Interview Kelci Miclaus, SAS Institute Using #rstats with JMP

Here is an interview with Kelci Miclaus, a researcher working with the JMP division of the SAS Institute, in which she demonstrates examples of how the R programming language is a great hit with JMP customers who like to be flexible.

 

Ajay- How has JMP been using integration with R? What has been the feedback from customers so far? Is there a single case study you can point out where the combination of JMP and R was better than any one of them alone?

Kelci- Feedback from customers has been very positive. Some customers are using JMP to foster collaboration between SAS and R modelers within their organizations. Many are using JMP’s interactive visualization to complement their use of R. Many SAS and JMP users are using JMP’s integration with R to experiment with more bleeding-edge methods not yet available in commercial software. It can be used simply to smooth the transition with regard to sending data between the two tools, or used to build complete custom applications that take advantage of both JMP and R.

One customer has been using JMP and R together for Bayesian analysis. He uses R to create MCMC chains and has found that JMP is a great tool for preparing the data for analysis, as well as displaying the results of the MCMC simulation. For example, the Control Chart platform and the Bubble Plot platform in JMP can be used to quickly verify convergence of the algorithm. The use of both tools together can increase productivity since the results of an analysis can be achieved faster than through scripting and static graphics alone.

I, along with a few other JMP developers, have written applications that use JMP scripting to call out to R packages and perform analyses like multidimensional scaling, bootstrapping, support vector machines, and modern variable selection methods. These really show the benefit of interactive visual analysis of coupled with modern statistical algorithms. We’ve packaged these scripts as JMP add-ins and made them freely available on our JMP User Community file exchange. Customers can download them and now employ these methods as they would a regular JMP platform. We hope that our customers familiar with scripting will also begin to contribute their own add-ins so a wider audience can take advantage of these new tools.

(see http://www.decisionstats.com/jmp-and-r-rstats/)

Ajay- Are there plans to extend JMP integration with other languages like Python?

Kelci- We do have plans to integrate with other languages and are considering integrating with more based on customer requests. Python has certainly come up and we are looking into possibilities there.

 Ajay- How is R a complimentary fit to JMP’s technical capabilities?

Kelci- R has an incredible breadth of capabilities. JMP has extensive interactive, dynamic visualization intrinsic to its largely visual analysis paradigm, in addition to a strong core of statistical platforms. Since our brains are designed to visually process pictures and animated graphs more efficiently than numbers and text, this environment is all about supporting faster discovery. Of course, JMP also has a scripting language (JSL) allowing you to incorporate SAS code, R code, build analytical applications for others to leverage SAS, R and other applications for users who don’t code or who don’t want to code.

JSL is a powerful scripting language on its own. It can be used for dialog creation, automation of JMP statistical platforms, and custom graphic scripting. In other ways, JSL is very similar to the R language. It can also be used for data and matrix manipulation and to create new analysis functions. With the scripting capabilities of JMP, you can create custom applications that provide both a user interface and an interactive visual back-end to R functionality. Alternatively, you could create a dashboard using statistical and/or graphical platforms in JMP to explore the data and with the click of a button, send a portion of the data to R for further analysis.

Another JMP feature that complements R is the add-in architecture, which is similar to how R packages work. If you’ve written a cool script or analysis workflow, you can package it into a JMP add-in file and send it to your colleagues so they can easily use it.

Ajay- What is the official view on R from your organization? Do you think it is a threat, or a complimentary product or another statistical platform that coexists with your offerings?

Kelci- Most definitely, we view R as complimentary. R contributors are providing a tremendous service to practitioners, allowing them to try a wide variety of methods in the pursuit of more insight and better results. The R community as a whole is providing a valued role to the greater analytical community by focusing attention on newer methods that hold the most promise in so many application areas. Data analysts should be encouraged to use the tools available to them in order to drive discovery and JMP can help with that by providing an analytic hub that supports both SAS and R integration.

Ajay-  While you do use R, are there any plans to give back something to the R community in terms of your involvement and participation (say at useR events) or sponsoring contests.

 Kelci- We are certainly open to participating in useR groups. At Predictive Analytics World in NY last October, they didn’t have a local useR group, but they did have a Predictive Analytics Meet-up group comprised of many R users. We were happy to sponsor this. Some of us within the JMP division have joined local R user groups, myself included.  Given that some local R user groups have entertained topics like Excel and R, Python and R, databases and R, we would be happy to participate more fully here. I also hope to attend the useR! annual meeting later this year to gain more insight on how we can continue to provide tools to help both the JMP and R communities with their work.

