sas global forum

10月 012019
 

Did you know the first SAS® Users Group event took place before SAS was incorporated as a company? In 1976, hundreds of early SAS users gathered in sunny Kissimmee, FL to share tips and offer feedback before SAS was even officially a company. Our users have continued to influence the [...]

Customer experience matters was published on SAS Voices by Randy Guard

9月 262019
 

Mirror, mirror on the wall, whose conference presentations are the best of all?

Ok, well it doesn’t quite go that way in the fairy tale, but remakes and reimagining of classic tales have been plentiful in books (see The Shadow Queen), on the big screen (see Maleficent, which is about to get a sequel), on the little screen (see the seven seasons of Once upon a Time) and even on stage and screen (see Into the Woods). So, why not take some liberties in the service of analytics?

For this blog, I have turned our analytics mirror inward and gazed at the social media messages from four SAS conferences: SAS Global Forum 2018 in Denver, Analytics Experience 2018 in San Diego, Analytics Experience 2018 in Milan, and the 2019 Analyst Conference in Naples. While simply counting retweets could provide insight into what was popular, I wanted to look deeper to answer the question: What SAS conference presenters were most praised in social media and how? Information extraction, specifically fact extraction, could help with answering those questions.

Data preparation

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was a collection of social media messages, mostly Tweets, that the SAS social media department was kind enough to provide. I didn’t do much in terms of data preparation. I was only interested in unique messages, so I used Excel to remove duplicates based on the “Message” column.

Additionally, I kept only messages for which the language was listed as English, using the “language” column that was already provided in the data. SAS Text Analytics products support 33 languages, but for the purposes of this investigation I chose to focus on English only because the presentations were in English. Then, I imported this data, which was about 4,400 messages, into SAS Visual Text Analytics to explore it and create an information extraction model.

While exploring the data, I noticed that most of the tweets were in fact positive. Additionally, negation, such as “not great” for example, was generally absent. I took this finding into consideration while building my information extraction model: the rules did not have to account for negation, which made for a simpler model. No conniving sorcerer to battle in this tale!

Information extraction model

The magic wand here was SAS Visual Text Analytics. I created a rather simple concepts model with a top-level concept named posPerson, which was extracting pairs of mentions of presenters and positive words occurring within two sentences of the mentions of presenters. The model included several supporting concepts, as shown in this screenshot from SAS Visual Text Analytics concepts node.

Before I explain a little bit about each of the concepts, it is useful to understand how they are related together in the hierarchy represented in the following diagram. The lower-level concepts in the diagram are referenced in the rules of the higher-level ones.

Extending predefined concepts

The magic wand already came with predefined concepts such as nlpPerson and nlpOrganization (thanks, fairy godmother, ahem, SAS linguists). These concepts are included with Visual Text Analytics out of the box and allow users to tap into the knowledge of the SAS linguists for identifying person and organization names. Because Twitter handles, such as @oschabenberger and @randyguard, are not included in these predefined concepts, I expanded the predefined concepts with custom ones. The custom concepts for persons and organizations, customPerson and customOrg, referenced matches from the predefined concepts in addition to rules for combining the symbol @ from the atSymbol concept and various Twitter handles known to belong to persons and organizations, respectively. Here is the simple rule in the atSymbol concept that helps to accomplish this task:

CLASSIFIER:@ 

The screenshot below shows how the atSymbol concept and the personHandle concept are referenced together in the customPerson concept rule and produce matches, such as @RobertoVerganti and @mabel_pooe. Note also how the nlpPerson concept is referenced to produce matches, such as Oliver Schabenberger and Mary Beth Moore, in the same customPerson concept.

If you are interested to learn more about information extraction rules like the ones used in this blog, check out the book SAS Text Analytics for Business Applications: Concept Rules for Information Extraction Models, which my colleagues Teresa Jade and Michael Wallis co-authored with me. It’s a helpful guide for using your own magic wand for information extraction!

Exploratory use of the Sandbox

Visual Text Analytics also comes with its own crystal ball: the Sandbox feature. In the Sandbox, I refined the concept rules iteratively and was able to run the rules for each concept faster than running the entire model. Gazing into this crystal ball, I could quickly see how rule changes for one concept impacted matches.

In an exploratory step, I made the rules in the personHandle concept as general as possible, using part of speech tags such as :N (noun) and :PN (proper noun) in the definitions. As I explored the matches to those rules, I was able to identify matches that were actually organization handles, which I then added as CLASSIFIER rules to the orgHandle concept by double-clicking on a word or phrase and right-clicking to add that string to a rule.

