The partition problem has many variations, but recently I encountered it as an interactive puzzle on a computer. (Try a similar game yourself!) The player is presented with an old-fashioned pan-balance scale and a set of objects of different weights. The challenge is to divide (or partition) the objects into

## Tag: **Efficiency**

Many programmers are familiar with "short-circuit" evaluation in an IF-THEN statement. Short circuit means that a program does not evaluate the remainder of a logical expression if the value of the expression is already logically determined. The SAS DATA step supports short-circuiting for simple logical expressions in IF-THEN statements and

In SAS/IML programs, a common task is to write values in a matrix to a SAS data set. For some programs, the values you want to write are in a matrix and you use the CREATE FROM/APPEND FROM syntax to create the data set, as follows: proc iml; X =

This article compares several ways to find the elements that are common to multiple sets. I test which method is the fastest in the SAS/IML language. However, all algorithms are intrinsically fast, which raises an important question: when is it worth the time and effort to optimize an algorithm? The

A radial basis function is a scalar function that depends on the distance to some point, called the center point, c. One popular radial basis function is the Gaussian kernel φ(x; c) = exp(-||x – c||2 / (2 σ2)), which uses the squared distance from a vector x to the

When you implement a statistical algorithm in a vector-matrix language such as SAS/IML, R, or MATLAB, you should measure the performance of your implementation, which means that you should time how long a program takes to analyze data of varying sizes and characteristics. There are some general tips that can

As my colleague Margaret Crevar recently wrote, it is useful to know how long SAS programs take to run. Margaret and others have written about how to use the SAS FULLSTIMER option to monitor the performance of the SAS system. In fact, SAS distributes a macro that enables you to

Imagine that you have one million rows of numerical data and you want to determine if a particular "target" value occurs. How might you find where the value occurs? For univariate data, this is an easy problem. In the SAS DATA step you can use a WHERE clause or a

Evaluating a cumulative distribution function (CDF) can be an expensive operation. Each time you evaluate the CDF for a continuous probability distribution, the software has to perform a numerical integration. (Recall that the CDF at a point x is the integral under the probability density function (PDF) where x is

Friends have to look out for each other. Sometimes this can be slightly embarrassing. At lunch you might need to tell a friend that he has some tomato sauce on his chin. Or that she has a little spinach stuck between her teeth. Or you might need to tell your