SAS is a software suite that can mine, alter, manage and retrieve data from a variety of sources and perform statistical analysis on it. SAS provides a graphical point-and-click user interface for non-technical users and more advanced options through the SAS programming language. SAS programs have a DATA step, which retrieves and manipulates data, usually creating a SAS data set, and a PROC step, which analyzes the data.
Each step consists of a series of statements. The DATA step has executable statements that result in the software taking an action, and declarative statements that provide instructions to read a data set or alter the data's appearance. The DATA step has two phases, compilation and execution. In the compilation phase, declarative statements are processed and syntax errors are identified. Afterwards, the execution phase processes each executable statement sequentially. Data sets are organized into tables with rows called "observations" and columns called "variables". Additionally, each piece of data has a descriptor and a value.
The PROC step consists of PROC statements that call upon named procedures. Procedures perform analysis and reporting on data sets to produce statistics, analyses and graphics. There are more than 300 procedures and each one contains a substantial body of programming and statistical work. PROC statements can also display results, sort data or perform other operations. SAS Macros are pieces of code or variables that are coded once and referenced to perform repetitive tasks.
SAS data can be published in HTML, PDF, Excel and other formats using the Output Delivery System, which was first introduced in 2007] The SAS Enterprise Guide is SAS' point-and-click interface. It generates code to manipulate data or perform analysis automatically and does not require SAS programming experience to use
The SAS software suite has more than 200 components Some of the SAS components include:
- Base SAS – Basic procedures and data management
- SAS/STAT – Statistical analysis
- SAS/GRAPH – Graphics and presentation
- SAS/OR – Operations research
- SAS/ETS – Econometrics and Time Series Analysis
- SAS/IML – Interactive matrix language
- SAS/AF – Applications facility
- SAS/QC – Quality control
- SAS/INSIGHT – Data mining
- SAS/PH – Clinical trial analysis
- Enterprise Miner – data mining
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