Data doesn't always have to be 'big data' to be interesting. For example, I recently ran across a small, but very interesting, database containing all of North Korea's missile tests. The data was a bit difficult to digest in the formats provided, therefore I decided to try my hand at [...]

The post North Korea's 117 missile tests appeared first on SAS Learning Post.

Most people who work with optimization are familiar with Linear and Integer Programming, to their toolkit they could add Constraint Programming. Constraint Programming is a powerful technique that is used to solve powerful “real-world” problems in a variety of areas, such as, planning, scheduling, DNA Sequencing, computer graphics and natural language processing.

Constraint Programming is a powerful paradigm which can be used by itself or in combination with Integer Programming. In this article, I’ll show you how to implement a simple Constraint Programming example that solves Sudoku puzzles using the CLP functionality in SAS Optimization.

Have you ever wondered after working in a particularly difficult Sudoku puzzle if the puzzle can be solved? Would you like to schedule your child’s little league games like a pro using the Round-Robin tournament format, just like it is done in professional sport leagues?

If so, Constraint Programming is the answer. But what is Constraint Programming?  Let’s start answering this question by reviewing the familiar Linear and Integer Programming formulations and then comparing them with the one for Constraint Programming.

Most people have heard about Linear Programming and Integer Programming, where the typical mathematical structure for an Integer Programming model is:

Max    c1x1+ c2x2+ … + cnxn

Subject to
a11x1 + a12x2+ … + a1nxnb1
….
an1x1+ an2x2+ … + annxnbn

xj  integer for  all j = 1 to n

These equations describe a problem where the goal (or objective) is to maximize a metric that is related to a set of variables (x1, …, xn) to be determined by solving the problem. The goal (or objective) to be maximized could be, for example, profit, amount of food distributed, etc. The set of variables are related to the goal, and in a typical marketing problem would represent marketing campaigns, customer response, channels used to distribute those campaigns, etc. Constraints are the rules that relate the variables to the available resources to solve the problem. In a marketing problem, b1 could represent the available budget, …, bn could represent the capacity of the call center.

When all variables are continuous we have a linear program; when some of the variables must be integers, we have a mixed integer programming problem. Notice that the constraints in the formulation above simply describe a logical relationship among several variables. Because each variable must take an integer value, their domain is the set of integers.

In Constraint Programming the relationships between variables are stated in the form of constraints. Constraints specify the properties of a solution to be found. A key insight for Constraint Programming is to understand that a constraint is simply a logical relationship among several finite unknowns (or variables), each taking a value in a finite domain. A constraint thus restricts the possible values that the variables can simultaneously take, it represents some partial information about the variables of interest.

An example of a scheduling problem described using the Constraint Programming approach is below All tasks relationships are of type “FS” which means “finish-to-start” and can be used to indicate which task precedes another one:

Forall (j in Jobs)

/* Indicates which task precedes another one */

forall ( j in Jobs)

/* Indicates which tools to be used */

In this scheduling problem, the goal is to find the task sequence for each job while satisfying the constraints on task precedence and tool availability.

More formally, a Constraint Program can be defined using a triple X, D, C, where

• X = { X1, …, Xn}  is a finite set of variables
• D = {D1, …, Dn}  is a finite set of domains, where Di is a finite set of possible values that the variable Xi can take. Di is known as the domain of variable Xi
• C = {C1, …, Cn}  is a finite set of constraints that restrict the values that the variables can simultaneously take.

Constraint solvers find an assignment to the variables that satisfies all the constraints using constraint propagation, backtracking, branch and bound algorithms or local search. There are many specialized resources (books, articles, etc.) that describe these methods.

Many times for complex problems, a hybrid approach is used, that is, an approach that uses Integer Programming, Constraint Programming and Heuristic procedures.

Let’s solve the simple Send More Money and the Sudoku puzzles to make clear the formal Constraint Program formulation given above.

### Send More Money Puzzle

The Send More Money puzzle consists of finding unique digits for the letters D, E, M, N, O, R, S, and Y such that S and M are different from zero (no leading zeros) and the following equation is satisfied:

S E N D
+   M O R E

M O N E Y

Step #1: Define the variables:

S, E, N, D, M, O, R, E, Y

Step #2: Define the Domain of those variables

1. S, E, N, D, M, O, R, E, Y must take integer values between 1 and 9
2. S can’t be zero
3. M can’t be zero

Step #2: Define the Domain of those variables

1. S * 1000 + E * 100 + N * 10 + D + M * 1000 + O * 100 + R * 10 + E =
10000 * M + O * 1000 + N * 100 + E * 10 + Y
2. All variables must be different

