## Tag: Tips and Techniques

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A tip for visualizing the density function of a distribution

It isn't easy to draw the graph of a function when you don't know what the graph looks like. To draw the graph by using a computer, you need to know the domain of the function for the graph: the minimum value (xMin) and the maximum value (xMax) for plotting

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Tips for computing right-tail probabilities and quantiles

A colleague was struggling to compute a right-tail probability for a distribution. Recall that the cumulative distribution function (CDF) is defined as a left-tail probability. For a continuous random variable, X, with density function f, the CDF at the value x is     F(x) = Pr(X ≤ x) = ∫

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Test for a symmetric matrix

It is important to be able to detect whether a numerical matrix is symmetric. Some operations in linear algebra require symmetric matrices. Sometimes, you can use special algorithms to factor a symmetric matrix. In both cases, you need to test a matrix for symmetry. A symmetric matrix must be square.

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A trick to plot a time series that has missing values

A SAS programmer asked an interesting question: If data in a time series has missing values, can you plot a dashed line to indicate that the response is missing at some times? A simple way to achieve this is by overlaying two lines. The first line (the "bottom" line in

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Top 10 posts from The DO Loop in 2021

Last year, I wrote almost 100 posts for The DO Loop blog. My most popular articles were about data visualization, statistics and data analysis, and simulation and bootstrapping. If you missed any of these gems when they were first published, here are some of the most popular articles from 2021:

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On passing a list to a SAS/IML module

SAS/IML programmers often create and call user-defined modules. Recall that a module is a user-defined subroutine or function. A function returns a value; a subroutine can change one or more of its input arguments. I have written a complete guide to understanding SAS/IML modules, which contains many tips for working

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The DOLIST syntax: Specify a list of numerical values in SAS

Have you ever heard of the DOLIST syntax? You might know the syntax even if you are not familiar with the name. The DOLIST syntax is a way to specify a list of numerical values to an option in a SAS procedure. Applications include: Specify the end points for bins

Programming Tips
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Blog posts from 2020 that deserve a second look

On The DO Loop blog, I write about a diverse set of topics, including statistical data analysis, machine learning, statistical programming, data visualization, simulation, numerical analysis, and matrix computations. In a previous article, I presented some of my most popular blog posts from 2020. The most popular articles often deal

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Top posts from The DO Loop in 2020

Last year, I wrote more than 100 posts for The DO Loop blog. In previous years, the most popular articles were about SAS programming tips, statistical analysis, and data visualization. But not in 2020. In 2020, when the world was ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, the most-read articles were related

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Submatrices of matrices

Have you ever seen the "brain teaser" for children that shows a 4 x 4 grid and asks "how many squares of any size are in this grid?" To solve this problem, the reader must recognize that there are sixteen 1 x 1 squares, nine 2 x 2 squares, four 3 x 3 squares, and one 4 x 4 square.

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Top posts from The DO Loop in 2019

Last year, I wrote more than 100 posts for The DO Loop blog. The most popular articles were about SAS programming tips for data analysis, statistical analysis, and data visualization. Here are the most popular articles from 2019 in each category. SAS programming tips Create training, testing, and validation data

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Compute the first or last day of a month or year

Every year at Halloween, I post an article that shows a SAS trick that is a real treat. This article shows how to use the INTNX function to find dates that are related to a specified date. The INTNX function is a sweet treat, indeed. I previously wrote an article

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Use regular expressions to specify variable names in SAS

A common task in SAS programming is to specify a list of variables that satisfy some pattern. You can specify lists for the KEEP= or DROP= data set options, and you can use lists of variables on many SAS statements such as the VAR and MODEL statements. Although SAS has

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The essential guide to binning in SAS

Do you want to bin a numeric variable into a small number of discrete groups? This article compiles a dozen resources and examples related to binning a continuous variable. The examples show both equal-width binning and quantile binning. In addition to standard one-dimensional techniques, this article also discusses various techniques

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Write to a SAS data set from inside a SAS/IML loop

In SAS/IML programs, a common task is to write values in a matrix to a SAS data set. For some programs, the values you want to write are in a matrix and you use the CREATE FROM/APPEND FROM syntax to create the data set, as follows: proc iml; X =

Programming Tips
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Efficient evaluation of a quadratic form