I noticed that some handles were very similar to each other and REGEX rules more efficiently captured the possible combinations. Consult the book referenced above if you’re interested in understanding more about different rule types and how to use them effectively. After moving the rules to the Edit Concept tab, the rules for orgHandle included some of the ones in the following screenshot.

Automatic concept rule generation

Turning now to the second part of the original question, which was what words and phrases people used to praise the presenters, the answers came from two custom concepts: posAdj and posPhrase. The posAdj concept had rules that captured adjectives with positive sentiment, such as the following:

Most of these were captured from the text of the messages in the same manner as the person and organization Twitter handles.

But, the first two were created automatically by way of black magic! When I selected a term from the Textual Elements, as you can see below for the term “great”, the system automatically created the first rule in the concept above, including also the comparative form, “greater,” and the superlative, “greatest.” This is black magic harnessing the power of stemming or lemmatization.

The concept posPhrase built onto the posAdj concept by capturing the nouns that typically follow the adjectives in the first concept as well as a few other strings that have a positive connotation.

Filtering with global rules

Because the rules created overlapping matches, I took advantage of a globalRule concept, which allowed me to distinguish between the poisoned apples and the edible ones. Global rules served the following purposes:

  1. to remove matches from the more generally defined customPerson concept that were also matched for the customOrg concept
  2. to remove matches from the posAdj concept (such as “good”) that were also matched in the posPhrase concept (such as “good talk”)
  3. to remove false positives

As an example of a false positive, consider the following rule:

REMOVE_ITEM:(ALIGNED, "Data for _c{posAdj}", "Data for Good") 

Because the phrase “Data for Good” is a name of a program, the word “good” should not be taken into consideration in evaluating the positive mention. Therefore, the REMOVE_ITEM rule stated that when the posAdj concept match “good” is part of the phrase “Data for Good,” it should be removed from the posAdj concept matches.

Automatic fact rule generation

The top-most concept in the model, posPerson, took advantage of a magic potion called automatic fact rule building, which is another new feature added to the Visual Text Analytics product in the spring of 2019. This feature was used to put together matches from the posAdj and posPhrase concepts with matches from the customPerson concept without constructing the rule myself. It is a very useful feature for newer rule writers who want to explore the use of fact rules.

As input into the cauldron to make this magic potion, I selected the posAdj and customPerson concepts. These are the concepts I wanted the system to relate as facts.

I ran the node and inspected the autogenerated magic potion, i.e. the fact rule.

Then I did the same thing with the posPhrase and customPerson concepts. Each of the two rules that were created by Visual Text Analytics contained the SENT operator.

But I wanted to expand the context of the related concepts and tweaked the recipe a bit by replacing SENT with SENT_2 in order to look for matches within two sentences instead of one. I also replaced the names of the arguments, which the rule generation algorithm called concept1 and concept2, with ones that were more relevant to the task at hand, person and pos. Thus, the following rules were created:

PREDICATE_RULE:(person, pos):(SENT_2, "_person{customPerson}", "_pos{posAdj}")
PREDICATE_RULE:(person, pos):(SENT_2, "_person{customPerson}", "_pos{posPhrase}")

Results

So, what did the magic mirror show? Out of the 4,400 messages, I detected a reference to a person in about 1,650 (37%). In nearly 600 of the messages (14%) I extracted a positive phrase and in over 300 (7%) at least one positive adjective. Finally, only 7% (321) of the messages contained both a reference to a person and a positive comment within two sentences of each other.

I changed all but the posPerson and globalRule concepts to “supporting” so they don’t produce results and I can focus only on the relevant results. This step was akin to adjusting the mirror to focus only on the most important things and tuning out the background. You can learn more about this and other SAS Visual Text Analytics features in the User Guide.

Switching from the interactive view to the results view of the concepts node, I viewed the transactional output table.

With one click, I exported and opened this table in Visual Analytics in order to answer the questions which presenters were mentioned most often and in the context of what words or phrases with positive sentiment.

Visualization

With all of the magic items and preparation out of the way, I was ready to build a sparkly palace for my findings; that is, a report in Visual analytics. On the left, I added a treemap of the most common matches for the person argument. On the right, I added a word cloud with the most common matches for the pos argument and connected it with the treemap on the left. In both cases I excluded missing values in order to focus on the extracted information. With my trees and clouds in place, I turned to the bottom of the report. I added and connected a list table with the message, which was the entire input text, and keywords, which included the span of text from the match for the first argument to the match for the last argument, for an easy reference to the context for the above visualizations.