The unique solution to this problem is

 S E N D M O R Y 9 5 6 7 1 0 8 2

And can be found using the CLP procedure in SAS Optimization, with this code

```proc clp dom=[0,9] /* Define the default domain */ out=out; /* Name the output data set */ var S E N D M O R Y; /* Declare the variables */ lincon /* Linear constraints */   /* SEND + MORE = MONEY */ 1000*S + 100*E + 10*N + D + 1000*M + 100*O + 10*R + E = 10000*M + 1000*O + 100*N + 10*E + Y,       S<>0, M<>0; /* No leading zeros */   alldiff(); /* All variables have pairwise distinct values*/ run;```

### The Sudoku Puzzle

We are searching for 81 variables that are arranged in a 9×9 matrix, let Cij represent the value of the cell in the ith row and the jth column, where i=1, …, 9 and j=1, …, 9

Step # 2: Define the Domain of those variables

Cij can take any integer value between 1 and 9

Step # 3: Define the Constraints.

1. For each row i, all values in that row must be different.
2. For each column j, all values in that column must be different.
3. For each 3×3 block Bb all values in that block must be different.

Then the solution is

This solution can be found using the CLP procedure in SAS Optimization, with this code (note that the initial puzzle is entered in the step data indata and the final solution is nicely printed with the macro printSol).

```data indata; input C1-C9; datalines; . . 5 . . 7 . . 1 . 7 . . 9 . . 3 . . . . 6 . . . . . . . 3 . . 1 . . 5 . 9 . . 8 . . 2 . 1 . . 2 . . 4 . . . . 2 . . 6 . . 9 . . . . 4 . . 8 . 8 . . 1 . . 5 . . ; run; %macro store_initial_values; /* store initial values into macro variable C_i_j */ data _null_; set indata;   array C{9}; do j = 1 to 9; i = _N_; call symput(compress("C_" || put(i,best.) || "_" || put(j,best.)), put(C[j],best.)); end; run; %mend store_initial_values; %store_initial_values;   %macro solve; proc clp out=outdata;   %do i = 1 %to 9; var (X_&i._1-X_&i._9) = [1,9]; alldiff(X_&i._1-X_&i._9); %end;   %do j = 1 %to 9; alldiff( %do i = 1 %to 9; X_&i._&j %end; ); %end;   %do s = 0 %to 2; %do t = 0 %to 2; alldiff( %do i = 3*&s + 1 %to 3*&s + 3; %do j = 3*&t + 1 %to 3*&t + 3; X_&i._&j %end; %end; ); %end; %end;     %do i = 1 %to 9; %do j = 1 %to 9; %if &&C_&i._&j ne . %then %do; lincon X_&i._&j = &&C_&i._&j; %end; %end; %end; run; %put &_ORCLP_; %mend solve; %solve;   %macro printSol; data final (keep= A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 A7 A8 A9); set outdata; array A{9}; %do i = 1 %to 9; %do j = 1 %to 9; A(&j)=X_&i._&j; %end; output ; %end; run; %mend printSol; %printSol;```

### Conclusion

Every optimization person could benefit from using Constraint programming. It is a powerful tool, which can be used in hybrid approaches with Integer Programming and heuristic procedures.

This article and accompanying technical white paper are written to help SAS 9 users process existing SAS 9 code multi-threaded in SAS Viya 3.3.

### The Future is Multi-threaded Processing Using SAS® Viya®

When I first began researching how to run SAS 9 code as multi-threaded in SAS Viya, I decided to compile all the relevant information and detail the internal processing rules that guide how the SAS Viya Cloud Analytics Services (CAS) server handles code and data. What I found was that there are a simple set of guidelines, which if followed, help ensure that most of your existing SAS 9 code will run multi-threaded. I have stashed a lot of great information into a single whitepaper that is available today called “Getting Your SAS 9 Code to Run Multi-threaded in SAS Viya”.

Starting with the basic distinctions between single and parallel processing is key to understanding why and how some of the parallel processing changes have been implemented. You see, SAS Viya technology constructs code so that everything runs in pooled memory using multiple processors. Redefining SAS for this parallel processing paradigm has led to huge gains in decreasing program run-times, as well as concomitant increases in accuracy for a variety of machine learning techniques. Using SAS Viya products helps revolutionize how we think about undertaking large-scale work because now we can complete so many more tasks in a fraction of the time it took before.

