US Regional Conferences

9月 262016

mwsug-2016-logoOver the past 37 years I've had the good fortune to be able to attend and present at hundreds of in-house, local, regional, special-interest and international SAS events. I am a conference junkie. I've not only attended thousands of presentations, Hands-On Workshops, tutorials, breakout sessions, quick tips, posters, breakfasts, luncheons, mixers and more, but have had the privilege of hearing, seeing and networking with thousands of like-minded SAS users and presenters as they share valuable tips, techniques, advice, and suggestions on how to best use the SAS software.

For me, attending, volunteering and participating at SAS conferences and events has not only brought personal satisfaction like nothing else, it has allowed me to grow myself professionally and make many life-long friends. One of my objectives while attending a conference is to identify and learn at least three new things I didn't already know about SAS software. These three new things could consist of "cool" programming tips, unique coding techniques, "best" practice conventions, or countless other SAS-related nuggets.

At the upcoming 2016 MidWest SAS Users Group (MWSUG) Educational Forum and Conference, I'll be presenting several topics near and dear to my heart including "Top Ten SAS Performance Tuning Techniques." This 50-minutes presentation highlights my personal top ten list of performance tuning techniques for SAS users to apply in their programs and applications. If you are unable to attend, here are a couple programming tips and techniques from each performance area to consider.

CPU Techniques

1. Use IF-THEN / ELSE or SELECT-WHEN / OTHERWISE in the DATA step, or a Case expression in PROC SQL to conditionally process data.

2. CPU time and elapsed time can be reduced by using the SASFILE statement to process the same data set multiple times.

I/O Techniques

1. Consider using data compression for large data sets.

2. Build and use indexed data sets to improve access to data subsets.

Data Storage Techniques

1. Use data compression strategies to reduce the amount of storage used to store data sets.

2. Use KEEP= or DROP= data set options to retain desired variables.

Memory Techniques

1. Use memory-resident DATA step constructs like Hash objects to take advantage of available memory and memory speeds.

2. Use the MEMSIZE= system option to control memory usage with the SUMMARY procedure.

Want to learn more SAS tips, techniques and shortcuts like these? Please join me at the MidWest SAS Users Group Conference October 9 – 11 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Register now for three days of great educational opportunities, 100+ presentations, training, workshops, networking and more.

I look forward to meeting and seeing you there!

tags: MWSUG, SAS Programmers, US Regional Conferences

SAS performance tuning - A little bit goes a long way was published on SAS Users.

9月 212016

mwsug-2016-logoI started out as a Psychology major. During my third year as an undergraduate, I was hired on as a research assistant for my advisor in her cognitive psychology lab. Through this and progressively more complicated psychological research experience, I quickly grew to love statistics. By the end of that year, I decided to declare it as a second major. My first introduction to SAS was as a fourth-year undergraduate psychology student - still new to my statistics degree curriculum and working on a large-scale meta-analysis project spanning years of data. I had never programmed before seeing my first SAS procedure. I broke down in tears, terrified at what I had gotten myself into. I toughed it out (with help from my statistics professor), finished my psychology honors thesis with top grades and went on later to use SAS in my statistics thesis for good measure.

About a year later, in 2011, that same statistics professor encouraged us to submit our work for presentation at MWSUG, sweetening the deal with a promise of extra credit if we did. I hopped on that opportunity and submitted both my psychology thesis as well as my statistics thesis that night. A couple of months later, I received an email…they accepted both of my papers and awarded me a FULL student scholarship to attend!

I have come a long way from presenting my first thesis projects (I just arrived home from my 27th conference last weekend). I have learned to love not only SAS, but the statistics behind each procedure. This year, at MWSUG 2016 in Cincinnati, OH. I will be presenting 3 projects. One project will be in ePoster format. As the chair of this section (yes, this is correct. I’ve gone from terrified student to a section chair!), I felt the need to support it with my own research as well. This project is dedicated to the common and very pesky concept of Multicollinearity.

