sas global forum

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

4月 292019
 

Remember when it seemed like the only way to explain analytics to a layperson was to reference "Moneyball"? My how things have changed. Analytics and big data went mainstream and, more recently, AI and algorithms grace the headlines of national news pieces.

As analytics has moved from the backroom to front page, the related careers and learning options have exploded. I don’t need to tell readers of this blog about the high demand for analytics and data science talent.

I have worked in the training and education groups at SAS for 22 years. For SAS, a stalwart in higher education and the commercial world, the last decade has been a time of change. With so many choices for statistics, programming and analytics, we introduced many free options for learning and using SAS.

On April 28, we announced our latest investments in analytics education, headlined by SAS Viya for Learners, which offers free access to AI and machine learning software for higher education teaching and learning.

Introducing SAS Viya for Learners

SAS Viya for Learners is a full suite of cloud-based software that supports the entire analytics life cycle – from data, to discovery, to deployment. It makes it easy for professors to incorporate AI and machine learning into coursework, including the ability to integrate R & Python with SAS through Jupyter notebooks.

SAS Viya for Learners users get access to a suite of integrated machine learning, text analytics, forecasting, data mining and visualization tools.

People with expertise in an industry-standard like SAS, plus open source skills, will stand out in such a competitive job market.

SAS Viya for Learners provides support tools like online chat, web tutorials, e-learning opportunities, documentation, communities and technical support, freeing educators to teach creative applications of analytics, and critical thinking skills. To support the successful use of SAS Viya for Learners at academic institutions, we offer free educator workshops and teaching materials.

Students learn to explore data, discover insights and deploy AI and machine learning models. They gain real-world experience through true business use cases and showcase their skills with badges and certification opportunities.

Professors can apply for access to SAS Viya for Learners via its home page. Students sign up through their professors.

SAS Viya for Learners is also available to those who enroll in a new SAS machine learning course, available now, for just $79 for three months access. Learners can also soon gain AI and machine learning skills via two new Coursera courses that will offer access to SAS Viya for Learners.

SAS Viya for Learners is just the latest free offering to help people teach and learn SAS.

I also encourage educators to check out Cortex, a new analytics simulation game co-developed by SAS and Canadian business school HEC Montreal.  Cortex teaches analytics and predictive modeling skills through a competitive game. Educators can bring real-world experience into the classroom by having students compete to create the best model to support a fictional charitable foundation’s fundraising efforts. The game provides students with information on the nonprofit and a data set of potential donors, as well as access to SAS data mining tools. Students are ranked on a leaderboard based on the quality of their model and its results.

You DO need stinking badges!

I know, I’m dating myself with that reference, but it’s critical that professionals and students be able to stand out from the pack. Digital credentials that validate expertise enhance degrees and carry significant weight with savvy employers seeking people who can get the job done.

An AI, big data, advanced analytics or data science credential fosters lucrative opportunities across industries. The SAS Global Certification program has long been the standard for industries like banking and life sciences, having awarded more than 142,000 SAS credentials to individuals in 112 countries.

 This week, we launched three new specialist-level SAS certifications in machine learning, natural language and computer vision, and forecasting and optimization. The learners who pursue the certification automatically earn the professional-level credential, SAS Certified Professional: AI and Machine Learning. An immersive two-week classroom experience or flexible, online option taken over 12 months are available. Both options include certification exams.

In addition, we partnered with Acclaim to create digital badges for SAS credentials. Professionals can add badges to online resumes, social media and email signatures to showcase expertise in a variety of analytical skills.

These new programs were announced at SAS Global Forum 2019. Like every year, the event is an amazing gathering of thousands of SAS users which gives educators and students their time to shine. We hope the attendees and SAS users around the world are as excited about these new offerings as we are. We look forward to helping more people learn, grow and succeed.

New AI offerings highlight many free ways to learn SAS was published on SAS Users.

4月 292019
 

A persistent analytics talent gap creates big opportunities for people who can wield analytics to help organizations make better decisions. Innovative analytics users and students who are rushing to fill that gap, and those who teach them, are being honored this week at SAS Global Forum. A special Sunday event [...]

SAS celebrates analytics talent, and those who shape it was published on SAS Voices by Trent Smith

4月 292019
 

A record-breaking crowd of more than 5,500 analytics enthusiasts received a Texas-sized welcome from CEO Jim Goodnight as he opened SAS® Global Forum 2019. This is the fourth time the forum has been held in Dallas, and this year, the evening started with a look back at one of the [...]

