Absorbing Markov chains in SAS

July 13, 2016
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Absorbing Markov chains in SAS

Last week I showed how to represent a Markov transition matrix in the SAS/IML matrix language. I also showed how to use matrix multiplication to iterate a state vector, thereby producing a discrete-time forecast of the state of the Markov chain system. This article shows that the expected behavior of

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How to read the contents of a file into a SAS macro variable

July 12, 2016
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I've been working on a SAS program that can add content to the SAS Support Communities (more on that in a future post). Despite my 20+ years of SAS experience, there are a lot of SAS programming tricks that I don't know. Or that I use so infrequently that I

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What to include in your website

July 11, 2016
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What information should you make easily available from the top page of your website? This Venn diagram might help you decide! Have you ever gone to a website to try to find some information, and had a (expletive) difficult time trying to find that info? I think there is often a

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Break a sentence into words in SAS

July 11, 2016
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Break a sentence into words in SAS

Two of my favorite string-manipulation functions in the SAS DATA step are the COUNTW function and the SCAN function. The COUNTW function counts the number of words in a long string of text. Here "word" means a substring that is delimited by special characters, such as a space character, a

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Apparently the cool kids don’t smoke any more

July 8, 2016
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I've noticed fewer and fewer people smoking these days, and was wondering who the last holdouts are. Let's run some numbers and find out... Back in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s it seems like almost everyone smoked. You hardly ever saw the "cool kids" such as James Dean without a cigarette -

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Markov transition matrices in SAS/IML

July 7, 2016
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Markov transition matrices in SAS/IML

Many computations in elementary probability assume that the probability of an event is independent of previous trials. For example, if you toss a coin twice, the probability of observing "heads" on the second toss does not depend on the result of the first toss. However, there are situations in which

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SAS Author Spotlight: Derek Morgan

July 6, 2016
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SAS Author Derek Morgan is a programming rock star… in more ways than one. Not only has he been a professional SAS programmer in the pharmaceutical industry for almost 30 years and written two editions of The Essential Guide to SAS® Dates and Times, Derek also plays electric bass in

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Does this graph make you feel old … or young?

July 5, 2016
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They say age is a relative thing. With this graph, you can tell how old (or young) you are, relative to everyone else. (I'll let you decide whether this is a good thing, or a bad thing, hahaha!) Nathan Yau recently posted a graph on flowingdata.com that allows you to

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Cantor sets, the devil’s staircase, and probability

July 5, 2016
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Cantor sets, the devil’s staircase, and probability

Last week I blogged about how to draw the Cantor function in SAS. The Cantor function is used in mathematics as a pathological example of a function that is constant almost everywhere yet somehow manages to "climb upwards," thus earning the nickname "the devil's staircase." The Cantor function has three

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