We are also exploring options to sponsor contests and would invite participants to use their favorite tools, languages, etc. in pursuit of the best model. Statistics is about learning from data and this is how we make the world a better place.

About- Kelci Miclaus

Kelci is a research statistician developer for JMP Life Sciences at SAS Institute. She has a PhD in Statistics from North Carolina State University and has been using SAS products and R for several years. In addition to research interests in statistical genetics, clinical trials analysis, and multivariate analysis/visualization methods, Kelci works extensively with JMP, SAS, and R integration.

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SAS Institute Financials 2011

SAS Institute has release it’s financials for 2011 at http://www.sas.com/news/preleases/2011financials.html,

Revenue surged across all solution and industry categories. Software to detect fraud saw a triple-digit jump. Revenue from on-demand solutions grew almost 50 percent. Growth from analytics and information management solutions were double digit, as were gains from customer intelligence, retail, risk and supply chain solutions

AJAY- and as a private company it is quite nice that they are willing to share so much information every year.

The graphics are nice ( and the colors much better than in 2010) , but pie-charts- seriously dude there is no way to compare how much SAS revenue is shifting across geographies or even across industries. So my two cents is – lose the pie charts, and stick to line graphs please for the share of revenue by country /industry.

In 2011, SAS grew staff 9.2 percent and reinvested 24 percent of revenue into research and development

AJAY- So that means 654 million dollars spent in Research and Development.  I wonder if SAS has considered investing in much smaller startups (than it’s traditional strategy of doing all research in-house and completely acquiring a smaller company)

Even a small investment of say 5-10 million USD in open source , or even Phd level research projects could greatly increase the ROI on that.

That means

Analyzing a private company’s financials are much more fun than a public company, and I remember the words of my finance professor ( “dig , dig”) to compare 2011 results with 2010 results.

http://www.sas.com/news/preleases/2010financials.html

The percentage invested in R and D is exactly the same (24%) and the percentages of revenue earned from each geography is exactly the same . So even though revenue growth increased from 5.2 % to 9% in 2011, both the geographic spread of revenues and share  R&D costs remained EXACTLY the same.

The Americas accounted for 46 percent of total revenue; Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) 42 percent; and Asia Pacific 12 percent.

Overall, I think SAS remains a 35% market share (despite all that noise from IBM, SAS clones, open source) because they are good at providing solutions customized for industries (instead of just software products), the market for analytics is not saturated (it seems to be growing faster than 12% or is it) , and its ability to attract and retain the best analytical talent (which in a non -American tradition for a software company means no stock options, job security, and great benefits- SAS remains almost Japanese in HR practices).

In 2010, SAS grew staff by 2.4 percent, in 2011 SAS grew staff by 9 percent.

But I liked the directional statement made here-and I think that design interfaces, algorithmic and computational efficiencies should increase analytical time, time to think on business and reduce data management time further!

“What would you do with the extra time if your code ran in two minutes instead of five hours?” Goodnight challenged.

2011 Analytics Recap

Events in the field of data that impacted us in 2011

1) Oracle unveiled plans for R Enterprise. This is one of the strongest statements of its focus on in-database analytics. Oracle also unveiled plans for a Public Cloud

2) SAS Institute released version 9.3 , a major analytics software in industry use.

3) IBM acquired many companies in analytics and high tech. Again.However the expected benefits from Cognos-SPSS integration are yet to show a spectacular change in market share.

2011 Selected acquisitions

Emptoris Inc. December 2011

Cúram Software Ltd. December 2011

DemandTec December 2011

Platform Computing October 2011

 Q1 Labs October 2011

Algorithmics September 2011

 i2 August 2011

Tririga March 2011

 

4) SAP promised a lot with SAP HANA- again no major oohs and ahs in terms of market share fluctuations within analytics.

http://www.sap.com/india/news-reader/index.epx?articleID=17619

5) Amazon continued to lower prices of cloud computing and offer more options.

http://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2011/12/21/amazon-elastic-mapreduce-announces-support-for-cc2-8xlarge-instances/

6) Google continues to dilly -dally with its analytics and cloud based APIs. I do not expect all the APIs in the Google APIs suit to survive and be viable in the enterprise software space.  This includes Google Cloud Storage, Cloud SQL, Prediction API at https://code.google.com/apis/console/b/0/ Some of the location based , translation based APIs may have interesting spin offs that may be very very commercially lucrative.