A quadratic form is a second-degree polynomial that does not have any linear or constant terms. For multivariate polynomials, you can quickly evaluate a quadratic form by using the matrix expression x` A x This computation is straightforward in a matrix language such as SAS/IML. However, some computations in statistics

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Convergence in mixed models: When the estimated G matrix is not positive definite

I've previously written about how to deal with nonconvergence when fitting generalized linear regression models. Most generalized linear and mixed models use an iterative optimization process, such as maximum likelihood estimation, to fit parameters. The optimization might not converge, either because the initial guess is poor or because the model

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10 posts from 2018 that deserve a second look

Numbers don't lie, but sometimes they don't reveal the full story. Last week I wrote about the most popular articles from The DO Loop in 2018. The popular articles are inevitably about elementary topics in SAS programming or statistics because those topics have broad appeal. However, I also write about

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Top posts from The DO Loop in 2018

Last year, I wrote more than 100 posts for The DO Loop blog. Of these, the most popular articles were about data visualization, SAS programming tips, and statistical data analysis. Here are the most popular articles from 2018 in each category. Data Visualization Visualize repetition in song lyrics: In one

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5 tips for customizing legends in PROC SGPLOT in SAS

When a graph includes several markers or line styles, it is often useful to create a legend that explains the relationship between the data and the symbols, color, and line styles in the graph. The SGPLOT procedure does a good job of automatically creating and placing a legend for most

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Select ODS tables by using wildcards and regular expressions in SAS

You might know that you can use the ODS SELECT statement to display only some of the tables and graphs that are created by a SAS procedure. But did you know that you can use a WHERE clause on the ODS SELECT statement to display tables that match a pattern?

Programming Tips
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Transpose blocks to reshape data

A SAS programmer asked how to rearrange elements of a matrix. The rearrangement he wanted was rather complicated: certain blocks of data needed to move relative to other blocks, but the values within each block were to remain unchanged. It turned out that the mathematical operation he needed is called

Programming Tips
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The intersection of multiple sets

This article compares several ways to find the elements that are common to multiple sets. I test which method is the fastest in the SAS/IML language. However, all algorithms are intrinsically fast, which raises an important question: when is it worth the time and effort to optimize an algorithm? The

Programming Tips
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Linearly spaced vectors in SAS

The SAS/IML language and the MATLAB language are similar. Both provide a natural syntax for performing high-level computations on vectors and matrices, including basic linear algebra subroutines. Sometimes a SAS programmer will convert an algorithm from MATLAB into SAS/IML. Because the languages are not identical, I am sometimes asked, "what

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Plot curves for levels of two categorical variables in SAS

The SGPLOT procedure in SAS makes it easy to create graphs that overlay various groups in the data. Many statements support the GROUP= option, which specifies that the graph should overlay group information. For example, you can create side-by-side bar charts and box plots, and you can overlay multiple scatter

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The top 10 posts from The DO Loop in 2017

I wrote more than 100 posts for The DO Loop blog in 2017. The most popular articles were about SAS programming tips, statistical data analysis, and simulation and bootstrap methods. Here are the most popular articles from 2017 in each category. General SAS programming techniques INTCK and INTNX: Do you

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Visualize multivariate regression models by slicing continuous variables

Slice, slice, baby! You've got to slice, slice, baby! When you fit a regression model that has multiple explanatory variables, it is a challenge to effectively visualize the predicted values. This article describes how to visualize the regression model by slicing the explanatory variables. In SAS, you can use the

Programming Tips
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Mean imputation in SAS

Imputing missing data is the act of replacing missing data by nonmissing values. Mean imputation replaces missing data in a numerical variable by the mean value of the nonmissing values. This article shows how to perform mean imputation in SAS. It also presents three statistical drawbacks of mean imputation. How

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Principal component regression in SAS

A common question on discussion forums is how to compute a principal component regression in SAS. One reason people give for wanting to run a principal component regression is that the explanatory variables in the model are highly correlated which each other, a condition known as multicollinearity. Although principal component

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Data-driven simulation

In a large simulation study, it can be convenient to have a "control file" that contains the parameters for the study. My recent article about how to simulate multivariate normal clusters demonstrates a simple example of this technique. The simulation in that article uses an input data set that contains

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