WUSS 2014—same event, new look and feel!

WUSS 2014 logo Do you know the way to San Jose? By now, SAS users are getting to know the way to the Western Users of SAS Software’s (WUSS) annual event on September 3-5, 2014.

Although this is the third time WUSS has been held in San Jose at The Fairmont Hotel, this year’s event will introduce a lot of changes, one of which includes the name of the event—going forward, the WUSS Conference will be called the WUSS Educational Forum and Conference. The purpose of the name change is to emphasize all of the learning opportunities there are at WUSS. Besides the name change, WUSS has more exciting changes to announce:

Keep up with WUSS 2014 through social media

WUSS is planning to grow its social media presence before, during and after the Educational Forum and Conference concludes. Before the event, look for news and updates via LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook as well as SASCommunity.org.

Approximately a month prior to the conference, LinkedIn will be hosting contests on the WUSS group. In addition, the WUSS Twitter handle will be answering any questions conference attendees have—all you have to do is tweet the question and the WUSS Twitter account will respond within minutes. Think of it as having a WUSS expert available to you 24/7 on your phone!

Do you have photography skills? You’re in luck! This year, WUSS will be holding a contest to see who can post the best picture on Instagram using the #WUSS14 tag that best depicts your WUSS experience in San Jose.

Want to join the social media conversation and win cool prizes?

An app to make life easier

A new WUSS 2014 app will be available in mid-August for download prior to the conference. The app will allow conference attendees to build a schedule by picking presentations that sound interesting to them based on the authors’ abstracts, which are available on the schedule builder. The WUSS app also can connect to social media to display tweets and Instagram photos that are posted. Download this free app to your smartphone—creating a minute-by-minute schedule will never be easier!

Let the people decide!

Instead of defining sections for presentations up front, WUSS has taken a data-driven approach to section creation this year. Presenters submit their abstract to a content area, and the conference sections are created based on the submissions. This new approach gives presenters more flexibility to submit topics of their choice. Two new sections have already been created as a result: Big Data and Professional Development. Expect these new sections to be very popular with Educational Forum and Conference attendees.

Are you bummed you missed a presentation and your peers told you how fantastic it was? WUSS will now hold encore sessions for really popular presentations. Now everybody will have a chance to see the all-star presentations!

Don’t forget about Resource Central

WUSS 2014 revamps the exhibit area and has given it a new name: Resource Central. Inside Resource Central, you will continue to see representatives from SAS and other sponsors, including Teradata, Gilead, DataCeutics, Experis, TalentMine LLC, Texas A&M and Veristat.

WUSS Theater will include SAS Super Demos as well as presentations from the sponsors, exhibitors and other speakers. The schedule will be posted on the program card, so check it out often. If you smell popcorn, the WUSS Theater is close by.

Solutions in the Round gives all attendees to participate in an exciting new discussion area. These facilitated interactive discussions will be based on topics that you the attendee will have a say in deciding. Join the discussion on our pages on LinkedIn, SASCommunity.org or Tweet your ideas to #WUSS14SITR then contribute to the discussions live at WUSS 2014.

With all this activity at WUSS2014, you may need to take a breather once or twice, so check out our WUSS Lounge area also in Resource Central.

Other news of note

Conference attendees can expect a unique presentation from keynote speaker AnnMaria De Mars to “Lean In” With SAS. Being a long time WUSS attendee, AnnMaria will provide a strong, informative presentation that will enliven the audience.

To encourage new SAS users to participate in the education forum and conference, WUSS is continuing to offer student, faculty and junior professional scholarships to ease the financial commitment of attending a conference. WUSS is also expanding the mentorship program to give students and new SAS users guidance when writing a paper and presenting. With a mentorship available, the stress of giving a presentation to other SAS professionals is greatly reduced.

The conference committee is making this year’s Education Forum and Conference the best yet! If you haven’t registered, be sure to register as soon as possible—early registration ends August 4. After that rates do go up, but you can still register online until the conference starts. On-site registration will also be available. Visit wuss.org for more information and stay-tuned on social media for live updates, including the announcement of site of our WUSS Happening Mixer!

 

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One grid to rule them all – tuning your environment for SAS Enterprise Guide

Most organizations enjoy a plethora of SAS user types—batch programmers and interactive users, power users and casual—and all variations in between. Each type of SAS user has its own needs and expectations, and it’s important that your SAS Grid Manager environment meets all their needs.

One common solution to this dilemma is to set up separate configurations based on a mix of requirements for departments, client applications and user roles. The grid options set feature in SAS 9.4 makes this task much easier. A grid options set is a convenient way to name a collection of SAS system options, grid options and required grid resources that are stored in metadata. Read More »

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Old PROC REPORT code? Let's clean it up!

Did you inherit code that was written eons ago?  Do you find old programs to copy the PROC REPORT code and then simply change the variable names for your new program?  Have you wondered what all of those options do?  Do you ever send output to the Listing destination (the Output Window) anymore?

If you said yes to any of the questions above -- clean it up!  PROC REPORT has been around forever, but it has changed and evolved over the years to facilitate the creation of nicer looking output, specifically in non-Listing ODS destinations. Read More »

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Setting up SAS Business Intelligence environments – the right way

When new SAS users get introduced to the SAS Business Intelligence software (SAS BI), along with the thrill of a wide spectrum of new and desirable functionality, almost always comes a state of confusion--if not panic.

