How can you efficiently generate N random uniform points in a triangular region of the plane? There is a very cool algorithm (which I call the reflection method) that makes the process easy. I no longer remember where I saw this algorithm, but it is different from the "weighted average"

## Tag: **vectorization**

When my colleague, Robert Allison, blogged about visualizing the Mandelbrot set, I was reminded of a story from the 1980s, which was the height of the fractal craze. A research group in computational mathematics had been awarded a multimillion-dollar grant to purchase a supercomputer. When the supercomputer arrived and got

Modern statistical software provides many options for computing robust statistics. For example, SAS can compute robust univariate statistics by using PROC UNIVARIATE, robust linear regression by using PROC ROBUSTREG, and robust multivariate statistics such as robust principal component analysis. Much of the research on robust regression was conducted in the

Many statistical tests use a CUSUM statistic as part of the test. It can be confusing when a researcher refers to "the CUSUM test" without providing details about exactly which CUSUM test is being used. This article describes a CUSUM test for the randomness of a binary sequence. You start

Suppose you need to assign 100 patients equally among 3 treatment groups in a clinical study. Obviously, an equal allocation is impossible because the second number does not evenly divide the first, but you can get close by assigning 34 patients to one group and 33 to the others. Mathematically,

As a general rule, when SAS programmers want to manipulate data row by row, they reach for the SAS DATA step. When the computation requires column statistics, the SQL procedure is also useful. When both row and column operations are required, the SAS/IML language is a powerful addition to a

One way to assess the precision of a statistic (a point estimate) is to compute the standard error, which is the standard deviation of the statistic's sampling distribution. A relatively large standard error indicates that the point estimate should be viewed with skepticism, either because the sample size is small

Many intervals in statistics have the form p ± δ, where p is a point estimate and δ is the radius (or half-width) of the interval. (For example, many two-sided confidence intervals have this form, where δ is proportional to the standard error.) Many years ago I wrote an article

I recently needed to solve a fun programming problem. I challenge other SAS programmers to solve it, too! The problem is easy to state: Given a long sequence of digits, can you write a program to count how many times a particular subsequence occurs? For example, if I give you

Two of my favorite string-manipulation functions in the SAS DATA step are the COUNTW function and the SCAN function. The COUNTW function counts the number of words in a long string of text. Here "word" means a substring that is delimited by special characters, such as a space character, a