The new SAS Viya products bring a ton of value compared to other choices you might have in the analytics marketplace. Unfortunately most open source libraries and packages, especially those developed for use in Python and R, are limited to single-threading. SAS Viya offers a way forward by coding in these languages using an alternative set of SAS objects that can run as parallel, multi-threaded, distributed processes. The real difference is in the shared memory architecture, which is not the same as parallel, distributed processing that you hear claimed from most Hadoop and cloud vendors. Even though parallel, distributed processing is faster than single-threading, it proverbially hits a performance wall that is far below what pooled and persisted data provides when using multi-threaded techniques and code.

For these reasons, I believe that SAS Viya is the future of data/decision science, with shared memory running against hundreds if not thousands of processors, and returning results back almost instantaneously. And it’s not for just a handful of statistical techniques. I’m talking about running every task in the analytics lifecycle as a multi-threaded process, meaning end-to-end processing through data staging, model development and deployment, all potentially accomplished through a point-and-click interface if you choose. Give SAS Viya a try and you will see what I am talking about. Oh, and don’t forget to read my technical white paper that provides a checklist of all the things that you may need to consider when transitioning your SAS 9 code to run multi-threaded in SAS Viya!

If you have any questions about the details found in this paper, feel free to leave them in the comments field below.

A popular way to use lists in the SAS/IML language is to pack together several related matrices into a single data structure that can be passed to a function. Imagine that you have written an algorithm that requires a dozen different parameters. Historically, you would have to pass those parameters to the function by explicitly listing each argument. If you use lists (introduced in SAS/IML 14.2, which is SAS 9.4M4), you can pack all parameters into one list and pass that list into the function module where the individual items can be extracted as needed.

### Example: An algorithm that requires multiple parameters

To illustrate this list-passing technique, consider the algorithm for Newton's method, which is an iterative method for finding the roots of a nonlinear systems of equations. An implementation of Newton's method is included the SAS/IML documentation. Newton's method requires several arguments:

• The name of a module that evaluates the function whose roots are sought.
• The name of a module that evaluates the Jacobian matrix (the derivative of the function).
• An initial guess for the solution.
• The maximum number of iterations before the algorithm decides that the method is not converging.
• A convergence criterion that determines the accuracy of the solution.

The example in the documentation (which was written in the 1980s) uses global variables and hard-codes the names of functions and the convergence criteria. The example is meant to demonstrate the basic ideas, but is not reusable. You can make the example more flexible and robust by passing parameters to the module as shown in the next section.

### Create a list of parameters

Suppose that you define the modules F and DF to evaluate a multivariate function and the matrix of partial derivatives (the Jacobian matrix), respectively. The following modules evaluate the same mathematical function and derivatives that are used in the SAS/IML documentation:

```proc iml; /* Newton's method to solve for roots of the system of equations F(x1,x2) = [ x1+x2-x1*x2+2 ] = [ 0 ] [ x1*exp(-x2)-1 ] [ 0 ] */ /* 1. define a function F that evaluates a multivariate function */ start F(x); x1 = x[1]; x2 = x[2]; /* extract the values */ f = (x1+x2-x1*x2+2) // (x1*exp(-x2)-1); /* evaluate the function */ return ( f ); finish F;   /* 2. define a function DF that evaluates the Jacobian of F */ start DF(x); x1 = x[1]; x2 = x[2]; /* extract the values */ J = {. ., . .}; J[1,1] = 1-x2; J[1,2] = 1-x1; J[2,1] = exp(-x2); J[2,2] = -x1*exp(-x2); return ( J ); finish DF;```

As shown in a previous article, you can create a named list that contains the parameters for Newton's algorithm. In SAS/IML 14.3, you can create the list by specifying a sequence of name-value pairs:

```/* 3. list of NAME = VALUE pairs (syntax uses SAS/IML 14.3) */ args = [#"Func" = "F", /* name of module that evaluates the function */ #"Deriv" = "DF", /* name of module that evaluates the deivative */ #"x0" = {0.1, -2.0}, /* initial guess for solution */ #"MaxIters" = 100, /* maximum iterations */ #"ConvCrit" = 1e-6 ]; /* convergence criterion */```

In SAS/IML 14.3, you can use the list item operator (\$) to specify an item in a list. You can also get the name of the function and use CALL EXECUTE to evaluate the function at the initial guess, as follows:

```x = args\$"x0"; /* initial guess */ EvalFunc = "y=" + args\$"Func" + "(x);"; /* string for "y=F(x);" */ call execute(EvalFunc); /* evaluates function at x */ print EvalFunc, y;```

This is a useful trick for evaluating a function by name. The next section uses this trick inside a module that implements Newton's method.

### Pass a list of parameters to and from a SAS/IML module

You can now implement Newton's method by defining a SAS/IML module that takes one argument, which is a list. Inside the module, the parameters are extracted from the list and used to evaluate the functions F and DF and to control the iteration and convergence of Newton's method, as follows:

```/* 4. Newton's method for solving the roots for F(x)=0. The argument to the module is a list. */ start Newton( L ); x = L\$"x0"; /* initial guess */ EvalFunc = "y=" + L\$"Func" + "(x);"; /* string for "y=F(x);" */ EvalDeriv = "D=" + L\$"Deriv" + "(x);"; /* string for "D=DF(x);" */   call execute(EvalFunc); /* evaluate F at starting values */ converged = (max(abs(y)) < L\$"ConvCrit"); /* 0 or 1 */ do iter = 1 to L\$"Maxiters" /* iterate until max iterations */ while( ^converged ); /* or until convergence */ call execute(EvalDeriv); /* evaluate derivatives D=DF(x) */ delta = -solve(D,y); /* solve for correction vector */ x = x+delta; /* update x with new approximation */ call execute(EvalFunc); /* evaluate the function y=F(x)*/ converged = (max(abs(y)) < L\$"ConvCrit"); end; /* you can return x or a list that summarizes the results */ result = [#"x" = x, /* approximate root (if converged) */ #"iterations" = iter, /* total number of iterations */ #"status" = converged]; /* 1 if root found; 0 otherwise */ return ( result ); finish Newton;   /* 5. call Newton's method and pass in a list of parameters */ soln = Newton( args ); xSoln = soln\$"x"; /* get root */ if soln\$"status" then /* check convergence statust */ print "Newton's method converged in " (soln\$"iterations") " iterations", xSoln; else print "Newton's method did not converge in " (soln\$"iterations") " iterations";```

The Newton module returns a named list that has three items. The item named "status" is a binary value that indicates whether the method converged. If the method converged, the item named "x" contains the approximate root. The item named "iterations" contains the number of iterations of the algorithm.

In summary, you can use lists to create a structure that contains many parameters. You can pass the list to a SAS/IML module, which can extract and use the parameters. This enables you to simplify the calling syntax for user-defined modules that require many parameters.

For additional examples of using lists to pass heterogeneous data to SAS/IML modules, see "More Than Matrices: SAS/IML Software Supports New Data Structures" (Wicklin, 2017, pp. 11–12) and the SAS/IML documentation for lists.

The post Use lists to pass parameters to SAS/IML functions appeared first on The DO Loop.

Using SAS with REST APIs is fun and rewarding, but it's also complicated. When you're dealing with web services, credentials, data parsing and security, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. It's useful to have a simple program that verifies that the "basic plumbing" is working before you try to push a lot of complex coding through it.

I'm gratified that many of my readers are able to adapt my API examples and achieve similar results. When I receive a message from a frustrated user who can't get things to work, the cause is almost always one of the following:

• Not using a recent enough version of SAS. PROC HTTP was revised and improved in SAS 9.4 Maint 3. The JSON library engine was added in SAS 9.4 Maint 4 (released in 2016). It's time to upgrade!
• Cannot access the web service through a corporate firewall. Use the SSL certificates with the SSLCALISTLOC= option. If you're using SAS University Edition, you'll need the update from December 2017 or later -- that's where SSL was added. The editions prior to that did not include the SSL support.

The following SAS program is a simple plumbing test. It uses a free HTTP test service (httpbin.org) to verify your Internet connectivity from SAS and your ability to use SSL. The endpoint returns a JSON-formatted collection of timestamps in various formats, which the program parses using the JSON library engine. I have successfully run this program from my local SAS on Windows, from SAS University Edition (Dec 2017 release), and from SAS OnDemand for Academics (using SAS Studio).