What is Multicollinearity? Why, it is precisely the statistical phenomenon wherin there exists a perfect or exact relationship between the identified predictor variables and the interested outcome variable. Simply put, it is the existence of predictor co-dependence. Coincidently, it is quite easy to detect. You can do so with three very simple to utilize options and one procedure, such as those given in the below example:

/* Examination of the Correlation Matrix */
Proc corr data=temp;
Var hypertension aspirin hicholesterol anginachd smokingstatus obese_BMI exercise _AGE_G sex alcoholbinge; Run;
/* Multicollinearity Investigation: VIF TOL COLLIN */
Proc reg data=temp;
Model stroke = hypertension aspirin hicholesterol anginachd smokingstatus obese_BMI exercise _AGE_G sex alcoholbinge / vif tol collin;    
Run;     Quit;

Through the CORR procedure, we can examine the correlation matrix and manually check for any predictor variables that show high correlation with other variables. In our REG procedure, we can indicate the VIF, TOL, and COLLIN options in the MODEL statement to pull information measuring the variance inflation factor, tolerance, and collinearity.

Would you like to learn more about how to interpret the results produced by these procedures? Would you like to learn ways to control for multicollinearity after it has been detected? Come check out my poster at MWSUG 2016, October 9-11 in Cincinnati! I would love to chat about your multicollinearity issues, interest, or just other curious questions.

tags: MWSUG, papers & presentations, US Regional Conferences

Multicollinearity and MWSUG – a beautiful match was published on SAS Users.

8月 262016

ANY functionWhen I attended my first SAS conference in 2003 I was not only a first-timer, I was a first time presenter.  Needless to say I was a bit nervous.  I did not know what to expect.  Was my topic good enough for these savvy programmers and statisticians?  Well my first time was an experience I will never forget.  I gave my presentation to a relatively full room and I thought it went well enough, but I was shocked when I found out I got best paper in the section.  Ever since then I have been actively involved with SAS conferences, whether presenting or helping as a conference committee member.  After years of presenting and helping, I was asked to be the Academic Chair.  I was beyond thrilled. But I won’t let the position stop me from actually presenting some material that I have found to be very helpful at this year’s Midwest SAS Users Group.

One of the things I do in my job is I look for functions that can help make my job easier.  Once I find these functions, I like to research them and see how I can incorporate them into my programming to make it more efficient.  This year at MWSUG I will share some of my findings via an e-Poster, “When ANY Function will Just NOT Do.”

The e-Poster illustrates the concept of what I like to refer to as the “ANY and NOT Functions.” Some of the functions in this group are ANYALNUM, NOTALNUM, ANYALPHA and NOTALPHA.  Below are some snippets of code that show how some of these functions can be used to determine if there is an alphabetic character, a number or punctuation in the variable.

   /* checks for first instance of ... */
   alnum = anyalnum(value);  /* alpha-numeric */
   nalnum = notalnum(value); /* non-alphanumeric */
   alpha = anyalpha(value);  /* alphabetic */
   nalpha = notalpha(value); /* non-alphabetic */
   digit = anydigit(value);  /* digit */
   ndigit = notdigit(value); /* non-digit */ 
   punct = anypunct(value);  /* punctuation */
   npunct = notpunct(value); /* non-puncuatation */

Want to learn more about these functions?  At MWSUG this year you can see how they can be used along with other common SAS functions to extract numbers from a text string or how to build ISO 8601 dates.

So please join me at the MidWest SAS Users Group Conference October 9 – 11 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Register now for three days of great educational opportunities, 100+ presentations, training, workshops, networking and more.

Hope to see you there!

tags: MWSUG, SAS Programmers, US Regional Conferences

MWSUG preview: When ANY Function will just NOT do! was published on SAS Users.

8月 042016

Color Names, Formats, Macros, ODS, Excel®, and PROC REPORTNot too long ago I had a report generation request from an Alaska state agency. The request had some very specific requirements that detailed the use of user defined colors (by name), data driven control of the report, and Excel delivery using ODS and PROC REPORT. Along the way I had to: determine what colors are known to SAS by name; develop a user tool for color selection that would feed uniformly into a data driven table; construct formats based on the data that would match the user selected colors to specific types of report cells; and deliver the report using Excel. The process was interesting enough that it has resulted in two papers, which I will present at WUSS, September 7-9 in San Francisco.

In these two papers the process for discovering how to name, select, and display the colors is described. Formats are built from the color names and the reported data (DATA steps with two SET statements are used to perform a data merge). Traffic lighting is used is used at the cell level in PROC REPORT, and the whole process is driven by macros. Talk about a fun project! For those of you unable to join me in San Francisco for the full talk, here are two quick tips on how to do this.

