Storing and loading modules


You can extend the capability of the SAS/IML language by writing modules. A module is a user-defined function. You can define a module by using the START and FINISH statements.

Many people, including myself, define modules at the top of the SAS/IML program in which they are used. You can do this explicitly or you can use the %INCLUDE statement.

An alternative is to store modules in a SAS catalog and to load the modules when you need to use them. As stated in the SAS/IML User's Guide:

Modules are stored in the form of their compiled code. Once modules are loaded, they do not need to be parsed again, making their use very efficient.

Storing modules

Storing a SAS/IML module requires two steps:

  1. Decide where the module will be stored.
  2. Store the module by using the STORE statement.

As an example of storing a module, consider the following module that finds the rows in a matrix for which all variables are nonmissing. This module is from my book, Statistical Programming with SAS/IML Software.

proc iml;
/* create a module to return the nonmissing rows of a matrix */
start LocNonMissingRows(x);
   r = countmiss(x, "row");     /* 9.22 function: number missing in row */
   nonMissingIdx = loc(r=0);    /* rows that do not contain missing */
   return ( nonMissingIdx );

You can store the module in any SAS library such as SASUSER or a user-defined libref. Use the RESET STORAGE statement to set the name of a storage location. (By default, the module will be stored in the WORK library, which vanishes when you exit SAS!) The following statements set up a libref stores the module in a catalog called BlogModules:

libname BlogDir "C:\Users\userid\Documents\My SAS Files\Blog";
reset storage=BlogDir.BlogModules;  /* set location for storage */
store module=LocNonMissingRows;

In PROC IML, the STORE statement stores the LocNonMissingRows module in a SAS catalog in the BlogDir library. By using the RESET STORAGE, you ensure that the module is stored to a permanent location.

Loading modules

Similarly, suppose it is a few months later and you want to use the LocNonMissingRows module in a program that you are writing. You can use the RESET STORAGE statement and a LOAD statement to load the module definition:

proc iml;
libname BlogDir "C:\Users\userid\Documents\My SAS Files\Blog";
reset storage=BlogDir.BlogModules;  /* set location for storage */
load module=LocNonMissingRows;

You can now use the module in your program to find all rows in a matrix for which no entry is a missing value:

z = {1 2, 3 ., 5 6, 7 8, . 10, 11 12};
nonMissing = LocNonMissingRows(z);
if ncol(nonMissing)>0 then
   z = z[nonMissing, ];
print z;

About Author

Rick Wicklin

Distinguished Researcher in Computational Statistics

Rick Wicklin, PhD, is a distinguished researcher in computational statistics at SAS and is a principal developer of SAS/IML software. His areas of expertise include computational statistics, simulation, statistical graphics, and modern methods in statistical data analysis. Rick is author of the books Statistical Programming with SAS/IML Software and Simulating Data with SAS.


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  2. Ability to store the modules in a library helps in a big way when addressing complex problems with SAS/IML. I would prefer to load all the Modules that I use in an IML session. Does Load Module support loading multiple modules in a single statement? (Similarly does store allows us to store multiple modules at one go?) I am trying to organize my code into files (each with a proc iml) if that helps.

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