Based on the visualization on the left, the person with the most positive social media messages was SAS Chief Operating Officer (COO), Dr. Oliver Schabenberger, who accounted for 12% of the messages that contained both a person and a positive comment. His lead was followed by the featured presenters at the Milan conference, Roberto Verganti, Anders Indset and Giles Hutchins. Next most represented were the featured presenters at the San Diego conference, Robyn Benincasa and Dr. Tricia Wang.

Looking at the visualization on the right, some of the most common phrases expressing praise for all the presenters were “important,” “well done,” “great event,” and “exciting.” Quite a few phrases also contain the term “inspiring,” such as “inspiring videos,” “inspiring keynote,” “inspiring talk,” “inspiring speech,” etc.

Because of the connections that I set up in Visual Analytics between these visualizations, if I want to look at what positive phrases were most commonly associated with each presenter, I can click on their name in the treemap on the left; as a result, the word cloud on the right as well as the list table on the bottom will filter out data from other presenters. For example, the view for Oliver Schabenberger shows that the most common positive phrase associated with tweets about him was “great discussion.”

Conclusions

It is not surprising that the highest accolades in this experiment went to SAS’ COO since he participated in all four conferences and therefore had four times the opportunity to garner positive messages. Similarly, the featured presenters probably had larger audiences than breakout sessions, allowing these presenters more opportunities to be mentioned in social media messages. In this case, the reflection in the mirror is not too surprising. And they all lived happily ever after.

What tale does your social media data tell?

Learn more

A data fairy tale: Which speakers are the best received at conferences? was published on SAS Users.

9月 102019
 

I recently had the incredible opportunity to attend SAS Global Forum in Dallas as a presenter and New SAS Professional Award recipient. At the conference, I was able to learn more about SAS features and applications, share my knowledge of SAS applications in the clinical trials space, and make new professional connections.

Here are 11 reasons why you should consider applying for this award, too.

1) Free registration & conference hotel: The obvious perk for award winners is the waived fees associated with the cost of attending the conference, including the registration fee, pre-conference tutorial, and free stay at the conference hotel for award winners who are also presenters. As a junior-level employee, it can be difficult to convince your department to allow you to travel to a conference, but it makes it a lot easier to pitch the idea when an award covers most of the costs.

2) See a new city: I arrived at the conference a day early, so I was able to take advantage of my time in Dallas to see the city. I walked around downtown, toured the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, and ate some delicious barbeque. SAS Global Forum 2020 will be held in Washington D.C., so there will be plenty of sights to see there as well.

3) Receive guidance from a mentor: Award recipients who publish and present a paper are eligible to be matched with a mentor through the Presenter Mentoring Program. My mentor, Chris Battiston, was incredibly friendly, helpful, and personable. He provided advice on presentations to attend, public speaking tips, and even referred me for an opportunity to fly out to Canada as an invited speaker at the SAS Canada Health Users group conference. Having a mentor helped set my expectations for the conference and make a plan to maximize my experience.

4) Open doors to additional opportunities: This award, and my associated presentations, provided me with a huge boost in my credibility and the publicity around my work. As a direct result of presenting at this conference and receiving the award, I received invitations to speak on the main stage in front of 5,000+ people at SAS Global Forum 2019, to attend the SAS Canada Health Users Group as an invited speaker, to serve as a panel speaker at the Research Triangle SAS Users Group, and attend SAS Global Forum 2020 as an invited speaker. I also had opportunities to meet Jim Goodnight and other SAS executives, which was an incredible honor.

5) Speak with SAS employees: Have a question about a SAS procedure? At SAS Global Forum, you can ask your question to the actual developers of those procedures in The Quad. The Quad is a large exhibit and demo area with dozens of SAS booths as well as the conference sponsors. At the booths, I spoke to quite a few representatives from SAS and learned about the variety of areas where SAS is making an impact. I learned about the features and functions of SAS Viya, efforts at SAS to make data visualization accessible to those who are visually impaired, the rationale behind moving the certification exams to a performance-based format, and the free SAS-supported software platform to teach coding to children at a young age.

6) Free swag: Not the most important reason, but still an awesome bonus! I walked away from the conference with two free t-shirts, a backpack from the Pinnacle Solutions sponsor booth, and many trinkets, pens, and notepads collected from the various booths.

