Tag: Tips and Techniques

Learn SAS
Rick Wicklin 0
Oh, those pesky temporary variables!

The SAS/IML language secretly creates temporary variables. Most of the time programmers aren't even aware that the language does this. However, there is one situation where if you don't think carefully about temporary variables, your program will silently produce an error. And as every programmer knows, silent wrong numbers are

Rick Wicklin 0
Remove or keep: Which is faster?

In a recent article on efficient simulation from a truncated distribution, I wrote some SAS/IML code that used the LOC function to find and exclude observations that satisfy some criterion. Some readers came up with an alternative algorithm that uses the REMOVE function instead of subscripts. I remarked in a

Learn SAS
Rick Wicklin 0
Beware the naked LOC

The LOC function is one of the most important functions in the SAS/IML language. The LOC function finds elements of a vector or matrix that satisfy some condition. For example, if you are going to apply a logarithmic transform to data, you can use the LOC function to find all

Advanced Analytics
Rick Wicklin 0
Compute the log-determinant of a matrix

The determinant of a matrix arises in many statistical computations, such as in estimating parameters that fit a distribution to multivariate data. For example, if you are using a log-likelihood function to fit a multivariate normal distribution, the formula for the log-likelihood involves the expression log(det(Σ)), where Σ is the

Rick Wicklin 0
Access rows or columns of a matrix by names

Did you know that you can index into SAS/IML matrices by using unique strings that you assign via the MATTRIB statement? The MATTRIB statement associates various attributes to a matrix. Usually, these attributes are only used for printing, but you can also use the ROWNAME= and COLNAME= attributes to subset

Rick Wicklin 0
How to get data values out of ODS graphics

Many SAS procedures can produce ODS statistical graphics as naturally as they produce tables. Did you know that it is possible to obtain the numbers underlying an ODS statistical graph? This post shows how. Suppose that a SAS procedure creates a graph that displays a curve and that you want

Rick Wicklin 0
Using macro loops for simulation

Last week I wrote an article in which I pointed out that many SAS programmers write a simulation in SAS by writing a macro loop. This approach is extremely inefficient, so I presented a more efficient technique. Not only is the macro loop approach slow, but there are other undesirable

Advanced Analytics
Rick Wicklin 0
Use the Cholesky transformation to correlate and uncorrelate variables

A variance-covariance matrix expresses linear relationships between variables. Given the covariances between variables, did you know that you can write down an invertible linear transformation that "uncorrelates" the variables? Conversely, you can transform a set of uncorrelated variables into variables with given covariances. The transformation that works this magic is

Rick Wicklin 0
How to access SAS sample programs

Have you ever wanted to run a sample program from the SAS documentation or wanted to use a data set that appears in the SAS documentation? You can: all programs and data sets in the documentation are distributed with SAS, you just have to know where to look! Sample data

Rick Wicklin 0
Constants in SAS

Statistical programmers often need mathematical constants such as π (3.14159...) and e (2.71828...). Programmers of numerical algorithms often need to know machine-specific constants such as the machine precision constant (2.22E-16 on my Windows PC) or the largest representable double-precision value (1.798E308 on my Windows PC). Some computer languages build these