One small step for man, one giant leap for analytics was published on SAS Voices by Shannon Heath

4月 272019
 

"Practical AI" might seem like an oxymoron to some. But that’s only if you view artificial intelligence as a futuristic and unrealistic pursuit. Kirk Borne, PhD, decidedly does not. Borne is the Principal Data Scientist and an Executive Advisor at global technology and consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. In this [...]

Getting practical about AI with Kirk Borne was published on SAS Voices by Alison Bolen

4月 252019
 

I’m excited because in a couple days I will fly to Dallas for SAS Global Forum 2019, the biggest SAS conference of the year, attended by thousands.

If you are coming, I hope you will say hello to me.  If you can’t make it to Dallas, you’ll be glad to know that many presentations will be livecast. Here is the schedule

A few highlights:

Sunday, April 28, 7:00-8:30 pm CT–Opening Session

Monday, April 29, 8:30-10:00 am CT–General Session: Technology Connection

Tuesday, April 30, 3:00-4:00 pm CT–Career Advice We’d Give to Our Kids: A Panel Discussion

Wednesday, May 1, 10:30-11:30 am CT–The Good, the Bad, and the Creepy: Why Data Scientists Need to Understand Ethics

These presentations may not be available after the conference so check the schedule and make sure to tune in at the right time.

 

 

 

 

4月 212019
 

 

This year I’ve had the honor of helping to recruit speakers for the Career Development area at SAS Global Forum. We have some fantastic presentations that everyone can benefit from whether you are a student, a new graduate, or a mid-career professional.

I particularly recommend the panel discussion (Career Advice We’d Give to Our Kids) Tuesday April 30, 3:00-4:00 in Level 2, Ballroom C4. The panelists (Shelley Blozis, AnnMaria De Mars, Paul LaBrec) are all great so this should be both informative and entertaining.

The following presentations are listed in order by day and time. As you scroll through this list, you may notice that most (but not all!) of these presentations are in Level 1 Room D168.

Poster (available every day)
Tips to Ensure Success in Your New SAS Project
Flora Fang Liu

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

10:00-11:00 Level 1, D168
Don’t Just Survive, Thrive! A Learning- Based Strategy for a Modern Organization Centered Around SAS
Jovan Marjanovic

11:00-12:00 Level 1, D168
The Power of Know-How: Pump Up Your Professional Value by Refining Your SAS Skills
Gina Huff

1:00-1:15 Level 2, Exhibit Hall D, Super Demo 12
SAS Programming Exam Moves to Performance-Based Format
Mark Stevens

1:30-2:00 Level 1, D168
The Why and How of Teaching SAS to High School Students
Jennifer Richards

2:00-2:30 Level 1, D168
Puzzle Me, Puzzle You: How a Thought Experiment Became a Rubik’s Cube Among a Set of Fun Puzzles
Amit Patel, Lewis Mitchell

2:30-3:00 Level 1, D168
How to Land Work as a SAS Professional
Charu Shankar

3:00-3:15 Level 2, Exhibit Hall D, Super Demo 12
Take SAS Certification Exams from Home Online Proctored
Terry Barham

3:00-4:00 Level 2, Ballroom C4
Panel Discussion: Career Advice We’d Give to Our Kids
Shelley Blozis, AnnMaria De Mars, Paul LaBrec

3:00-4:00 Level 1, D168
How To Be an Effective Statistician
Alexander Schacht

4:00-5:00 Level 1, D168
Stories from the Trenches: Tips and Techniques for Career Advancement from a SAS Industry Recruiter
Molly Hall

5:00-5:30 Level 1, D168
How to HOW: Hands-on- Workshops Made Easy
Chuck Kincaid

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

10:00-11:00 Level 2, Ballroom C3
Tell Me a Data Story
Kat Greenbrook

10:00-11:00 Level 2 Ballroom C4
The Good, The Bad, and The Creepy: Why Data Scientists Need to Understand Ethics
11:00 Jennifer Priestley HOW POI

11:30-12:00 Level 1, D168
New to SAS? Helpful Hints for Developing Your Own Professional Development Plan
Kelly Smith

4月 082019
 
The catch phrase “everything happens somewhere” is increasingly common these days.  That “somewhere” translates into a location on the Earth; a latitude and longitude.  When one of these “somewhere’s” is combined with many other “somewhere’s”, you quickly have a robust spatial data set that becomes actionable with the right analytic tools.