7) Have fun: There were quite a few events at the conference that were a lot of fun! It was easy to meet people because everyone at the event was so friendly. There were happy hour events, lunch networking groups where you could sit with a table of people based on common interests, escape rooms, get-togethers for SAS regional user groups, and a big party for all conference attendees on the last night. It is a great opportunity to spend time with the people you meet at the conference.

8) Practice public speaking skills & teach others: Presenting at the conference is a great opportunity to practice speaking in front of a large group and to teach other professionals about some aspect of SAS. As a "New" SAS professional, it may sound daunting to come up with a topic that would be useful for a more experienced audience, but you'd be surprised at the number of people who attend the conference with no knowledge of many of the base procedures. Additionally, conference attendees find it incredibly valuable to learn about how SAS can be used to solve a problem or how an existing common task can be programmed more efficiently. My topic was "Using PROC SQL to Generate Shift Tables More Efficiently", and it taught programmers and statisticians a shorter way to produce shift tables, which are commonly used to present categorical longitudinal data. Because of the preparation I put in to present at the conference, I left the event as a much more confident speaker than I had ever been before.

9) Learn something new: At the conference, you'll have the opportunity to attend sessions on virtually any topic you can think of that is related to SAS. Most of the talks I attended were related to statistics because the topic aligns with my job description as a Biostatistician. Some of the topics I learned about were Bayesian analysis, missing data, survival analysis, clinical graphs, and artificial intelligence. Additionally, the conference allows you opportunities to ask specific questions about any SAS procedure or task you’re struggling with. A resource available at the conference is the “Code Doctors” table in The Quad, where you can ask programming questions to SAS experts. I had the opportunity to serve as a “Resident” for the Code Doctors program and was able to observe and help those who needed advice.


10) Increase visibility within your company:
I was the only attendee from my company out of those working in my office, but there were several senior-level IQVIA employees from other regions in attendance, and I had the opportunity to meet them and spend time with them at the conference. I work at a very large company and would not have had the opportunity to meet these coworkers otherwise, so it was an excellent opportunity to increase my visibility even within my company. Additionally, I’ve had opportunities to apply the knowledge I gained from the conference at work and to share advice with coworkers based on what I learned.

11) Make new connections: Perhaps the most important reason to attend SAS Global Forum as a New SAS Professional is the connections you make at the conference. There are opportunities to meet people from all stages in their career who use SAS to complete statistical analysis. Despite working in different industries, I found that many conference attendees used the same procedures and dealt with the same issues that I did, and I truly felt a sense of community among the long-time attendees. Like most of the programmers, analysts, and statisticians in attendance, my day-to-day work is in a solitary environment on the computer. Although teamwork is involved within project teams, there is not a great amount of face-to-face interactions. I love connecting with other people, and this conference gave me the opportunity to meet other people working in similar positions.

The New SAS Professional Award is perfect for those with the potential to become a leader in their field and who are looking for more opportunities to present their ideas, to network and make connections, and to learn from experts.

This experience has allowed me to expand my skills and network, and served as a launchpad for my successful career. My attendance at the conference has allowed me to feel a greater sense of community with other SAS users, and to serve as a representative from the "next generation" of SAS Professionals. I encourage you to submit your abstract by September 30th and your award application by November 1st if this seems like the right opportunity for you. More details about this award and other award and scholarship opportunities are available on the SAS Global Forum 2020 website.

11 Reasons to Apply for the New SAS Professional Award was published on SAS Users.

9月 102019
 

I recently had the incredible opportunity to attend SAS Global Forum in Dallas as a presenter and New SAS Professional Award recipient. At the conference, I was able to learn more about SAS features and applications, share my knowledge of SAS applications in the clinical trials space, and make new professional connections.

Here are 11 reasons why you should consider applying for this award, too.

1) Free registration & conference hotel: The obvious perk for award winners is the waived fees associated with the cost of attending the conference, including the registration fee, pre-conference tutorial, and free stay at the conference hotel for award winners who are also presenters. As a junior-level employee, it can be difficult to convince your department to allow you to travel to a conference, but it makes it a lot easier to pitch the idea when an award covers most of the costs.

2) See a new city: I arrived at the conference a day early, so I was able to take advantage of my time in Dallas to see the city. I walked around downtown, toured the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, and ate some delicious barbeque. SAS Global Forum 2020 will be held in Washington D.C., so there will be plenty of sights to see there as well.

