SAS blogger on statistics, big data and simplicity

Rick Wicklin, SAS

Popular SAS blogger Rick Wicklin was recently interviewed by the Brazilian statistics site, about his new book, his background in mathematics, his advice for programmers and his dedication to blogging. Wicklin's answers are conveniently translated into English on the site, so you can read these - and other gems by checking out the full interview.

Wicklin on big data:

Everyone is talking about Big Data, but I think that the fundamental principles of data analysis are relevant regardless of the data size.  With big data you have to be computationally efficient, but SAS software has always excelled at efficiency. More data is not always better data. However, for people who have to analyze massive amounts of data, SAS has developed computational techniques that scale with the number of available processors.

Wicklin on simplicity:

Simple is better. Use simple algorithms. Write simple programs. Explain yourself in simple terms.  Do not attempt something complicated until you understand the simple.

As a writer, I appreciate that last sentiment. We like to lean toward the complex in the tech industry, and many of us fall into the trap of thinking we sound smarter when we sound complex. We don't. We just sound confusing. Rick's one of the smartest people I know, but do you know why his blog is so popular? Because he's able to simply and clearly explain even some of the most complex concepts, including bivariate normal cumulative distributioninverse hyperbolic functions and Mahalanobis distance ... to name a few

If you enjoy Wicklin's interview, be sure to check out some of our SAS Loves Stats interviews next, or follow our running list of statistics coverage for the International Year of Statistics.

tags: big data, International Year of Statistics, statistics


  1. Elson Filho
    Posted July 4, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Actually it is not a Portuguese statistics site, but Brazilian.

    • Alison Bolen Alison Bolen
      Posted July 5, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the correction, Elson. I've fixed it in the post.

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