Will your favorite Game of Thrones character survive next season?

Bellagio Hotel for Analytics ExperienceFirst it was the patriarch of my favorite family. That shocking Red Wedding scene meant I could cross off several more characters I’d grown to love. When the season finale of Season 5 left me asking if we’d lost yet another one of my favorites, I wasn’t sure how much more I could take.

Of course, I’m talking about the often surprising deaths of some of our favorite characters in HBO’s wildly popular series Game of Thrones. If you’re a fan of the show you know that no one, regardless of how important they are to the storyline, is safe from an untimely demise.

Though I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to saying goodbye, it sure would be nice to know the likelihood a particular character will live or die, just so I can prepare for the heartache in advance if need be. Thankfully, Taylor Larkin, a student at the University of Alabama, thinks survival data mining can help. He plans to show us how in an e-poster he'll present at this year’s Analytics Experience conference, September 12 – 14 at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas.

Using plot points from the books the TV series is based on, along with survival data mining using the Survival node in SAS® Enterprise Miner™ 13.1, Larkin has created an analysis that estimates the probabilities popular Game of Thrones characters will survive through time. His research was inspired by the analysis and datasets created by Olin College Computer Science Professor Allen Downey and some of his students, who used Bayesian survival analysis to do something similar.

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Four ways to conduct a web search for business terms with SAS Business Data Network

SAS Business Data Network is SAS’ solution for managing glossaries of common business terms. This is part of the SAS Data Governance offering as well as bundled with Advanced versions of all SAS Data Management bundles. One thing that is important regarding Data Governance in general, and this solution in particular, is the ability to search for terms. SAS Business Data Network provides a web search that is sometimes overlooked, but can be used in different ways to help you derive meaning and context from your data. Let’s take a look.

1 – Use a URL to get to the main web page

The main URL that brings you to the SAS Business Data Network Search page is http://<host>/SASBusinessDataNetwork/search

Conduct a web search for business terms with SAS Business Data Network

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Using an alternate Quality Knowledge Base (QKB) in a DataFlux Data Management Studio data job

In DataFlux Data Management Studio, the predominate component of the SAS Data Quality bundle, the data quality nodes in a data job use definitions from something called the SAS Quality Knowledge Base (QKB). The QKB supports over 25 languages and provides a set of pre-built rules, definitions and reference data that conduct operations such as parsing, standardizing and fuzzy matching to help you cleanse your data.  The QKB comes with pre-built definitions for both customer and product data and allows for customization and addition of rules to accommodate new data types and rules specific to your business. (You can learn more about the QKB here.)

Sometimes you may want to work with an alternate QKB installation that contains different definitions within the same data job. For example, your default QKB may be the Contact Information QKB; however, in your data flow you may want to use a definition that exists in the Product Data QKB.  These data quality nodes have the BF_PATH attribute as part of their Advanced Properties enabling you to do this.
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Build your PROC TEMPLATE muscles: Using the COMPUTE AS and TRANSLATE INTO statements

ProblemSolversWhen you work out, you probably have a routine set of exercises that you do. But if you read health-and-fitness websites or talk to a personal trainer, you know that for optimal fitness, you should vary your workout routine. Not only does adding variety to your fitness regime help you prevent injuries, it also helps build muscles by working different parts of your body. For example, if you’re a runner, you could add weights or another resistance workout once or twice a week. If you are a weight lifter, you might add yoga or Pilates to your repertoire to enhance your personal fitness. In a similar way, it can be beneficial for you as a SAS programmer to vary your coding methods by trying new things.

SAS programmers very often use the TEMPLATE procedure to create style templates that use the CLASS and STYLE statements. I am going to help you bulk up your PROC TEMPLATE muscles by showing you how to use the COMPUTE AS and TRANSLATE INTO statements to alter the structure of tables via table definitions.

The COMPUTE AS statement helps you create or modify columns of data. You can use this statement to create a column from raw data (similar to what you can do with the REPORT procedure), or you can use it with an existing table template. The following example uses a PROC TEMPLATE step that illustrates the former. This example uses an existing data set (the CARS data set that is shipped in the SASHELP library) and computes an average-miles-per-gallon variable called MPG_AVG:

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About LASR Load Balancing

The Distributed SAS 9.4 LASR Analytic Server provides a massively parallel processing solution for working very quickly with huge volumes of data. LASR was built from its earliest invocations to provide for incredible scalability and growth. One of the primary criteria which drives the considerations of scalability is load management. And LASR was built with a very specific principle to deal with managing load. LASR architecture assumes maximum efficiency is achieved when each node of the cluster is identical in terms of CPU, RAM, data to process, and other ancillary processes. LASR’s approach to load management gives external forces the ability to affect performance. So let’s look at some of the considerations we should all know about.

