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Date:         Thu, 9 Dec 2004 10:03:19 -0500
Reply-To:     Paige Miller <paige.miller@KODAK.COM>
Sender:       "SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:         Paige Miller <paige.miller@KODAK.COM>
Organization: Eastman Kodak Company
Subject:      Re: SAS IML and SAS GRAPH - ease of learning? comparison with R?
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed

Peter Flom wrote:

> Hello > > I am currently involved in a new project for me, a meta-analysis. > Currently, I use SAS BASE (a little), and SAS STAT (a lot), for fancier > graphs and/or statistics that aren't in SAS STAT, I use R. > > This project will necessarily involve me learning more SAS BASE. But > after that we have a choice, and I'd like some advice > > We can either 1) Get SAS GRAPH and SAS IML or 2) Stay with what we are > doing. SAS GRAPH and IML are expensive; R is free. But R has a steep > learning curve, and some of the analyses may need to be done by other > people than me; those people don't know R, and don't want to learn it. > With SAS, we can rely (to an extent) on programs that Wang and Bushman > wrote about in their book on meta-analysis with SAS.....But at least one > of us (me) will probably have to learn at least some of how those > programs work, in case they need to be modified (which seems likely). > > Sorry for going on so long, but (as people who've been following other > threads know) I like to provide context. > > Any advice will be appreciated.

I have never learned R. I did at one time look at it and I decided that since I already knew SAS/GRAPH and SAS/IML, I felt little would be gained from learning R.

You are in a different situation, where you have not learned SAS/GRAPH and SAS/IML; but I think the learning curve is much less steep than the learning curve to R will be, because you already know SAS/BASE and SAS/STAT. Learning most of SAS/GRAPH is no different than learning a new procedure in SAS/STAT; there are a few new concepts in SAS/GRAPH that don't have an analogous concept in SAS/STAT such as AXIS and SYMBOL statements, but these I don't think these are hard concepts. Learning IML is similar to learning new features of the data step, where now you can perform matrix manipulations on your data; again, if you can program the SAS data step and you understand matrix manipulations, I don't think IML is particularly hard to learn (if you have never been exposed to matrix manipulations than IML and any other matrix language will be inscrutable).

It is also quite nice to have one program, in this case a SAS program, that does all the analysis. If you want to do a complicated analysis in IML, then output the results to SAS/BASE, SAS/STAT and SAS/GRAPH for further analysis or summarization of results, you can do this in all one program. No need to write a SAS program and an R program and link them together somehow.

Of course, only you and your company can make the tradeoff of these advantages against the cost of adding modules to SAS.

-- Paige Miller Eastman Kodak Company paige dot miller at kodak dot com http://www.kodak.com

"It's nothing until I call it!" -- Bill Klem, NL Umpire "When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance" -- Lee Ann Womack


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