On the number of permutations supported in SAS software

There's "big," and then there is "factorial big." If you have k items, the number of permutations is "k factorial," which is written as k!. The factorial function gets big fast. For example, the value of k! for several values of k is shown in the following table. You can […]
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How to pass parameters to a SAS program

This article show how to run a SAS program in batch mode and send parameters into the program by specifying the parameters when you run SAS from a command line interface. This technique has many uses, one of which is to split a long-running SAS computation into a series of […]
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Convert hexadecimal colors to RGB

In response to my recent post about how to use the PALETTE function in SAS/IML to generate color ramps, a reader wrote the following: The PALETTE function returns an array of hexadecimal values such as CXF03B20. For those of us who think about colors as RGB values, is there an […]
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Order variables by values of a statistic

When I create a graph of data that contains a categorical variable, I rarely want to display the categories in alphabetical order. For example, the box plot to the left is a plot of 10 standardized variables where the variables are ordered by their median value. The ordering makes it […]
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The GCD and LCM functions in SAS

My daughter's middle school math class recently reviewed how to compute the greatest common factor (GCF) and the least common multiple (LCM) of a set of integers. (The GCF is sometimes called the greatest common divisor, or GCD.) Both algorithms require factoring integers into a product of primes. While helping […]
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LISTING vs. HTML output in SAS: Confessions of an HTML convert

Last week I presented two talks at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, which has established a new Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Analysis Using SAS. While in Milwaukee, I ran into an old friend: the ODS LISTING destination. One of my presentations was a hands-on workshop titled Getting Started […]
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Determine the version of SAS software at run time

Recently I wrote about how to determine the age of your SAS release. Experienced SAS programmers know that you can programatically determine information about your SAS release by using certain automatic macro variables that SAS provides: SYSVER: contains the major and minor version of the SAS release SYSVLONG: contains the […]
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Errors that cause SAS to "freeze"... and what to do about them

Even the best programmers make mistakes. For most errors, SAS software displays the nature and location of the error, returns control to the programmer, and awaits further instructions. However, there are a handful of insidious errors that cause SAS to think that a statement or program is not finished. For […]
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How does the IF-THEN statement in SAS treat a missing value?

Every programming language has an IF-THEN statement that branches according to whether a Boolean expression is true or false. In SAS, the IF-THEN (or IF-THEN/ELSE) statement evaluates an expression and braches according to whether the expression is nonzero (true) or zero (false). The basic syntax is if numeric-expression then    do-computation; […]
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Macros and loops in the SAS/IML language

I am not a big fan of the macro language, and I try to avoid it when I write SAS/IML programs. I find that the programs with many macros are hard to read and debug. Furthermore, the SAS/IML language supports loops and indexing, so many macro constructs can be replaced […]
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