How do we go about adapting it to our organization IT guidelines? How do we arrange and support development and production environments? How do we set up our SAS developers so they can collaborate, but not overwrite each other’s work? What the hell are SAS folders? Why do we need them and how are they different from the operating system folders and directories?

Let’s make everything straight. This post will explain the two distinct dimensions to a SAS BI environment: folder structure and software lifecycle environments. It will also provide some suggestions on how you can set up your SAS Business Intelligence environment the right way. Read More »

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Can my SAS application be grid enabled?

This blog is a continuation of an earlier blog entitled “To grid or not to grid?” In that blog, one of the reasons to say “yes to SAS Grid” is to see if you can gain some performance improvements from modifying your existing SAS processes by converting them to a distributed processing format. If improving performance of individual SAS applications is one of your reasons to implement SAS Grid Manager, please read on.

To start with, all of your existing SAS jobs can run on your new SAS Grid, but not all of your existing SAS jobs can be turned into distributed processing applications that can be run simultaneously across multiple nodes of the SAS Grid. For example, processes that rely heavily on OLAP processing do not lend themselves to parallelization. Statistical analysis tasks that need to create a matrix in memory cannot be parallelized either.

When identifying SAS applications to modify for distribution across a SAS Grid, the first thing to look for is jobs that take many hours and even days to complete. In addition to long execution times, there are several profiles of SAS applications or jobs that are good candidates for running in parallel across a SAS Grid. Read More »

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5 best practices for a world-class SAS environment

SAS administration and support can be a real challenge for some companies. It all has to do with not having the right resources and skills.

Business analysts are often charged with maintaining SAS. They know data, but they don’t have the IT skills needed to properly support SAS. IT teams face similar challenges because their experience lies in Windows, Linux and Oracle administration.

SAS administration requires specialized knowledge that typical IT teams do not have on hand. Over the last 10 years, my colleagues and I have found that SAS support requires IT skills, knowledge of the company’s data and knowledge of how that data gets applied to solve specific business problems. 

Companies that want a world-class SAS environment need to have dedicated resources who can proactively maintain SAS. With a dedicated resource, you'll be well-positioned to increase performance, minimize downtime and ultimately maximize your investment in SAS software. Read More »

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To grid or not to grid?

Let’s be honest.  When well planned, a SAS Grid Computing platform as the basis for a shared, highly available, high-performance analytics environment can pay for itself many times over. However, it is critical that your overall objectives and computing environment be well understood for you to achieve success with your SAS Grid implementation and to get the maximum benefit.

This post is the first in a series that will explore some of the best practices in setting up a high-performance, high-availability SAS analytics environment, but first let’s take time to understand what you can expect from a grid implementation: Read More »

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User group grants and awards: applicants needed!

Really!

I did a double-take last week when a conference chair told me that there’s grant money available for students, faculty and SAS junior professionals but few have applied. In one case, there were no applications submitted. We're hoping this is just a temporary glitch, a holdup resulting from too-busy schedules at the end of the academic year or too many work deadlines.

Every regional SAS users group and many of the local users groups offer grants and scholarships, and they’re excellent opportunities for professional development. The criteria, focus and programs may vary from one user group to another, but there’s one thing all user groups have in common—their enthusiasm for encouraging and developing the next generation of SAS professionals.

Applications are still being accepted for many of these awards.  So please check out the regional users group nearest you and take advantage of these opportunities today! Read More »

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PharmaSUG 2014 gives back

Charity speakers at PSUG 2014During Opening Session at this year’s Pharmaceutical SAS Users Group (PharmaSUG) conference, attendees heard from teacher Heather Poland and two of her 14 year-old students. These special guests were representatives of Perkins K-8, a San Diego middle school classroom (7th and 8th grade) that is struggling with illiteracy. Located less than a mile southeast of the conference hotel in the Logan Barrio, Perkins K-8 was selected by PharmaSUG 2014 to receive donations of money to purchase books and other classroom materials. These donations were coordinated through the Adopt-A-Classroom program. 

Funds were collected throughout the conference, and attendees that provided a minimum of $10 toward this charitable endeavor were given a colorful “Donor” ribbon. Thanks to the generosity of the record-setting number of conference attendees, over $5200 was raised to support Perkins K-8!

Charity badgeIn previous years, PharmaSUG has donated funds to support adult literacy programs in San Francisco and STEM education at a downtown Chicago high school. Next year’s PharmaSUG conference will be held May 17-20 in Orlando, Florida.

 

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Spice up SAS output with live Google maps

Google maps are one of the most versatile and widely accepted features of the modern Web, and they can spice up and bring more interaction to SAS’ intrinsic menu of visuals (dashboards, graphs, OLAP cubes etc.) that are usually served at the SAS Information Delivery Café (Portal).

I wanted something simple, more dynamic and flexible in structure and better blending with the rest of the delivered contents. SAS stored process naturally came to mind.

Before I dove into the task of incorporating live Google map into HTML output delivered via SAS Information Delivery Portal, I asked around colleagues and contacts about my chances of success and their estimates were somewhere on the scale from a definite impossible, to maybe, to 50/50 chance. It was just uncharted territory.

I did some digging, and it turned out that the struggle was not that difficult, and the result was sweet success. It turned out to be quite easy to embed live Google map into SAS output generated by a stored process, and that added a completely new dimension to the level of interaction within a SAS portal. The portal users just loved it!

Let me show you how simply and effectively to embed a live Google map into SAS-generated HTML output and deliver it to users within a SAS Information Delivery Portal. Read More »

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