Ron Cody is giving me homework


On the SAS Dummy blog, I often receive questions that smack of homework assignments. After all, SAS programming is taught in universities (and even high schools) around the world.

So I didn't consider it unusual when I received this question recently:

Write a short DATA _NULL_ step to determine the largest integer you can store on your computer in 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 bytes.

Even the phrasing makes it clear: this is an exercise that was assigned by a professor, presumably to a student who is expected to complete the work on his own. I don't usually grace homework pleas with a public answer, but on this day I felt up for a challenge, and I decided to answer the post on my blog and perhaps embarrass the student who was too lazy to complete the exercise himself.

It was only after posting my answer that I discovered the exact question via Google Books, originating from Ron Cody's classic book, Learning SAS by Example: A Programmer's Guide.

I know that Ron includes the answers to his exercises on the book's home page on I decided to "check my work" by peeking at the answer Ron supplies, but then realized that he supplies the answers to only the odd-numbered exercises for everyone to download. Only professors can request the answers to the even-numbered problems. I suspect that the person who sent the question to me had already hit that same dead end.

Fortunately, I work at SAS and know where to look for such things "inside the fortress." I found the official answer to compare against my own. So did Ron Cody and I arrive at the same solution? I'm not telling! That is part of the SAS Press Author Code: we never reveal each other's secrets.


About Author

Chris Hemedinger

Director, SAS User Engagement

+Chris Hemedinger is the Director of SAS User Engagement, which includes our SAS Communities and SAS User Groups. Since 1993, Chris has worked for SAS as an author, a software developer, an R&D manager and a consultant. Inexplicably, Chris is still coasting on the limited fame he earned as an author of SAS For Dummies

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