felt very rewarding. Later on, I switched to a company that automated business rules. My main task was developing software drivers for several types of databases. That’s where I met Bruno Boutin, who was already lead software developer there. Now for more than two years, again we work together. This time as C++ core developers of JASP, permanently trying to improve JASP.

What is your favorite statistical test?

That is the one that I use most commonly: the ‘Descriptive Statistics’. It is easy to use and great for testing the core functionality of JASP. I think that if I was busy with some scientific research at this moment I would probably choose another one.

What is your relation to JASP?

I joined the JASP team as a C++ software developer in November 2015. As one of its core developers I’m involved with front-end development, the graphical user interface (GUI), as well as the back-end, which involves the engine of JASP that does the computations. As such, my tasks vary from keeping the dashboard nice, clean and easy to use to maintaining the communication between the interface and the JASP engine. For instance, in the latests versions I revamped the JASP module handling, which resulted in the additional modules being much better visible in the main menu. Another example of my work is the “Missing value list” that allows users to define their own missing value labels or code across all analyses.
B.T.W. A nice question would also be: “What is your relation with JASP?” I would say we’re fond of each other. JASP offers me a lot and when I ask JASP for some more (by means of enhancement request in github see issues) I usually have a good chance that JASP will fulfil my wish. 🙂

What feature of JASP do you like best?

I believe that the strong point of JASP is that it is able to present various information side-by-side. For instance, one can easily show the raw data, the input parameters, the results and the documentation (the help file) at the same time. In addition, I also like how responsive JASP is to changes in the input parameters. Writing this all to a single JASP file makes the main functionality very valuable.

What aspect of JASP would you like to see improved in a future version?

Directly visible for users would be data filtering. Less visible to the users, but very important, would be improvements in the core structure of JASP that would make it easier for the other programmers to add new modules (i.e., the GUI and the R code) to JASP. This restructure will allow us to implement new modules and analyses faster for our users.

Are you a Bayesian, a frequentist, an agnostic, a pragmatist, or perhaps something else?

I’m a pragmatist, an attitude that I adopted from being a physicist. Einstein’s description of the world is more precise, but in some cases the Newtonian framework suffices. On the other hand, I’m still young and am learning more about Bayesian statistics every day and perhaps one day I’ll turn into a “real” Bayesian.

What question would you like to answer?

Hmm.. Nice question. I want to make it a bit difficult for myself and ask: “What do you think about the future of JASP?”

What do you think about the future of JASP?

Of course, nobody can predict the future. But I’m so confident about the future of JASP. We are fortunate enough to have the means to continue our work to improve JASP for at least another five to ten years. In addition -and more importantly- we have a great team consisting of young and enthusiastic people who are trying to reach the same goal of making statistics easily and freely accessible to anyone in the world.

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