Real-world data often exhibits extreme skewness. It is not unusual to have data span many orders of magnitude. Classic examples are the distributions of incomes (impoverished and billionaires) and population sizes (small countries and populous nations). The readership of books and blog posts show a similar distribution, which is sometimes

## Tag: **Tips and Techniques**

This article is about how to use Git to share SAS programs, specifically how to share libraries of SAS IML functions. Some IML programmers might remember an earlier way to share libraries of functions: SAS/IML released "packages" in SAS 9.4m3 (2015), which enable you to create, document, share, and use

The moments of a continuous probability distribution are often used to describe the shape of the probability density function (PDF). The first four moments (if they exist) are well known because they correspond to familiar descriptive statistics: The first raw moment is the mean of a distribution. For a random

Monotonic transformations occur frequently in math and statistics. Analysts use monotonic transformations to transform variable values, with Tukey's ladder of transformations and the Box-Cox transformations being familiar examples. Monotonic distributions figure prominently in probability theory because the cumulative distribution is a monotonic increasing function. For a continuous distribution that is

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

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) = ∫

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.

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

*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:

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

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

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

*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

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.

*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

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

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

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

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 =

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

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

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

*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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

*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