Extracting color names from the SAS Registry

The names of available colors are stored in the SAS Registry. They can be extracted to a file through the use of PROC REGISTRY. The following REGISTRY step writes the list of color names and their HEX definitions to the text file COLORNAMES.TXT.

proc registry export= "colornames.txt" 

Displaying a list of colors

If a list of color names is stored in a SAS data set, those colors can be displayed using PROC REPORT. In the following REPORT step, an Excel spreadsheet is created that shows the list of available colors that are stored in WORK.COLORS both with and without the color in the cell background.

proc report data=work.colors;
  column  colorname colorname=clr; 
  define colorname/ 'Color Name';
  define clr  / 'Color';
  compute clr /char length=35; 
     call   define(_col_,'style','style={background='||colorname||'}');

I hope you enjoyed these tips. Please join me for the complete talk at the Western Users of SAS Software Educational Forum and Conference, September 7-9 at the Grand Hyatt on Union Square in San Francisco.  Discounted registration is still available through August 8th! Register now. It’s a great three days of educational opportunities, 100+ presentations, classes, workshops, networking and more.

Visit for more information.

Editor's note: If you can't attend WUSS 2016 but would like to view Art's paper in it's entirety, the conference has plans to publish conference proceedings after the event.  

tags: ods, PROC REPORT, SAS ODS, US Regional Conferences, wuss

Tips for working with Color Names, Formats, Macros, ODS, Excel®, and PROC REPORT was published on SAS Users.

11月 102015

Are you a fan of the television series Game of Thrones or text mining? If your answer is yes and/or yes – then this blog is perfect for you. And don’t worry – I won’t reveal any spoilers. Brad Gross and Srividhya Naraharirao came up with the idea to do […]

The post A text analysis of Game of Thrones appeared first on Generation SAS.

11月 022015

Data is used to answer many different questions, but one common theme we’ve been seeing in the industry is using data for the common good.

After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the Office of Performance and Accountability (OPA) was challenged with rebuilding the city. Joel Mullis, the city’s first data scientist and leader of the NOLAlytics program, knew the approach was simple – analytics. Mullis shared this story during the annual SCSUG conference on the campus of LSU.

“We needed to be smarter than before,” said Mullis. “We didn’t have the luxury of doing it over again.”

The first issue the OPA had to overcome was addressing the 25 percent of city addresses in blighted areas. Mullis said that they had a process for lots and buildings, but nothing was merged, making it complicated to work together.

“Citizens were mad about it,” said Mullis. “They said you’ve got to fix it.”

The OPA set out with a goal to decrease blight 10,000 by 2014. They called the project the BlightSTAT. It involved increasing inspections without raising costs, instead being more transparent.

Making open data available

Next came BlightStatus. It was a website where citizens could put in their addresses and see where they were in code enforcement.

Mullis said there were three things that made this work:

  • Setting goals
  • Tracking performance
  • Getting results

“This is what happens when you let data drive an organization,” said Mullis.

Data saving lives

The OPA also used data to make residents more aware of the importance of smoke alarms.

A map was created with two models:

1 – The homes that were least likely to have smoke alarms
2 – Most at risk of dying in a fire

After they determined the areas at risk, the New Orleans Fire Department targeted its smoke alarm outreach. “Three weeks ago there was a fire and the people were able to get out safely,” said Mullis. “That was one of the houses we targeted and smoke alarms were added. All 11 people in the home survived.”

What's next?

Mullis said its next big analytics project is working to optimize Emergency Medical Services (EMS) locations in the city.

He hopes the work they’re doing in the New Orleans can be scaled in cities across the country.

“There is still a staggering and humble amount of work that needs to be done.”

tags: analytics, scsug, US Regional Conferences

Data for Good: How analytics helped rebuild New Orleans was published on SAS Users.

10月 132015

SCSUG2015LogoEditor’s Note: Regular registration for SCSUG 2015 closes on October 19th, though on-site registration will be available on conference days. Can’t make this year’s conference? Proceedings from previous conferences are currently available. Presentations from 2015 will become available shortly after the conference.


For most people, the day before Halloween means throwing together a last-minute costume or buying the last of the candy at your local Walgreen’s. However, October 30th means something different for the South Central SAS Users Group (SCSUG). It is the day users gather for a one-day event packed with educational and career opportunities in Baton Rouge, LA.

