SAS Studio tips for SAS Grid Manager Administrators: Where are my preferences?

In a previous blog post I explained how end users should code and use shared locations for SAS artifacts, to avoid issues in a SAS Grid Manager environment. Still, they could still fall in some sharing issues, which could have very obscure manifestations. For example, users opening SAS studio might notice that it automatically opens to the last program that they were working on in a previous session… sometimes. Other times, they may logon and find that SAS Studio opens to a blank screen. What causes SAS Studio to “sometimes” remember a previous program and other times not? And why should this matter, when all I am looking for, are my preferences?

Where are my preferences?

SAS Studio has a Preferences window that enables end users to customize several options that change the behavior of different features of the software. By default, these preferences are stored under the end-user home directory on the server where the workspace server session is running (%AppData%/SAS/SASStudio/preferences in Windows or ~/.sasstudio/preferences in UNIX). Does this sentence ring any alarm bells? With SAS Studio Enterprise Edition running in a grid environment, there is no such thing as “the server where the workspace server session is running!” One invocation of SAS Studio could run on one grid node and the next invocation of SAS Studio could run on a different grid node.  For this reason, it might happen that a preference that we just set to a custom value reverts to its default value on the next sign-in. This issue can become worse because SAS Studio follows the same approach to store code snippets, tasks, autosave files, the WEBWORK library, and more.

Until SAS Studio 3.4, the only solution to this uncertainty was to have end users’ home directories shared across all the grid nodes. SAS Studio 3.5 removes this requirement by providing administrators with a new configuration option: webdms.studioDataParentDirectory. This option specifies the location of SAS Studio preferences, snippets, my tasks, and more. The default value is blank, which means that the behavior is the same as in previous releases. An administrator can point it to any shared location to access all of this common data from any workspace server session.

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Multicollinearity and MWSUG – a beautiful match

mwsug-2016-logoI started out as a Psychology major. During my third year as an undergraduate, I was hired on as a research assistant for my advisor in her cognitive psychology lab. Through this and progressively more complicated psychological research experience, I quickly grew to love statistics. By the end of that year, I decided to declare it as a second major. My first introduction to SAS was as a fourth-year undergraduate psychology student - still new to my statistics degree curriculum and working on a large-scale meta-analysis project spanning years of data. I had never programmed before seeing my first SAS procedure. I broke down in tears, terrified at what I had gotten myself into. I toughed it out (with help from my statistics professor), finished my psychology honors thesis with top grades and went on later to use SAS in my statistics thesis for good measure.

About a year later, in 2011, that same statistics professor encouraged us to submit our work for presentation at MWSUG, sweetening the deal with a promise of extra credit if we did. I hopped on that opportunity and submitted both my psychology thesis as well as my statistics thesis that night. A couple of months later, I received an email…they accepted both of my papers and awarded me a FULL student scholarship to attend!

I have come a long way from presenting my first thesis projects (I just arrived home from my 27th conference last weekend). I have learned to love not only SAS, but the statistics behind each procedure. This year, at MWSUG 2016 in Cincinnati, OH. I will be presenting 3 projects. One project will be in ePoster format. As the chair of this section (yes, this is correct. I’ve gone from terrified student to a section chair!), I felt the need to support it with my own research as well. This project is dedicated to the common and very pesky concept of Multicollinearity.

What is Multicollinearity? Why, it is precisely the statistical phenomenon wherin there exists a perfect or exact relationship between the identified predictor variables and the interested outcome variable. Simply put, it is the existence of predictor co-dependence. Coincidently, it is quite easy to detect. You can do so with three very simple to utilize options and one procedure, such as those given in the below example:

/* Examination of the Correlation Matrix */
Proc corr data=temp;
Var hypertension aspirin hicholesterol anginachd smokingstatus obese_BMI exercise _AGE_G sex alcoholbinge; Run;
/* Multicollinearity Investigation: VIF TOL COLLIN */
Proc reg data=temp;
Model stroke = hypertension aspirin hicholesterol anginachd smokingstatus obese_BMI exercise _AGE_G sex alcoholbinge / vif tol collin;    
Run;     Quit;

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Do you need multiple graphs on a page? We have got you covered!

ProblemSolversIf you use SAS® software to create a report that contains multiple graphs, you know that each graph appears on a separate page by default. But now you want to really impress your audience by putting multiple graphs on a page. Keep reading because this blog post describes how to achieve that goal.

With newer versions of SAS, there are many different options for putting multiple graphs on a single page. This blog post details these different options based on the following ODS destinations: ODS PDF, ODS RTF, and ODS HTML destinations.

To put multiple graphs on a page (whether you are using ODS or not), the SAS/GRAPH® procedure PROC GREPLAY is typically a good option and is mentioned several times in this blog post. For detailed information about using PROC GREPLAY, see SAS Note 48183: “Using PROC GREPLAY to put multiple graphs on the same page.”

The ODS PDF Destination

The ODS PDF destination is the most commonly used ODS destination for putting multiple graphs on a single page and it also offers the most options, which are described below.