3) Receive guidance from a mentor: Award recipients who publish and present a paper are eligible to be matched with a mentor through the Presenter Mentoring Program. My mentor, Chris Battiston, was incredibly friendly, helpful, and personable. He provided advice on presentations to attend, public speaking tips, and even referred me for an opportunity to fly out to Canada as an invited speaker at the SAS Canada Health Users group conference. Having a mentor helped set my expectations for the conference and make a plan to maximize my experience.

4) Open doors to additional opportunities: This award, and my associated presentations, provided me with a huge boost in my credibility and the publicity around my work. As a direct result of presenting at this conference and receiving the award, I received invitations to speak on the main stage in front of 5,000+ people at SAS Global Forum 2019, to attend the SAS Canada Health Users Group as an invited speaker, to serve as a panel speaker at the Research Triangle SAS Users Group, and attend SAS Global Forum 2020 as an invited speaker. I also had opportunities to meet Jim Goodnight and other SAS executives, which was an incredible honor.

5) Speak with SAS employees: Have a question about a SAS procedure? At SAS Global Forum, you can ask your question to the actual developers of those procedures in The Quad. The Quad is a large exhibit and demo area with dozens of SAS booths as well as the conference sponsors. At the booths, I spoke to quite a few representatives from SAS and learned about the variety of areas where SAS is making an impact. I learned about the features and functions of SAS Viya, efforts at SAS to make data visualization accessible to those who are visually impaired, the rationale behind moving the certification exams to a performance-based format, and the free SAS-supported software platform to teach coding to children at a young age.

6) Free swag: Not the most important reason, but still an awesome bonus! I walked away from the conference with two free t-shirts, a backpack from the Pinnacle Solutions sponsor booth, and many trinkets, pens, and notepads collected from the various booths.

7) Have fun: There were quite a few events at the conference that were a lot of fun! It was easy to meet people because everyone at the event was so friendly. There were happy hour events, lunch networking groups where you could sit with a table of people based on common interests, escape rooms, get-togethers for SAS regional user groups, and a big party for all conference attendees on the last night. It is a great opportunity to spend time with the people you meet at the conference.

8) Practice public speaking skills & teach others: Presenting at the conference is a great opportunity to practice speaking in front of a large group and to teach other professionals about some aspect of SAS. As a "New" SAS professional, it may sound daunting to come up with a topic that would be useful for a more experienced audience, but you'd be surprised at the number of people who attend the conference with no knowledge of many of the base procedures. Additionally, conference attendees find it incredibly valuable to learn about how SAS can be used to solve a problem or how an existing common task can be programmed more efficiently. My topic was "Using PROC SQL to Generate Shift Tables More Efficiently", and it taught programmers and statisticians a shorter way to produce shift tables, which are commonly used to present categorical longitudinal data. Because of the preparation I put in to present at the conference, I left the event as a much more confident speaker than I had ever been before.

9) Learn something new: At the conference, you'll have the opportunity to attend sessions on virtually any topic you can think of that is related to SAS. Most of the talks I attended were related to statistics because the topic aligns with my job description as a Biostatistician. Some of the topics I learned about were Bayesian analysis, missing data, survival analysis, clinical graphs, and artificial intelligence. Additionally, the conference allows you opportunities to ask specific questions about any SAS procedure or task you’re struggling with. A resource available at the conference is the “Code Doctors” table in The Quad, where you can ask programming questions to SAS experts. I had the opportunity to serve as a “Resident” for the Code Doctors program and was able to observe and help those who needed advice.


10) Increase visibility within your company:
I was the only attendee from my company out of those working in my office, but there were several senior-level IQVIA employees from other regions in attendance, and I had the opportunity to meet them and spend time with them at the conference. I work at a very large company and would not have had the opportunity to meet these coworkers otherwise, so it was an excellent opportunity to increase my visibility even within my company. Additionally, I’ve had opportunities to apply the knowledge I gained from the conference at work and to share advice with coworkers based on what I learned.

11) Make new connections: Perhaps the most important reason to attend SAS Global Forum as a New SAS Professional is the connections you make at the conference. There are opportunities to meet people from all stages in their career who use SAS to complete statistical analysis. Despite working in different industries, I found that many conference attendees used the same procedures and dealt with the same issues that I did, and I truly felt a sense of community among the long-time attendees. Like most of the programmers, analysts, and statisticians in attendance, my day-to-day work is in a solitary environment on the computer. Although teamwork is involved within project teams, there is not a great amount of face-to-face interactions. I love connecting with other people, and this conference gave me the opportunity to meet other people working in similar positions.

The New SAS Professional Award is perfect for those with the potential to become a leader in their field and who are looking for more opportunities to present their ideas, to network and make connections, and to learn from experts.