With so many events, conference attendees might be scared that they’ll miss out on the best events. Have no fear, here are our top three “can’t miss” SCSUG happenings:

  1. Student Symposium
    Louisiana State University, Oklahoma State University and The University of Alabama will host a Graduate Student Symposium in Analytics during SCSUG. Nine students (three from each university) will present papers on a variety of analytics topics including the different ways SAS software is used to analyze data. Industry experts from companies sponsoring the conference will serve as mentors and provide commentary on the students’ work. Read the abstracts and learn more about the symposium on the SCSUG website.
  2. Ask Vince: Moving SAS Data and Analytical Results to Microsoft Excel
    Vince Delgobbo, Senior Software Developer and popular SAS presenter, will host an open-ended discussion on transferring data and analytics from SAS to Microsoft Excel. The content of this session depends upon attendee questions, so come prepared! You can also submit your questions in advance.
  3. What's Hot, What's Not - Skills for SAS® Professionals
    Education and professional development go hand-in-hand. With so many techniques, procedures and programming tools, young professionals need insight on where they should focus. This presentation will give the new generation of SAS professionals an inside perspective on up-and-coming careers.

We hope to see you there!

tags: papers & presentations, scsug, US Regional Conferences

Make these SCSUG 2015 happenings part of your Halloween Eve plans was published on SAS Users.

10月 092015

MWSUG15The Midwest SAS Users Group (MWSUG) 2015 conference is almost here and there’s a lot to get excited about. The event takes place October 18-20 in Omaha, NE. If you haven’t already registered, regular registration has been extended through October 13th. The full conference agenda is now available. We hope you take advantage of this excellent opportunity to meet and share ideas with fellow SAS users in your region.

Even if you can’t join us this year in Omaha, you can still learn a lot from the conference. We’ll be posting the proceedings for this year shortly after the conclusion of the event at In the meantime, you can find hundreds of presentations from previous years (2006 to 2014) here as well – simply select the year under the heading “proceedings.”

So without further ado, here are five “can’t miss” events at MWSUG 2015:

Jianqiang Hao’s Keynote Address
Sunday, October 18

MWSUG is thrilled to host Jianqiang Hao, Managing Director of First National Bank. During his keynote, Enabling Financial Success and Education with Analytics, Hao will discuss how analytics and SAS users are essential to the growth of Midwestern businesses He will also talk about the region’s challenges within the field of data analytics.

SAS Super Demos
Monday, October 19 and Tuesday, October 20

Join SAS experts in the Networking and Innovation area for live 30-minute demos throughout the conference. Featured presentations include SAS Enterprise Guide, SAS Visual Analytics, SAS Data Loader and more. Check the schedule for exact times.

Durham Museum Networking Event
Monday, October 19

Enjoy an opportunity to learn about Omaha’s history and network with fellow attendees at the Durham Museum. The evening begins with a casual cocktail hour starting at 5:30pm with dinner at 6pm. Attendees will have access to the permanent galleries until 8:30pm.

Super SAS Bowl Quiz Competition
Monday, October 19

So you think you know SAS? Prove it at MWSUG’s Super SAS Bowl Quiz Competition! The first question is “Who is the mystery host?” You’ll have to attend to find out!

Code Clinic
Tuesday, October 20

Do you have a SAS coding problem that is driving you mad? Code Clinic to the rescue! Bring that stubborn code with you to the Network and Innovation area where seasoned SAS experts can help you out.


Looking forward to seeing you Omaha!

tags: MWSUG, papers & presentations, US Regional Conferences

Don’t “flyover” these MWSUG 2015 events! was published on SAS Users.

10月 062015

DePeySchlegelmilchIf you’re looking to advance your knowledge and your career, few activities are better than attending a professional conference, where new ideas, best practice discovery and networking opportunities abound. For many SAS users, regional user group meetings provide a forum to learn from other users and meet successful professionals in their field. Since SAS users events are powered by volunteers, there are a number of great growth opportunities available through volunteering as well.

To learn more about the benefits of attending a SAS users event, the Users Groups Programs Team chatted with Venita DePuy, 2015 SESUG chair and Gary Schlegelmilch, SESUG treasurer, about their first SESUG experience, what inspired them to dedicate their free time in order to keep the organization going and why first-time attendees are so valuable.

What year was your first SESUG and why did you first attend?

Venita: My first SESUG was 2003, when Gary was the Academic Chair. It was in St Pete's Beach, Florida and I had just finished my Masters of Statistics that spring at NCSU and gotten my first job (at DCRI). My boss said I should go and I remember thinking that 1) WOW they are paying me to go to a beachfront hotel... I have “arrived!” and 2) I thought I knew most everything about SAS and realized that it was only the tip of the iceberg. It was a very welcoming group. Since then the only SESUGs I've missed were 2008 and 2013. I'm looking forward to 2018 when we return to St Pete’s Beach!

