Will Hurricane Matthew follow in its predecessors' footsteps?

Like many words, if you just say "Cat 5" different people might think you're talking about different things. Computer geeks might assume you're talking about category 5 network cabling. But around this time of the year, most people in the southeast US will probably assume you're talking about a category 5 hurricane ... and that's the topic of my blog post ...

Before we get started, here are a couple of hurricane-related photos to get you into the right mindset. These photos are both provided by my blog editor Maggie, from the last NC hurricane she covered as a news reporter. The first one is a picture of a brave (or is that crazy?) NBC reporter, and the second one shows how some of our coastal locals feel about hurricanes.



This past weekend, while I was at Lake James enjoying great weather and racing dragon boats, Hurricane Matthew grew to a category 5 storm, which means its winds were 157 mph or higher. It is still located south of Cuba, but is forecast to probably start heading north, and could affect many states in the southeastern US (including North Carolina). Read More »

Post a Comment

Looking after your digital self

digitalselfJared Cohen, President of Jigsaw, formerly Google Ideas, and Chief Advisor to Alphabet Executive Chairman (former Google CEO) Eric Schmidt, presented a very interesting keynote at Analytics Experience this month. In it he mentioned the idea of a ‘digital self’. He explained most people have not one but numerous digital selves out in the Ethernet and they should start taking their digital selves just as seriously as their physical one. Your digital selves expose themselves to many more people than your physical one could ever do and their presence is longer lasting!

So what is a digital self? Well, it is your presence on the web, on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, to name but a few. Quite often these take on many different personalities – one for work, one for your friends, one for your family, perhaps even one for your alter ego! The point is that they are all out there, and you need to take care of them, to make your digital presence a powerful, professional, and authoritative one. Read More »

Post a Comment

CIMB Data Science Challenge

datachallenge4Similar to hunting for Mewtwo (Pokémon), identifying and recruiting talented data scientists is just as elusive. CIMB decided that the best way would be to bring budding data scientist together for a challenge.

This will provide candidates the opportunity to win cash prizes along with potential employment with CIMB’s Decision Management division. There was a prize fund of RM30,000 up for grabs with the top 6 teams taking home a cash prize. The winning team would walk away with RM12,000.

The Challenge

It was felt that the challenge should be based on an actual problems CIMB wants to address. Therefore, the problem statement issued to the participants is as follows:

“CIMB wants to improve cross-sell take-up of its main consumer banking products by identifying the most relevant product to cross-sell to each of its existing customers. This is to enable CIMB to run targeted marketing campaigns, offering relevant products to each customer, deepen banking relationship and share of wallet.” Read More »

Post a Comment

SAS & bugs & rock & roll

SAS Programming Professionals,

SAS & bugs & rock & roll? But, of course!


Because of its amazing versatility, SAS is indisputably the greatest software package currently in use anywhere within the Milky Way Galaxy.  Can SAS input every type of flat file imaginable?  Yes!  Can SAS read and write to relational database management systems?  Yea!  Can SAS perform predictive analysis?  Yup!  Can SAS facilitate end-user analysis of data via web-based GUI’s?  Uh-huh!  Can SAS be used to Extract?  Of course!  Can SAS be used to Transform?  Affirmative!  Can SAS be used to Load?  Well, duh!  Can SAS help you to lose weight?  Aw c’mon; let’s not be silly here!

Given that SAS is so powerful and that you want to either learn it or to learn more about it, here are a few helpful resources:

  • Learning SAS – You can either learn SAS from scratch or learn something new about SAS from SAS Education. They offer dozens of classes in various formats that range from classroom lectures/exercises at SAS training facilities to e-learning classes that you can take from the privacy of your own office.  There is likely a SAS class just waiting for your own particular needs.

Read More »

Post a Comment

A statistical crossword puzzle to exercise your brain

I recently read a very interesting article describing how analytics is being used to detect cheating/copying/re-use in crossword puzzle creation, in some of the major news publications. This inspired me to try my hand at creating a totally new & unique crossword puzzle ... of course using SAS software! :)

My grandmother was a retired English teacher, and she loved to go through the local newspaper and mark all the incorrect spelling and grammar with a red pen, and then solve the crossword puzzle. But I was never much into crossword puzzles - I think I might have tried one or two when I was young, and never completely solved them. My complaint (or 'excuse') was that they used obscure words that I'd never heard of, and their clues were sometimes nonsensical.

