In 2023, I wrote 90 articles for The DO Loop blog. My most popular articles were about SAS programming, data visualization, and statistics. In addition, several "general interest" articles were popular, including my article for Pi Day and an article about AI chatbots. If you missed any of these articles, here is the "Reader's Choice Awards" for some of the most popular articles from 2023!
I sometimes write articles that are accessible to a wide audience. Of these, the following were very popular:
- The FizzBuzz algorithm: What is the FizzBuzz algorithm, and why is it a good interview question for assessing the skills of a SAS programmer? It is a good question because how a candidate answers the question gives insight into whether she is a novice, intermediate, or senior-level SAS programmer.
- AI Chatbots: The past year generated many stories about AI chatbots and whether they will replace human jobs, including programming jobs. How good is a chatbot (in May, 2023) at writing an elementary SAS program? Not very good. I don't think SAS programmers will be replaced by AI in the near future.
- How did Newton approximate pi?: Isaac Newton calculated 16 digits of π by hand way back in 1666! The computation combines geometry, infinite series, integration, and a lot of tedious computations. By using a short SAS program and modern computer methods, you can perform Newton's computation without any tedious computations.
In addition to the FizzBuzz article in the previous section, the following articles discuss SAS programming techniques:
- The PUTLOG statement: Did you know that the SAS DATA step supports the PUTLOG statement, which displays colored messages in the log for messages that start with the keywords "NOTE:", "WARNING:", or "ERROR"? This is convenient way to write messages to the log from the DATA step.
- Unicode symbols in table headers: SAS programmers often want to add Unicode symbols to graphs and tables. You can use the ODS ESCAPECHAR statement to define an escape character that enables you to embed superscripts, subscripts, symbols, and formatting instructions into text strings.
- 10 tips for creating effective statistical graphics: I have created many advanced graphics and visualizations in SAS. This article lists 10 of my favorite tips for creating effective statistical graphics.
- Tips for creating colorblind-safe graphs: You can read four tips for ensuring that your graphs are usable by people with color-vision deficiencies (often called "colorblindness").
Statistics and data analysis
- Visualize Spearman rank correlations: The Spearman correlation uses ranks, not raw values, to measure the association between two continuous data variables. You can use a scatter plot to graph the relationship between the ranks, which visualizes the Spearman correlation coefficient.
- How to interpret the Spearman or Kendall correlation coefficient: Some fields have conventions about how to classify a Pearson correlation as "weak", "moderate", or "strong". It turns out that there is a relationship between Pearson correlation and the rank-based correlations proposed by Spearman and Kendall. If you understand the relationship, you can interpret the Spearman and Kendal correlation estimates as "weak", "moderate", or "strong".
- Partial correlation, confounders, and Simpson's paradox: A partial correlation enables you to "control for" the effect of confounding variables in a study. An unidentified confounding variable can lead to counterintuitive results, famously known as Simpson's paradox.
Did you make a New Year's resolution to learn something new this year? You can get started by reading these 10 popular articles from 2023!