This experience has allowed me to expand my skills and network, and served as a launchpad for my successful career. My attendance at the conference has allowed me to feel a greater sense of community with other SAS users, and to serve as a representative from the "next generation" of SAS Professionals. I encourage you to submit your abstract by September 30th and your award application by November 1st if this seems like the right opportunity for you. More details about this award and other award and scholarship opportunities are available on the SAS Global Forum 2020 website.

11 Reasons to Apply for the New SAS Professional Award was published on SAS Users.

8月 052019
 

As a company, SAS consistently supports #data4good initiatives designed to help those less fortunate around the world. SAS Press team members recently took some time to reflect on the SAS initiatives that inspired them. We thought this would be a good opportunity to introduce some of the team who work so hard on our SAS Press books.

Sian Roberts, Publisher

I lead the SAS Press team and oversee the publication of our books from start to finish, including manuscript acquisition, book development, production, sales, and promotion.

Having lost both my dad and grandmother to cancer, the work SAS is doing to help improve care for cancer patients by tailoring treatments for individuals particularly resonates with me. For example, the wonderful work that is being done with Amsterdam University Medical Center to use computer vision and predictive analytics to improve care for cancer patients is of particular interest to me. My hope is that by using analytics and AI on data gathered from hospitals, research institutes, pharma and biotech companies, patterns can be identified earlier, and survival rates will increase.

 
 

Suzanne Morgen, Developmental Editor

I work with authors to help them develop and write their books, then go to conferences to sell those books and recruit more authors!

At SAS Global Forum, we heard about a pilot program at the New Hanover County Department of Social Services that uses SAS to alert caseworkers to risks for children in their care. I have been a foster parent for several years, so I am excited about any new resources that would help social workers intervene earlier in kids’ lives and hopefully keep them safer and even reduce the need for foster care. I hope SAS is able to partner with many more social services departments and use analytics to help protect more kids in the state and across the country.

Emily Scheviak-Livesay, Senior Business Operations Specialist

As a SAS employee for 22 years, I have learned to wear many hats. At SAS Press, I keep the business running smoothly and manage the metadata of all our books in all formats. I also work with our partners to ensure our titles are available both in the US and globally.

I love this story about JMP working with the Animal Humane Society! I’m a huge fan of “adopt, don’t shop” and it makes me so proud to work at a company where one of our products was used to assist in furthering the cause. For JMP to be able to take a huge amount of data from various sources and turn it into valuable information for The Animal Humane Society is amazing! Helping to care and save animals is what it’s all about. It truly is a fairy “tail” ending.

 

Missy Hannah, Senior Associate Developmental Editor

I work directly with SAS Press and JMP authors to plan and implement marketing strategies for our books. I grew up with a mother who not only was a Systems Engineer but who taught me all about technology. Looking back, I was always watching her code and work with technology and IT my entire life and seeing her do this meant those things came very easily for me. But often, other young women don’t find mentors in the field of data analytics and technology. Data shows that women account for less than 20% of computer science degrees in the U.S. and hold less than 25% of STEM-related jobs. That is why the Women’s In Tech Network at SAS has been something I have really enjoyed having at my company. SAS creating the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) and all the other work they are doing to increase women in STEM and data fields is something that really matters.

Catherine Connolly, Developmental Editor

I work with authors to develop books that support SAS’ business initiatives. My main areas of focus are JMP, data management, and IoT.

There are so many SAS initiatives through #data4good that make me proud to be a SAS employee. One initiative I read earlier this year that stuck with me was a partnership between SAS and CAP Science to combat against repeated domestic violence. CAP Science developed wearables to be worn by both the domestic violence victim and the offender. The wearable uses SAS software to continuously collect data and report on the offender’s location in real-time in an effort to stop future attacks.

 
 

We hope you enjoyed this small insight into some of our team. We are all very proud to work for a company that takes the time to improve the lives of those who need it and uses the power of data and analytics to help the world.

What SAS #data4good initiative has been your favorite? Make sure to comment below!

What really matters: SAS #data4good and the SAS Press team was published on SAS Users.

8月 052019
 

As a company, SAS consistently supports #data4good initiatives designed to help those less fortunate around the world. SAS Press team members recently took some time to reflect on the SAS initiatives that inspired them. We thought this would be a good opportunity to introduce some of the team who work so hard on our SAS Press books.

Sian Roberts, Publisher

I lead the SAS Press team and oversee the publication of our books from start to finish, including manuscript acquisition, book development, production, sales, and promotion.