One way to put multiple graphs on a single PDF page is to use the STARTPAGE=NO option in the ODS PDF statement. Here is sample SAS code that demonstrates how to stack two SGPLOT graphs vertically on the same PDF page using the STARTPAGE=NO option in the ODS PDF statement:

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Using SAS Quality Knowledge Base Definitions in a SAS Event Stream Processing Compute Window

The SAS Quality Knowledge Base (QKB) is a collection of files which store data and logic that define data cleansing operations such as parsing, standardization, and generating match codes to facilitate fuzzy matching. Various SAS software products reference the QKB when performing data quality operations on your data. One of these products is SAS Event Stream Processing (ESP). SAS ESP enables programmers to build applications that quickly process and analyze streaming events. In this blog, we will look at combining the power of these two products – SAS ESP and the SAS QKB.

SAS Event Stream Processing (ESP) Studio can call definitions from the SAS Quality Knowledge Base (QKB) in its Compute window. The Compute window enables the transformation of input events into output events through computed manipulations of the input event stream fields. One of the computed manipulations that can be used is calling the QKB definitions by using the BlueFusion Expression Engine Language function.

Before QKB definitions can be used in ESP projects the QKB must be installed on the SAS ESP server. Also, two environment variables must be set: DFESP_QKB and DFESP_QKB_LIC. The environment variable DFESP_QKB should be set to the path where the QKB data was installed. The environment variable DFESP_QKB_LIC should be set to the path and filename that contains the license(s) for the QKB locale(s).

In this post, I will explore the example of calling the State/Province (Abbreviation) Standardization QKB definition from the English – United States locale in the ESP Compute window. The Source window is reading in events that contain US State data that may or may not be standardized in the 2-character US State abbreviation.

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How to stay informed about SAS hot fixes

SAS releases regular updates to software products in the form of hot fixes and maintenance releases. Hot fixes are SAS' timely response to customer-reported problems, as well as a way to deliver occasional security-related updates that can affect any software product.

At SAS we call them "hot fixes." Other companies might call these "updates," "patches" or (the old-timey term) "zaps." I like the term "hot fix," because it connotes 1) a timely release of code, and 2) something that you apply to an established production system (while it's running "hot").

An important part of the hot fix process is learning when there is a new fix available. Beginning this month, we now have a new SAS Hot Fix Announcements board -- on SAS Support Communities -- where you can learn about newly available fixes. If you're a SAS administrator, these notices provide more complete and detailed information about available hot fixes. And if you are a business user, it behooves you to stay informed about fixes so you can pass information on to your IT department.

Find your fixes: by e-mail, RSS feeds or search

Subscribe optionBy using the community board to host hot fix notices, we've now provided you with many options to subscribe to this content. Like any community board, you can click Subscribe and have the notifications e-mailed to you as soon as they are posted. Or you can use your favorite RSS reader to peruse the latest entries when the timing is right for you. Finally, you can use the Search field on the hot fix board to find just the fixes you need. Simply type a SAS product name, a version number, or text from a SAS Note to find the matching hot fixes. Visit this topic on the SAS Support Communities to learn more about how to pull the information you need, or to have it pushed to you automatically.

Here's a picture of the Hot Fix RSS feed in my instance of Microsoft Outlook:

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Analytics in the Cloud gets a whole lot easier with SAS Analytics for Containers

If you’re doing data processing in the cloud or using container-enabled infrastructures to deploy your software, you’ll want to learn more about SAS Analytics for Containers. This new solution puts SAS into your existing container-enabled environment – think Docker or Kubernetes – giving data scientists and analysts the ability to perform sophisticated analyses using SAS, and all from the cloud.

The product’s coming out party is the Analytics Experience 2016 conference, September 12-14, 2016 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. In advance of that event, I sat down with Product Manager Donna DeCapite to learn a little more about SAS Analytics for Containers and find out why it’s such a big deal for organizations who use containers for their applications.

Larry LaRusso: Before we get into details around the solution, and with apologies for my ignorance, let me start out with a really basic question. What are containers?

Donna DeCapite: Cloud containers are all the rage in the IT world. They’re an alternative to virtual machines.  They allow applications and any of its dependencies to be deployed and run in isolated space. Organizations will build and deploy in the container environment because it allows you to build only the necessary system libraries and functions to run a given piece of software. IT prefer it because it’s easy to replicate, and it’s faster and easier to deploy.

LL: And SAS Analytics for Containers will allow organizations to run SAS’ analytics in this environment, the containers?

DD: In short, yes. SAS Analytics for Containers provides a powerful set of data access, analysis and graphical tools to organizations within a container-based infrastructure like Docker. This takes advantage of the build once, run anywhere flexibility of the container environment, making it easier and faster to use SAS Analytics in the cloud.

