## Tag: Getting Started

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What is an empty matrix?

At the beginning of my book Statistical Programming with SAS/IML Software I give the following programming tip (p. 25): Do not confuse an empty matrix with a matrix that contains missing values or with a zero matrix. An empty matrix has no rows and no columns. A matrix that contains

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Compute the kth smallest data value in SAS

A SAS programmer recently posted a question to the SAS/IML Support Community about how to compute the kth smallest value in a vector of numbers. In the DATA step, you can use the SMALLEST function to find the smallest value in an array, but there is no equivalent built-in function

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Elementwise minimum and maximum operators

Like most programming languages, the SAS/IML language has many functions. However, the SAS/IML language also has quite a few operators. Operators can act on a matrix or on rows or columns of a matrix. They are less intuitive, but can be quite powerful because they enable you perform computations without

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The direct product (Kronecker product) in SAS

There are many ways to multiply scalars, vectors, and matrices, but the Kronecker product (also called the direct product) is multiplication on steroids. The Kronecker product looks scary, but it is actually simple. The Kronecker product is merely a way to pack multiples of a matrix B into a block

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Compute maximum and minimum values for rows and columns in SAS

A common question on SAS discussion forums is how to compute the minimum and maximum values across several variables. It is easy to compute statistics across rows by using the DATA step. This article shows how to compute the minimum and maximum values for each observation (across variables) and, for

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Overview of new features in SAS/IML 13.1

SAS software contains a lot of features, and each release adds more.To make sure that you do not miss new features that appear in the SAS/IML language, the word cloud on the right sidebar of my blog contains numbers that relate to SAS or SAS/IML releases. For example, you can

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An efficient way to increment a matrix diagonal

I was recently asked about how to use the SAS/IML language to efficiently add a constant to every element of a matrix diagonal. Mathematically, the task is to form the matrix sum A + kI, where A is an n x n matrix, k is a scalar value, and I is the

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Choosing bins for histograms in SAS

When you create a histogram with statistical software, the software uses the data (including the sample size) to automatically choose the width and location of the histogram bins. The resulting histogram is an attempt to balance statistical considerations, such as estimating the underlying density, and "human considerations," such as choosing

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Tips for learning the SAS/IML language

A SAS customer wrote, "I have access to PROC IML through SAS OnDemand for Academics. What is the best way for me to learn to program in the SAS/IML language? How do I get started with PROC IML?" That is an excellent question, and I'm happy to offer some suggestions.

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Overview of new features in SAS/IML 12.3

Unless you diligently read the "What's New" chapter for each release of SAS software, it is easy to miss new features that appear in the language. People who have been writing SAS/IML programs for decades are sometimes surprised when I tell them about a useful new function or programming feature.

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How to generate a grid of points in SAS

In many areas of statistics, it is convenient to be able to easily construct a uniform grid of points. You can use a grid of parameter values to visualize functions and to get a rough feel for how an objective function in an optimization problem depends on the parameters. And

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Specify formats when you write vectors to a data set

Sometimes you have data in SAS/IML vectors that you need to write to a SAS data set. By default, no formats are associated with the variables that you create from SAS/IML vectors. However, some variables (notably dates, times, and datetimes) should have formats associated with the data values. You can

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An easy way to generate a vector of letters

A little-known but useful feature of SAS/IML 12.3 (which was released with SAS 9.4) is the ability to generate a vector of lowercase or uppercase letters by using the colon operator (:). Many SAS/IML programmers use the colon operator to generate a vector of sequential integers: proc iml; x =

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Tips for concatenating strings in SAS/IML

Last week, as part of an article on how spammers generate comments for blogs, I showed how to generate random messages by using the CATX function in the DATA step. In that example, the strings were scalar quantities, but you can also concatenate vectors of strings in the SAS/IML language.

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Blanks and lengths: Understanding SAS/IML character vectors

SAS programmers are probably familiar with how SAS stores a character variable in a data set, but how is a character vector stored in the SAS/IML language? Recall that a character variable is stored by using a fixed-width storage structure. In the SAS DATA step, the maximum number of characters

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Summary of new features in SAS/IML 12.1

I enjoy blogging about new functionality in the SAS/IML language because I can go into more depth and provide more complicated examples than the SAS/IML documentation. Today's article is a summary of all of my posts about features that were added to SAS/IML 12.1, which shipped in August 2012 as

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The Hilbert matrix: A vectorized construction

The Hilbert matrix is the most famous ill-conditioned matrix in numerical linear algebra. It is often used in matrix computations to illustrate problems that arise when you compute with ill-conditioned matrices. The Hilbert matrix is symmetric and positive definite, properties that are often associated with "nice" and "tame" matrices. The

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SAS/IML available to all students through SAS Analytics U

When spontaneous applause broke out during Dr. Jim Goodnight's presentation at the opening session of SAS Global Forum 2014, I was one of the people cheering the loudest. The SAS CEO had just announced free software for students and professors at universities around the world. The SAS University Edition will

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Finding elements in one vector that are not in another vector

The SAS/IML language has several functions for finding the unions, intersections, and differences between sets. In fact, two of my favorite utility functions are the UNIQUE function, which returns the unique elements in a matrix, and the SETDIF function, which returns the elements that are in one vector and not

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How to get started with SAS: Free videos for beginners

On most Mondays I blog about a function, programming technique, or resource that is useful for programmers who are getting started with SAS software. Recently I learned that my colleagues in the SAS education division have been hard at work developing a series of short videos that explain basic tasks

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Techniques for scoring a regression model in SAS

My previous post described how to use the "missing response trick" to score a regression model. As I said in that article, there are other ways to score a regression model. This article describes using the SCORE procedure, a SCORE statement, the relatively new PLM procedure, and the CODE statement.

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The missing value trick for scoring a regression model

A fundamental operation in statistical data analysis is to fit a statistical regression model on one set of data and then evaluate the model on another set of data. The act of evaluating the model on the second set of data is called scoring. One of first "tricks" that I

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Define functions with default parameter values in SAS/IML

One of my favorite new features of SAS/IML 12.1 enables you to define functions that contain default values for parameters. This is extremely useful when you want to write a function that has optional arguments. Example: Centering a data vector It is simple to specify a SAS/IML module with a

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How to vectorize time series computations

Vector languages such as SAS/IML, MATLAB, and R are powerful because they enable you to use high-level matrix operations (matrix multiplication, dot products, etc) rather than loops that perform scalar operations. In general, vectorized programs are more efficient (and therefore run faster) than programs that contain loops. For an example

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How to coerce SAS/IML vectors to matrices

Recently a SAS/IML programmer asked a question regarding how to perform matrix arithmetic when some of the data are in vectors and other are in matrices. The programmer wanted to add the following matrices: The problem was that the numbers in the first two matrices were stored in vectors. The