Having lost both my dad and grandmother to cancer, the work SAS is doing to help improve care for cancer patients by tailoring treatments for individuals particularly resonates with me. For example, the wonderful work that is being done with Amsterdam University Medical Center to use computer vision and predictive analytics to improve care for cancer patients is of particular interest to me. My hope is that by using analytics and AI on data gathered from hospitals, research institutes, pharma and biotech companies, patterns can be identified earlier, and survival rates will increase.

 
 

Suzanne Morgen, Developmental Editor

I work with authors to help them develop and write their books, then go to conferences to sell those books and recruit more authors!

At SAS Global Forum, we heard about a pilot program at the New Hanover County Department of Social Services that uses SAS to alert caseworkers to risks for children in their care. I have been a foster parent for several years, so I am excited about any new resources that would help social workers intervene earlier in kids’ lives and hopefully keep them safer and even reduce the need for foster care. I hope SAS is able to partner with many more social services departments and use analytics to help protect more kids in the state and across the country.

Emily Scheviak-Livesay, Senior Business Operations Specialist

As a SAS employee for 22 years, I have learned to wear many hats. At SAS Press, I keep the business running smoothly and manage the metadata of all our books in all formats. I also work with our partners to ensure our titles are available both in the US and globally.

I love this story about JMP working with the Animal Humane Society! I’m a huge fan of “adopt, don’t shop” and it makes me so proud to work at a company where one of our products was used to assist in furthering the cause. For JMP to be able to take a huge amount of data from various sources and turn it into valuable information for The Animal Humane Society is amazing! Helping to care and save animals is what it’s all about. It truly is a fairy “tail” ending.

 

Missy Hannah, Senior Associate Developmental Editor

I work directly with SAS Press and JMP authors to plan and implement marketing strategies for our books. I grew up with a mother who not only was a Systems Engineer but who taught me all about technology. Looking back, I was always watching her code and work with technology and IT my entire life and seeing her do this meant those things came very easily for me. But often, other young women don’t find mentors in the field of data analytics and technology. Data shows that women account for less than 20% of computer science degrees in the U.S. and hold less than 25% of STEM-related jobs. That is why the Women’s In Tech Network at SAS has been something I have really enjoyed having at my company. SAS creating the Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) and all the other work they are doing to increase women in STEM and data fields is something that really matters.

Catherine Connolly, Developmental Editor

I work with authors to develop books that support SAS’ business initiatives. My main areas of focus are JMP, data management, and IoT.

There are so many SAS initiatives through #data4good that make me proud to be a SAS employee. One initiative I read earlier this year that stuck with me was a partnership between SAS and CAP Science to combat against repeated domestic violence. CAP Science developed wearables to be worn by both the domestic violence victim and the offender. The wearable uses SAS software to continuously collect data and report on the offender’s location in real-time in an effort to stop future attacks.

 
 

We hope you enjoyed this small insight into some of our team. We are all very proud to work for a company that takes the time to improve the lives of those who need it and uses the power of data and analytics to help the world.

What SAS #data4good initiative has been your favorite? Make sure to comment below!

What really matters: SAS #data4good and the SAS Press team was published on SAS Users.

8月 022019
 

SAS Global Forum is a time for SAS users to come together to share their knowledge. Are you ready and willing to share your SAS knowledge?

Take a look at the proceedings from 2019 for ideas and inspiration. Search for any of the top 10 sessions below to get a feel for what was popular this year:

    1. Cool PROC SQL Tricks
    2. End to End Modeling and Machine Learning in SAS® Viya®
    3. Getting the most out of SAS® Macro Language and SQL
    4. How to be an Effective Statistician
    5. Data Governance: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
    6. Tell Me a Data Story: Data Visualization
    7. Let Leonardo da Vinci Inspire Your Next Presentation: Data Visualization
    8. Comparing SAS® Viya® and SAS® 9.4: How Their Features Complement Each Other
    9. From Words to Actions: Using Text Analytics to Drive Business Decisions
    10. A Beginner's Guide to ARRAYs and DO Loops

Remember, accepted abstracts for primary authors get a 50% discount on registration. Call for content closes September 30, 2019.

Still not sure?

What's keeping you from submitting? Maybe you can't seem to come up with a topic, or the thought of writing that abstract and working outline is overwhelming. Don't worry, we've got you covered. We have a great Presenter Mentoring Program that will pair you up with a seasoned expert to guide you through the process. We also have resources to help get you started. We’re here to help you throughout the process.

