### About this blog

Rick Wicklin, PhD, is a distinguished researcher in computational statistics at SAS and is a principal developer of PROC IML and SAS/IML Studio. This blog focuses on statistical programming. It discusses statistical and computational algorithms, statistical graphics, simulation, efficiency, and data analysis. Rick is author of the books

*Statistical Programming with SAS/IML Software*and*Simulating Data with SAS*.

Follow @RickWicklin on Twitter.

**Do you have a SAS programming question?**Assistance is available! Ask SAS/IML questions at the SAS/IML Support Community. For other SAS issues, visit the SAS Support Communities.### Tags

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## All I really need to know about Newton's method I learned in primary school

I was eleven years old when I first saw Newton's method. No, I didn't go to a school for geniuses. I didn't even know it was Newton's method until decades later. However, in sixth grade I learned an iterative algorithm that taught me (almost) everything I need to know about […]

Post a Comment ## Trap and cap: Avoid division-by-zero and domain errors when evaluating functions

Statistical programmers often need to evaluate complicated expressions that contain square roots, logarithms, and other functions whose domain is restricted. Similarly, you might need to evaluate a rational expression in which the denominator of the expression can be zero. In these cases, it is important to avoid evaluating a function […]

Post a Comment ## The sensitivity of Newton's method to an initial guess

In my article about finding an initial guess for root-finding algorithms, I stated that Newton's root-finding method "might not converge or might converge to a root that is far away from the root that you wanted to find." A reader wanted more information about that statement. I have previously shown […]

Post a Comment ## Finding roots: Automating the search for an initial guess

A SAS programmer asked an interesting question on a SAS Support Community. The programmer had a nonlinear function with 12 parameters. He also had file that contained 4,000 lines, where each line contained values for the 12 parameters. In other words, the file specified 4,000 different functions. The programmer wanted […]

Post a Comment ## Compute the rank of a matrix in SAS

A common question from statistical programmers is how to compute the rank of a matrix in SAS. Recall that the rank of a matrix is defined as the number of linearly independent columns in the matrix. (Equivalently, the number of linearly independent rows.) This article describes how to compute the […]

Post a Comment ## Create a custom PDF and CDF in SAS

In my previous post, I showed how to approximate a cumulative density function (CDF) by evaluating only the probability density function. The technique uses the trapezoidal rule of integration to approximate the CDF from the PDF. For common probability distributions, you can use the CDF function in Base SAS to […]

Post a Comment ## An easy way to approximate a cumulative distribution function

Evaluating a cumulative distribution function (CDF) can be an expensive operation. Each time you evaluate the CDF for a continuous probability distribution, the software has to perform a numerical integration. (Recall that the CDF at a point x is the integral under the probability density function (PDF) where x is […]

Post a Comment ## Guiding numerical integration: The PEAK= option in the SAS/IML QUAD subroutine

One of the things I enjoy about blogging is that I often learn something new. Last week I wrote about how to optimize a function that is defined in terms of an integral. While developing the program in the article, I made some mistakes that generated SAS/IML error messages. By […]

Post a Comment ## Define an objective function that evaluates an integral in SAS

The SAS/IML language is used for many kinds of computations, but three important numerical tasks are integration, optimization, and root finding. Recently a SAS customer asked for help with a problem that involved all three tasks. The customer had an objective function that was defined in terms of an integral. […]

Post a Comment ## Reversing the limits of integration in SAS

In SAS software, you can use the QUAD subroutine in the SAS/IML language to evaluate definite integrals on an interval [a, b]. The integral is properly defined only for a < b, but mathematicians define the following convention, which enables you to make sense of reversing the limits of integration: […]

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