Why is it important to hold a session geared towards first-timers?

Gary: First of all, we want to thank them for being a part of the conference and make them feel like a part of the community. Sharing tips on how to best enjoy and learn from the conference ensures that they get the most out of their time with us. We also want to reassure them that though they are here to learn, we also want them to enjoy themselves! Finally, we want to introduce them to all the conference has to offer so they can become inspired to seek out volunteer, even leadership opportunities, at future events.

Why are first-timers important to SESUG as an organization?

Venita: Our primary mission is education; and it's through first-time attendees that we reach more SAS users. Whether you're a student, a relatively new SAS user, or an 'old timer,' there's always some new aspect of SAS to learn. Whether it's from attending a presentation, or bringing a bit of troublesome code to the Code Doctors for some one-on-one expert consultation, or just a chat with a new friend over breakfast that leads to some new insight, I can honestly say that not a single SESUG has gone by that I haven't had at least one "ah ha!" moment.

SESUG has a great student scholarship program. Why would a student want to attend SESUG?

Gary: Students not only benefit from top SAS presenter’s knowledge, they also motivate new questions. The diversity of classes allows them to broaden their knowledge and experience SAS outside of a regular curriculum. Students are SAS’ users of tomorrow. In many ways, attending SESUG helps them get a jump on their career.

Learn more about SESUG and other regional conferences.

tags: SESUG, US Regional Conferences

SESUG veterans on the value of attending a SAS users event was published on SAS Users.

9月 212015

SESUG2015Savannah plays host to the 23rd annual SouthEast SAS Users Group (SESUG) conference from Sept. 27 to Sept. 29. Over 300 attendees are expected to gather in this historic city. If you’re planning to attend, I’ve selected a few special features that I hope will help both new and returning attendees make the most of their conference experience. If you can't make it to this year's event, proceedings will be published online shortly after the conference. And, you can always search the entire archive of SESUG Proceedings (from 1999 to 2014) for the awesome talks presented at past conferences.

So let's jump right in. Not to miss happenings at SESUG this year include:

  • Pre- and post-conference workshops –Taught by nationally known instructors, these 4-hour workshops offer exceptional in-depth training. Eight different topics are offered (Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday) for those that want to enhance their conference experience with additional education. Registration is available on-site.
  • A cool mobile app – Available for both the Android and iPhone mobile devices and the web. You can access all versions now, create your own unique profile, and start connecting with fellow attendees.
  • Two incredible keynote speakers – Sunday’s opening session begins at 5:45 pm, where we’ll hear Ron Cody’s keynote: “SAS from Punch Cards to the Present." Then on Tuesday during lunch, we’ll hear from Kirk Paul Lafler as he presents his keynote: “Left-Brain, Right-Brain: Become SAS Smart.”
  • Over 150 presentations – from your peers and SAS experts!  SESUG covers a wide range of topics in the following presentation sections: Applications Development, Banking and Finance, Building Blocks, Code Doctors, Coders Corner, Hands-on Workshops, Pharma and Health Care, Planning, Support and Administration, Posters, Pre-Conference Workshops, Reporting and Information Visualization/JMP®, Statistics and Data Analysis.
  • Birds-of-a-Feather breakfasts and collaboration café – perfect for networking!
  • Code doctors –Have code that doesn’t work, or macros that give you strange error messages? Time to see the doctors on call! Here you can get one-on-one help from SAS experts who will do their very best to fix your problem code!
  • Eight hands-on workshops – During these two-hour sessions the instructor will demonstrate code and procedures in real time, allowing you to learn and code SAS concurrently!
  • SAS at SESUG – You can easily find us in the SESUG Exhibit Hall. Come connect with SAS presenters and resources; learn how SAS Training and Certification and SAS Books can boost your SAS skills; and find out how our Technical Support and Consulting groups can support each and every SAS user.

As if these fabulous features at SESUG weren’t enough, the Hyatt Regency Savannah is the host hotel, offering lots of southern hospitality. SESUG 2015 conference chairs William E. Benjamin Jr. (Academic Chair) and Venita DePuy (Operations Chair) will be welcoming hundreds of SAS users to this beautiful riverfront setting. I’ll see you in Savannah very soon!

tags: papers & presentations, SESUG, US Regional Conferences

It's all good at SESUG 2015 - What not to miss was published on SAS Users.