If you can run this program successfully from your SAS session, then you're ready to attempt the more complex REST API calls. If you encounter any errors while running this simple test, then you will need to resolve these before moving on to the really useful APIs. (Like maybe checking on who is in space right now...)

```/* PROC HTTP and JSON libname test */ /* Requires SAS 9.4m4 or later to run */ /* SAS University Edition Dec 2017 or later */   /* utility macro to echo the JSON out */ %macro echoFile(fn=); data _null_; infile &fn end=_eof; input; put _infile_; run; %mend;   filename resp "%sysfunc(getoption(WORK))/now.json"; proc http url="https://now.httpbin.org/" method="GET" out=resp; run;   /* Supported with SAS 9.4 Maint 5 */ /* %put HTTP Status code = &SYS_PROCHTTP_STATUS_CODE. : &SYS_PROCHTTP_STATUS_PHRASE.; */   %echoFile(fn=resp);   /* Tell SAS to parse the JSON response */ libname time JSON fileref=resp;   title "JSON library structure"; proc datasets lib=time; quit;   /* interpret the various datetime vals and convert to SAS */ data values (keep=from:); length from_epoch 8 from_iso8601 8 from_rfc2822 8 from_rfc3339 8;   /* Apply the DT format to a range of vars */ format from: datetime20.; set time.now;   /* epoch = # seconds since 01Jan1970 */ /* SAS datetime is based on 01Jan1960, so */ /* add the offset here for a SAS value */ from_epoch = epoch + '01Jan1970:0:0:0'dt;   /* straight conversion to ISO8061 */ from_iso8601 = input(iso8601,is8601dt.);   /* trim the leading "day of week" */ from_rfc2822 = input(substr(rfc2822,5),anydtdtm21.);   /* allow SAS to figure it out */ from_rfc3339 = input(rfc3339,anydtdtm.);   run;   title "Raw values from the JSON response"; proc print data=time.now (drop=ord:); run;   title "Formatted values as SAS datetime"; proc print data=values; run;   libname time clear; filename resp clear;```

The post How to test PROC HTTP and the JSON library engine appeared first on The SAS Dummy.

Well! I did it! I conducted a workshop for internal SAS employees wishing to take SAS certification. The workshop was to help them understand the following: SAS Certification overview Exam preparation Website Content Exam pass score Sample questions Study material As the day for the exam approaches, on 5 February, [...]

The post Demystifying SAS certification – Week 1 appeared first on SAS Learning Post.

Are you in the early stages of your Internet of Things (IoT) strategy? According to new IoT research done by the Internet of Things Institute on behalf of SAS, you are not alone. There's been a lot of buzz in the market for several years around IoT and how it's [...]

Is it time to add SAS to the list of "romance" languages?*.

It's no secret that there are enthusiastic SAS programmers who love the SAS language. So it only makes sense that sometimes, these programmers will "nerd out" and express their adoration for fellow humans by using the code that they love. For evidence, check out these contributions from some nerdy would-be Cupids:

### Next-level Nerd love: popping the question with SAS

Recently a SAS community member took this to the next level and crafted a marriage proposal using SAS. With help from the SAS community, this troubadour wrote a SAS program that popped the question in a completely new way. Our hero wanted to present a SAS program that was cryptic enough so that a casual glance would not reveal its purpose. But it had to be easy to open and run within SAS University Edition. His girlfriend is a biostatistics student; she's not an expert in SAS, but she does use it for her coursework and research. With over 70 messages exchanged among nearly 20 people, the community came through.

When Brandon's beloved ran his program in SAS University Edition, she was presented with an animated graphic that metaphorically got down on one knee and asked for her hand in marriage. And she said "Yes!" (Or maybe in SAS terms her answer was "RESPONSE=1".)

Simulated version of the proposal created with SAS

A marriage proposal that was helped along by the SAS Support Communities? That's definitely a remarkable event, but it's not completely surprising to us at SAS. SAS users regularly impress us by combining their SAS skills with their creativity. And, with their willingness to help one another.

### The SAS Valentine Challenge for YOU

With Valentine's Day approaching, we thought that it would be fun to prepare some Valentine's greetings using SAS. We've started a topic on the SAS Support Communities and we invite you to contribute your programs and ideas. You can use any SAS code or tool that you want: ODS Graphics, SAS/GRAPH, SAS Visual Analytics, even text-based output. Our only request is that it's something that another SAS user could pick up and use. In other words, show your work!

It's not exactly a contest so there are no rules for "winning." Still, we hope that you'll try to one-up one another with your creative contributions. The best entries will get bragging rights and some social media love from SAS and others. And who knows? Maybe we'll have some other surprises along the way. We'll come back and update this post with some of our favorite replies.

Check out the community topic and add your idea. We can't wait to see what you come up with!

* Yes, I know that "romance" languages are named such because they stem from the language spoken by the Romans -- not because they are inherently romantic in the lovey-dovey sense. Still, it's difficult to resist the play on words.

A Valentine challenge: express your <3 with SAS was published on SAS Users.

Amazon recently announced the 20 finalists in their search for a location to house their new 2nd headquarters (nicknamed 'hq2'). They showed a map on their web page, but I wanted to create my own map, with a few improvements ... Here's their official map. It's not terrible, but it [...]

The post Here are the Amazon HQ2 finalists! appeared first on SAS Learning Post.