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How the SAS Global Forum Presenter Mentoring Program can help would-be presenters

How the SAS Global Forum Presenter Mentoring Program can help would-be presenters

Stephanie Thompson, Datamum, Presenter Mentoring Lead

For a SAS professional, presenting at SAS Global Forum 2017 can be a very rewarding. It can enhance your conference experience, help expand the knowledge of the broader SAS community, and advance your career by putting you on display as an expert SAS professional. It can also be a little scary, especially if you’ve never presented to an audience of SAS peers, or you have, but still get nervous thinking about the process of submitting an idea, preparing your talk and presenting it live.

Luckily, your SAS Global Forum Executive Board has created an incredible resource available to help would-be presenters: the SAS Global Forum Presenter Mentoring Program. I recently sat down with Stephanie Thompson and Cindy Wilson, the mentoring program leads, to learn a little more about this awesome service and how it can help presenters feel great about their upcoming presentation.


Cindy Wilson, Eli Lilly, Presenter Mentoring International Focus

Larry LaRusso: I have an idea for a paper to submit for SAS Global Forum but I am not sure how to put this idea into a submission. Can the mentoring program help?

Cindy Wilson:  It sure can! You can get help in preparing your abstract submission through the Presenter Mentoring Program. But, that’s just the start of the service. Presenter Mentors can help with all aspects of your submission.

LL: And that means help developing an abstract concept right through putting together the final presentation?

CW: Yes. Presenter Mentors will help you develop your concept for consideration by the conference team. If your submission is accepted, they will help you right up through the conference. Help using the paper template, presentation tips, focusing your paper on conveying how you used SAS to solve your problem, and even tips for getting the most out of SAS Global Forum are all ways a Presenter Mentor can help. Read More »

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Calculate a moving average using periodic operators in SAS Visual Analytics Designer

Calculate a moving average using periodic operators in SAS Visual AnalyticsThumbAnalysts often use a simple moving average to get an idea of the trends in data. This is simply an average of a subset of time periods, and the size of the subset can differ depending on the application. The technique can be used with data based on time periods, such as sales data, expense data, telecom data, or stock market data. The average is called ‘moving’ because it is continually recomputed as more data becomes available. This type of average is also called a ‘rolling average’ or ‘running average’. In this post, I’ll share a little bit about how to use the periodic operators in SAS Visual Analytics Designer to calculate a simple moving average.

The report below, created in the designer, shows the summary of the Amount column by month. The Three-Month Moving Average column displays the average of a month and the previous two months’ Amount sums. The 3-month sum is simply divided by 3.

Calculate a moving average using periodic operators in SAS Visual Analytics

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Steps to visualize cell phone data in SAS Visual Analytics: Can you hear me now?

For many people, building something from scratch, no matter how simple or complex, is fascinating. That’s why programs similar to How’s It Made are so appealing and, for me, addicting. And thus, the inspiration for this blog; I will walk you through building a set of graphs and how to improve each visualization through my own personal iterative process. Like all forms of art, a visualization is never complete, as constant improvement, tweaking and alterations are required to accommodate the constant influx of data and the ever changing needs of our audience.

These graphs use telecom data about cell phone network service including call duration and data usage.

Example 1: Calls versus Drops

In this first example, I noticed that the data contained the number of calls and the number of dropped calls. Like most analytics, audiences are interested in the outliers. In this case, we look at the poor performing occurrence of a call being dropped. This data would prove useful if a company wanted to research poor performing cell technology either of the handset itself or of the cell towers. It could also be used to find any dead zones, where additional towers may need to be added. In this example, I decided to plot the data against the 24-hour day to determine if volume of calls impacted the number of calls dropped.

Example 1: Iteration 1
Naturally, I started with a bar chart visualization. I plotted the hours of the day (24-hour scale) on the x-axis and the number of calls and the number of dropped calls on the y-axis. At first glance, it looks like there is some variation in the number of dropped calls and the hour of the day.

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A quick way to update to SAS Studio 3.5

update_to_SASStudio_ 3.5Update-in-place supports the ability to update a SAS Deployment within a major SAS release. Updates often provide new versions of SAS products. However, when using the SAS Deployment Wizard to perform an update-in-place you cannot selectively update a machine or product. As a general rule if you want to update one product in a SAS Deployment you have to update the whole deployment. With the latest version of SAS Studio, that’s not the case.  You can now update from version 3.4 to version 3.5 of SAS Studio without updating any other part of your SAS deployment.

SAS Studio 3.5 contains some interesting new functionality:

  • A new batch submit feature.
  • The ability to create global settings for all SAS Studio users at your site.
  • A new Messages window that displays information about the programs, tasks, queries, and process flows that you run.
  • A new table of contents in results.
  • New keyboard shortcuts to add and insert code snippets.
  • Many new tasks for statistical process control, multivariate analysis, econometric analysis, and power and sample size analysis. For more information, see SAS Studio Tasks.

For my purposes, I was really interested in using the batch submit feature. Using “Batch Submit” a user can run a saved SAS program in batch mode, which means that the program will run in the background while you continue to use SAS Studio. When you run a program in batch mode, you can view the status of programs that have been submitted, and you can cancel programs that are currently running.

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