Choosing bins for histograms in SAS

When you create a histogram with statistical software, the software uses the data (including the sample size) to automatically choose the width and location of the histogram bins. The resulting histogram is an attempt to balance statistical considerations, such as estimating the underlying density, and "human considerations," such as choosing […]
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Ten tips for learning the SAS/IML language

A SAS customer wrote, "Now that I have access to PROC IML through the free SAS University Edition, what is the best way for me to learn to program in the SAS/IML language? How do I get started with PROC IML?" That is an excellent question, and I'm happy to […]
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Overview of new features in SAS/IML 12.3

Unless you diligently read the "What's New" chapter for each release of SAS software, it is easy to miss new features that appear in the language. People who have been writing SAS/IML programs for decades are sometimes surprised when I tell them about a useful new function or programming feature. […]
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How to generate a grid of points in SAS

In many areas of statistics, it is convenient to be able to easily construct a uniform grid of points. You can use a grid of parameter values to visualize functions and to get a rough feel for how an objective function in an optimization problem depends on the parameters. And […]
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Specify formats when you write vectors to a data set

Sometimes you have data in SAS/IML vectors that you need to write to a SAS data set. By default, no formats are associated with the variables that you create from SAS/IML vectors. However, some variables (notably dates, times, and datetimes) should have formats associated with the data values. You can […]
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An easy way to generate a vector of letters

A little-known but useful feature of SAS/IML 12.3 (which was released with SAS 9.4) is the ability to generate a vector of lowercase or uppercase letters by using the colon operator (:). Many SAS/IML programmers use the colon operator to generate a vector of sequential integers: proc iml; x = […]
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Tips for concatenating strings in SAS/IML

Last week, as part of an article on how spammers generate comments for blogs, I showed how to generate random messages by using the CATX function in the DATA step. In that example, the strings were scalar quantities, but you can also concatenate vectors of strings in the SAS/IML language. […]
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Blanks and lengths: Understanding SAS/IML character vectors

SAS programmers are probably familiar with how SAS stores a character variable in a data set, but how is a character vector stored in the SAS/IML language? Recall that a character variable is stored by using a fixed-width storage structure. In the SAS DATA step, the maximum number of characters […]
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Summary of new features in SAS/IML 12.1

I enjoy blogging about new functionality in the SAS/IML language because I can go into more depth and provide more complicated examples than the SAS/IML documentation. Today's article is a summary of all of my posts about features that were added to SAS/IML 12.1, which shipped in August 2012 as […]
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The Hilbert matrix: A vectorized construction

The Hilbert matrix is the most famous ill-conditioned matrix in numerical linear algebra. It is often used in matrix computations to illustrate problems that arise when you compute with ill-conditioned matrices. The Hilbert matrix is symmetric and positive definite, properties that are often associated with "nice" and "tame" matrices. The […]
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