Opportunities for Spatial Analytics are increasing

In today’s modern world, GPS-enabled devices are ubiquitous, and their use continues to increase daily.  Cell phones, cars, fitness trackers, and cameras are all able to locate and track our position.  As a result, the location analytics market is expected to grow to over USD 16 Billion by 2021, up 17.6% from 2016 [1].

Waldo Tobler, an American-Swiss geographer and cartographer, developed his First Law of Geography based on this concept of everything happening somewhere.  He stated, “Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things”[2].  As analytic professionals, we are accustomed to working with these correlations using scatterplots, heatmaps, or clustering models.  But what happens when we add a geographic map into the analysis?

Maps offer the ability to unlock a new level of insight into our data that traditional graphs do not offer: personal connection.  As humans, we naturally relate to our surroundings on a spatial level.   It helps build our perspective and frame of reference through which we view and navigate the world.  We feel a sense of loss when a physical landmark from our childhood – a building, tree, park, or route we used to walk to school – is destroyed or changed from the memories we have of it.  In this sense, we are connected, spatially and emotionally, to our surroundings.

We inherently understand how data relates to the world around us, at some level, just by viewing it on a map.  Whether it is a body of water or a mountain affecting a driving route or maybe a trendy area of a city causing housing prices to increase faster than the local average, a map connects us with these facts intuitively.  We come to these basic conclusions based solely on our experiences in the world and knowledge of the physical landmarks in the map.

One of the best examples of this is the 1854 Cholera outbreak in London.  Dr. John Snow was one of the first to use a map for understanding the origin of an epidemiological outbreak.  He created a map of the affected London neighborhood by plotting the location of all known Cholera deaths.  In addition to the deaths, he also plotted the location of 13 community wells that served as the public water supply.  Using this data, he was able to see a clustering of deaths around a single pump.  Armed with this information, Dr. Snow was able to convince local officials to remove the handle from the Broad Street pump.  Once removed, new cases of Cholera quickly began to diminish.  This helped prove his theory the outbreak’s origin was not air-borne as commonly believed during that time, but rather of a water-borne origin. [3]

1854 London Cholera deaths: Tabular data vs. Coordinate map [3]

Let’s look at how Dr. Snow’s map helped mitigate the outbreak and prove his theory.  The image above compares the data of the recorded deaths and community wells in tabular form to a Coordinate map.  It is obvious from the coordinate map that there is a clustering of points.  Town officials and those familiar with the neighborhood could easily get a sense of where the outbreak was concentrated.  The map told a better story by connecting their personal experience of the area to the locations of the deaths and ultimately to the wells.  Something a data table or traditional graph could not do.

Maps of London Cholera deaths with modern analytic overlays [3]

Today, with the computing power and modern analytic methods available to us, we can take the analysis even further.  The examples above show the same coordinate map with added Voronoi polygon and cluster analysis overlays.  The concentration around the Broad Street pump becomes even clearer, showing why Geographic Maps are an important tool to have in your analytic toolbox.

SAS Global Forum 2019 is being held April 28-May 1, 2019 in Dallas, Texas.  If you are planning to go to this year’s event, be sure to attend one of our presentations on the latest mapping features included in SAS Visual Analytics and BASE SAS.  While you’re there, don’t forget to stop by the SAS Mapping booth located in the QUAD to say ‘Hi!’ and let us help with your spatial data needs.  See you in Dallas!

Introduction to Esri Integration in SAS Visual Analytics

  • Monday, April 29, 4:30-5:30p, Room: Level 1, D162

There’s a Map for That! What’s New and Coming Soon in SAS Mapping Technologies

  • Tuesday April 30, 4:00-4:30p, Room: Level 1, D162

Creating Great Maps in ODS Graphics Using the SGMAP Procedure

  • Wednesday May 01, 11:30a-12:30p, Room: Level 1, D162

[1] https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/location-analytics-market-177193456.html

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobler%27s_first_law_of_geography

[3] https://www1.udel.edu/johnmack/frec682/cholera/

How the 1854 Cholera outbreak showed us the importance of spatial analysis was published on SAS Users.