Award programs

We continue to support new SAS users and international attendees with our New SAS Professional and International Professional Award Programs. Check out the benefits you may be eligible for if you are a SAS professional using SAS for five years or less, or you live outside of the contiguous 48 United States. You can potentially get lodging assistance (and travel assistance for international attendees) if you submit an abstract and working outline that is accepted. Visit the conference website to learn about the many award and scholarship opportunities to help get you to Washington, DC.

SAS Global Forum 2020 is going to be epic! It's our first year holding this event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown Washington, D.C. You won't want to miss it, so get your abstract in soon!

SAS Global Forum Call for Content is Open was published on SAS Users.

6月 202019
 

Move over video games and sports. Make room for escape rooms. This burgeoning form of entertainment found its roots in the video gaming movement. Escape rooms tap into a player's drive to reach the next level, solve a puzzle and win. Escape rooms present a physical game that traps you until your brain (and teamwork) help you escape. Does that sound exhilarating or terrifying? Maybe a bit of both.

SAS adapted this concept and built its own Data Science Escape Rooms at SAS Global Forum 2019. More than 800 customers used SAS software to solve a series of problems in one of six rooms, spanning three different themes: soccer, wildlife and cyberattack.

I had the opportunity to support these rooms by assisting with registration and check-in. I also "covered" the experience through videos that shared a behind-the-scenes look, player reactions and backstories on how the rooms were developed.

I even got to chat with one team that completed all three rooms. The Advanced Claims Analysis Team with the United States Office of Personnel Management, aka Team "Auditgators," included Kevin Sikora, Julie Zoeller, Richard Allen and Lauren Goob. They spoke about how cool it was to play with software they're not used to in pseudo real-world scenarios.

What the escape rooms were really like

Let me give you a lay of the land. The rooms included four stations each with a computer screen and a mouse (no keyboards). At each station, players used products like SAS Visual Analytics and SAS Visual Investigator to solve a challenge, working against the clock to escape the room within 20 minutes. Talk about pressure.

A team studies a problem at one of four stations in the Wildlife-themed escape room.

"You definitely felt a sense of urgency in there," recalls Sikora. "We really got into the wildlife room – it's where we received the highest score. We had the chance to do some great team-building too. We're more cohesive having shared this experience."

The Auditgators worked separately to solve problems and then collaborated to piece together the bigger puzzle. When they got stuck, they asked for help from the "gamemasters," who were literally behind the walls of the rooms. Gamemasters doled out clues to nudge teams along.

This may seem like a fun diversion, but how in the world can you apply this experience to your daily work? "Well we certainly realized the value in using more graphs, to click and filter to find answers we need," said Zoeller. "It was enlightening to see how we could show the data, and it gave us a better awareness of the end goal, the big picture."

Allen and Goob have been to SAS Global Forums in the past and said that the Data Science Escape Rooms gave them the best opportunity to interact with one another than anything else at the event. "It breaks up sitting in rooms and listening, breaks up the monotony. It gave us a chance to do something together as a team."

More reactions and backstories

Want a taste of the action at the event? Here, SAS' Lisa Dodson, Data Science Escape Room Gamemaster, couldn't hide her excitement to give clues and cheer on teams.

 
 
Michael Gibbs with the University of Arkansas described the intensity and pressure to get the answer and move on while escaping.

 
 
SAS partnered with SciSports to build the soccer-themed escape room. SciSports Founder and CIO Giels Brouwer and Data Scientist Mick Bosma explained how the idea came about and plans to take the room on the road.

 
 
While most participants enjoyed the challenge, not everyone "escaped" successfully. The most successful teams had solid teamwork and good communication. Sound like a lesson for "real life"? SAS' Alfredo Iglesias Rey reports that 18 percent of the teams completed all four challenges correctly. He also marveled at how players were able to create advanced machine learning techniques with just a mouse and keyboard.

 
 
Dying to check out a Data Science Escape Room yourself? You'll find them at several local SAS Forums this year, and plans are underway to offer them at other venues. But you don't have to wait for an escape room to get a feel for SAS software. Try SAS online right now, for free.

A playful way to get your hands on SAS: the Data Science Escape Rooms was published on SAS Users.

5月 082019
 

I just spent four inspiring days talking to customers about the many ways they are putting analytics into action in their organizations.  From computer vision models that interpret medical images to natural language processing models that analyze supply chain records, SAS users are doing ground-breaking work with analytics and AI. [...]

6 must reads following our biggest event of the year was published on SAS Voices by Oliver Schabenberger