Load management in LASR is based on the assumption that all host machines are equal – that is each host has the same number and kind of CPUs, same RAM, same OS, and same ongoing workload as all the other hosts which are participating in the cluster. So with all those things set, there is only one item left to manage LASR’s workload: distribution of the data. With everything being equal on our hosts, then we want to distribute the data equally to each of the LASR Workers so that when they’re given an analytic job to perform, each of them can do the same tasks on the same amount of data and therefore finish in the same elapsed time.

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PROC EXPAT – Expanding SAS’ global customer service

Disclaimer: before you get overly excited, PROC EXPAT is not really an actual SAS procedure. Sadly, it will not transfer or translate your code based on location. But it does represent SAS’ expansion of the Customer Contact Center, and that’s good news for our users. Here’s the story behind my made-up proc.

My mission

“Buon giorno!” “Guten Tag!” “Bonjour!” Excitement is in the air, the team buzzes. I’m not at an international airport, I’m at the new SAS office in Dublin, Ireland. I’d been given a one-month assignment to help expand operations, providing training in the Customer Contact Center across channels to deliver exceptional customer support and create an enhanced customer experience around the globe. It was such a rewarding experience!

SAS is a global company with customers in 148 countries, at more than 80,000 sites. The EXPAT Procedure is what I’ve coined my month-long adventure in Dublin, training and supporting our newly expanded Customer Contact Center team. So, what does this mean for you? It means additional customer care and expanded hours for all your inquiries and requests. Win!

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15 top Global Forum 2016 papers for SAS administrators

SAS Global ForumI look forward to SAS Global Forum each year and this past conference ranked up that as one of the best I've ever attended. This year there were so many wonderful presentations, Super Demos and workshops on the topic of administration of SAS and the underlying hardware infrastructure needed for SAS applications. Below you'll find a list of the top 15 presentations based on attendance. To review any of the papers listed below, please go to http://support.sas.com/resources/papers/proceedings16/index.html.

We hope you find these papers useful.

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Great machine learning starts with resourceful feature engineering

I recently read an article in which the winner of a Kaggle Competition was not shy about sharing his technique for winning not one, but several of the analytical competitions.

“I always use Gradient Boosting,” he said. And then added, “but the key is Feature Engineering.”

A couple days later, a friend who read the same article called and asked, “What is this Feature Engineering that he’s talking about?”

It was a timely question, as I was in the process of developing a risk model for a client, and specifically, I was working through the stage of Feature Engineering.

The act, or I should say the “art” of Feature Engineering takes time – in fact, it takes much more time than building the actual model, and because many clients desire a quick return regarding analytics, I was giving some thought to explaining the value that I perceived in the effort being put forth regarding the engineering of features from their data.

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SAS Cares: help just a tweet, post, or click away

SAS CaresIt’s no secret: here at SAS, we care about our customers. In fact, we care so much that we developed a program with that exact name: our SAS Cares program is here to help you with all things SAS!

We know you may be so awesome that you never need us, but even excellent people need help sometimes (I should know). If you find yourself in a tight SAS spot, have a burning SAS question, or even just want to write some SAS poetry, we’re here to help. Our SAS Cares program is extensive and can help you with any problem, question, or comment you’d like to share with us. We make it easy for you to connect with us, no matter what you are looking for, or what channel you are on. You can find information about all the services available from the SAS Cares Program in this blog from Maggie Miller.

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Tips for reading XML files into SAS® software

ProblemSolversXML has become one of the major standards for moving data across the Internet. Some of XML’s strengths are the abilities to better describe data and to be more extensible than any of its predecessors such as CSV. Due to the increased popularity of XML for moving data, I provide a few tips in this article that will help when you need to read XML files into SAS software.

Reading XML Files

You can read XML files into SAS using either the XML engine or the XMLV2 engine. The XML engine was the first engine that SAS created to read XML files. The XMLV2 engine includes new functionality and enhancements and is aliased to the XML92 engine in SAS® 9.2.

It is easy to read XML files using the XMLV2 engine when the XML file that you read uses the GENERIC markup type and conforms to a very rectangular definition. Here is an example of the XML file layout that is required to be read natively using the XMLV2 engine:

If the file is not in this format, the following informative error message is generated in the SAS log:

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