Coders' Corner: SAS Code Validation: L.E.T.O. Method


SAS Global Forum, with its long standing history, continues to be the hub and melting pot of brain-stimulating concoctions and eureka moments for SAS users across the globe! This year the magic continues in Las Vegas, at Caesars Palace from April 4 – 7. This series, Snapshot of the Best Papers of 2010, brings with it a tasting of some of those magical ingredients that go into making this conference such a huge success. It consists of a generous portion of insightful tidbits from our paper winners of 2010, a dash of some of the current tracks you’ll see this year, along with a sprinkling of those section descriptions.

All that, along with our users’ interactions, is what makes this conference so stimulating and flavorful through the years! Apart from the thought of appetizing food, the next thing I bet that’s likely to pique the interest of our SAS Professionals is a challenging code worth cracking. This week’s post is a delightful offering of just that, as I present Aaron Augustine’s paper SAS Code Validation: L.E.T.O. Method. It was the winning presentation under the Coders’ Corner section. This year we have Lois Levin, an independent consultant, and Peter Crawford of Crawford Software Consultancy Ltd. co-chairing this section. There are a lot of interesting topics to choose from this year. Whether it is: SAS and Excel, macro libraries, Web crawling for data, PRX genotype, SAS data on smart phones, documenting with wikis, optimizing joins without merging, creating functions with the PROTO PROC, Report and Tabulate reporting tricks, or SAS pitfalls to beware of, there’s plenty to go around the room.

While it might not be as sensational and dramatic as the Da Vinci code, Augustine’s paper offers practical ideas to tackling an analytics world where a lot of SAS code is written for ad hoc analysis. His paper prescribes the L.E.T.O method! I got in touch with Augustine,Director of Analytics Research and Development at Information Resources Inc., to further decode the L.E.T.O method for us.

VI: Why did you pick this topic: SAS® Code Validation: L.E.T.O. Method? Was there a particular business problem you were trying to solve?

AA: I was trying to outline validation tasks that were necessary for SAS programming in an ad hoc world.

VI: Is there anything you’d like to share that’s not in your paper?
AA: In retrospect, one thing I would have expanded on is that in order to be a more effective SAS coder, a user needs to understand how the code processes at more than just a high level. For example, how input buffer works when reading in data.

VI: How did you prepare for the presentation? Do you have any tips and advice for future presenters?
AA: Leave your audience with key takeaways that will allow them to immediately incorporate the knowledge into their everyday tasks.

VI: What was your experience presenting at SAS Global Forum 2010?
AA: I’ve attended several conferences and presented twice. My best advice is, you get what you put into the experience.

VI: What kinds of feedback and comments did you receive after your paper presentation? Did you submit a paper this year?
AA: The feedback was positive. I think the hand out I gave the users was something tangible to use. I didn’t submit a paper this year.

I wish him good luck and hope he comes back to visit us at the 2012 conference. You can read other papers written by Augustine on as well as check out the other paper winners of 2010. Will you be attending any presentations under Coders’ Corner this year? What’s the most important thing you are looking for in it? Drop me a line and share your thoughts! Do you like what you are reading? Then stay connected by subscribing to this series. Follow these easy steps, click on the orange Snapshot of the Best Papers of 2010 XML button in the right nav or paste this URL into your browser ( My next post will showcase the best paper under Data Mining and Text Analytics.


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Viji Iyer


  1. Thank you for your feedback Peter! Yes, it will be interesting to see what new topics are featured this year. No doubt the corridor chats make it further interesting post the presentations Have you used the Agenda Builder to plan your schedule at the conference?

  2. Good stuff, LETO
    Looking forward to all these papers in April and to hearing some of the talk that follows into the breaks and the corridor outside.

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