So I decided to create a crossword puzzle using words that people familiar with statistics & analytics could relate to, and provide clues that were a bit more on-point (or at least hopefully clever). Read More »

Post a Comment

Free training course: SAS Programming for R Users

Are you ready to broaden your programming skills to land a new job or be a more versatile programmer at your current job? Then this new (and free!) course might be for you.

SAS Programming for R Users is a free course developed to allow you to easily transfer your programming skills from R to SAS. The goal is for you to be comfortable accomplishing both common and specialized tasks in SAS by the end of the course.

I recently had the chance to talk to one of the course developers, Jordan Bakerman. He’s juggling an internship at SAS and working on his PhD in statistics from N.C. State University. He’s a whiz at both SAS and R – which is why he played a big part in helping SAS develop this course. Read More »

Post a Comment

What's your favorite function in SAS?

programmingLast time I checked, there are well over 500 functions and call routines in SAS.  I’ve taught SAS programming courses for 15 years, and I’ll admit that occasionally my students will ask me about a particular function that I have honestly never heard of.  I remember the first time this happened, a student told me he thought the SPEDIS function was the greatest thing in SAS.  As a new instructor, I was a bit embarrassed I had never heard of the SPEDIS function, so at a break I asked the other three local instructors, who probably had a combined 50+ years of SAS experience.  I felt a little better when none of them had heard of it either!

With so many functions available, it is easy for a new programmer to get overwhelmed.  I was asked to consolidate the LONG list into a more accessible list of favorites.  After putting the request out to my fellow instructors world-wide, these are our collective favorites: Read More »

Post a Comment

Learn not one, not two, but four languages in SAS

charu_chefI started young. Since I was 9 years old, I’ve always loved cooking delicious, tasty and healthy food, and feeding friends and family. My aunt still remembers the delicious chocolate soufflé that trembled and shook but would never collapse that I made for them when I was 18! Word spread. Ahem! And now friends and others are starting to request my catered food.

I like to keep a few but excellent tools in my kitchen drawer. After all, a gourmet chef has to own her tools and needs to know how to use them -- and for what occasion. Just a few examples:

  • I like to use a simple peeler for potato peeling
  • A julienne for pretty vegetable spirals
  • A sharp knife for slicing mangoes
  • A dull knife for peeling fruit

Does all this food talk make you hungry? It actually has a direct relationship with SAS programmers.

The vast majority of SAS coders are worldly and savvy when it comes to picking the right tool for the task at hand. Read More »

Post a Comment

Free eBook: Discovering data science with SAS

data-science-ebooksData science may be a difficult term to define, but data scientists are definitely in great demand!

Wayne Thompson, Senior Product Manager at SAS, defines data science as a broad field that entails applying domain knowledge and machine learning to extract insights from complex and often dark data. To further help define data science, we have carefully selected a collection of chapters from SAS Press books that introduce and provide context to the various areas of data science, including their use and limitations.

Discovering Data Science with SAS® is a collection of carefully selected chapters from SAS Press books that introduce and provide context to the various areas of data science, including their use and limitations.

Topics covered illustrate the power of SAS solutions that are available as tools for data science, highlighting a variety of domains including data analysis planning, data wrangling and visualization, time series, neural networks, text analytics, decision trees, and more.

And after reading if you are inspired to write a book we’d love to hear from you – just send us a brief outline – that’s all it takes to get started!

Post a Comment

Where did that gasoline pipeline break?

Last week, one of the major pipelines supplying gasoline to the eastern US broke. Do you know where the break is, and which states will be having shortages? Me neither! ... So, of course, I created a SAS map to help...


First I read up about the spill on various news sites. It appears this was a 36 inch underground pipeline owned by the Colonial Pipeline Company, that supplied 1.3 million barrels of gasoline a day. The break is in a rural area southwest of Birmingham, Alabama. For some of the states supplied by this pipeline, there are not a lot of other options for getting gasoline.

I did a bit of web searching, and found a shapefile for "Petroleum Product Pipelines". I downloaded and extracted the zip file, and then used Proc MapImport to convert it into a SAS dataset. The dataset contained lat/long coordinates along the various pipelines, and from there it was simply a matter of coming up with a bit of clever SAS code to annotate the pipeline data on a US map.

Here's what I came up with:


Is your state supplied by this pipeline? Are you seeing shortages yet? How long do you think it will take to repair the pipeline?


Post a Comment