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

Senior Manager, SAS Online Communities

+Chris Hemedinger is the manager of SAS Online Communities. 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.  He also hosts the SAS Tech Talk webcasts each year from SAS Global Forum, connecting viewers with smart people from SAS R&D and the impressive work that they do.

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