7) Microsoft -did- hmm- I forgot. Except for its investment in Revolution Analytics round 1 many seasons ago- very little excitement has come from MS plans in data mining- The plugins for cloud based data mining from Excel remain promising yet , while Azure remains a stealth mode starter.

8) Revolution Analytics promised us a GUI and didnt deliver (till yet 🙂 ) . But it did reveal a much better Enterprise software Revolution R 5.0 is one of the strongest enterprise software in the R /Stat Computing space and R’s memory handling problem is now an issue of perception than actual stuff thanks to newer advances in how it is used.

9) More conferences, more books and more news on analytics startups in 2011. Big Data analytics remained a strong buzzword. Expect more from this space including creative uses of Hadoop based infrastructure.

10) Data privacy issues continue to hamper and impede effective analytics usage. So does rational and balanced regulation in some of the most advanced economies. We expect more regulation and better guidelines in 2012.

Interview Scott Gidley CTO and Founder, DataFlux

Here is an interview with Scott Gidley, CTO and co-founder of leading data quality ccompany DataFlux . DataFlux is a part of SAS Institute and in 2011 acquired Baseline Consulting besides launching the latest version of their Master Data Management  product. Continue reading “Interview Scott Gidley CTO and Founder, DataFlux”

High Performance Analytics

Marry Big Data Analytics to High Performance Computing, and you get the buzzword of this season- High Performance Analytics.

It basically consists of Parallelized code to run in parallel on custom hardware, in -database analytics for speed, and cloud computing /high performance computing environments. On an operational level, it consists of software (as in analytics) partnering with software (as in databases, Map reduce, Hadoop) plus some hardware (HP or IBM mostly). It is considered a high margin , highly profitable, business with small number of deals compared to say desktop licenses.

As per HPC Wire- which is a great tool/newsletter to keep updated on HPC , SAS Institute has been busy on this front partnering with EMC Greenplum and TeraData (who also acquired  SAS Partner AsterData to gain a much needed foot in the MR/SQL space) Continue reading “High Performance Analytics”

Contest for SAS Users and Students

Heres a new contest for SAS users. The prizes are books, so students should be interested as well.

From http://www.sascommunity.org/mwiki/images/b/bc/PointsforprizesRules.pdf

HOW TO ENTER: To qualify for entry, go to the sasCommunity.org web site located at http://www.sascommunity.org/wiki/Main_Page
between April 11, 2011 and May 9, 2011 and either add or edit valid content as described herein to earn award points.
Creation of a first time profile on www.sascommunity.org will earn 1,000 points. For each valid article creation or edit, 100
points will be earned. Articles and subsequent edits should adhere to the sasCommunity.org terms of use as outlined on
http://www.sascommunity.org/wiki/sasCommunity:Terms_of_Use. All points’ accumulation will end at 5:00 PM GMT on
May 9, 2011 and only those points earned between 8:00 AM GMT on April 11, 2011 and 5:00 PM GMT on May 9, 2011
will be counted in this contest. Contest entries made through the Internet will be declared made by the registered user of
the sasCommunity.org profile account. Sponsor is not responsible for phone, technical, network, electronic, computer
hardware or software failures of any kind, misdirected, incomplete, garbled or delayed transmissions. Sponsor will not be
responsible for incorrect or inaccurate entry information, whether caused by entrants or by any of the equipment or
programming associated with or utilized in the contest.
ELIGIBILITY: The contest is open to all sasCommunity.org members 18 year of age or older on the start date of the
contest. Void where prohibited by law. Employees (including immediate family members and/or those living in the same 
household of each), the Sponsor, members of the sasCommunity.org Advisory Board, SAS Global Users Group Executive 
Board, their advertising, promotion and production agencies, the affiliated companies of each, and the immediate family 
members of each are not eligible. 

PRIZE: Three (3) prizes will be awarded based on total points accumulated during the contest as follows:
 1stPlace: 3 SAS®Press books - not to exceed $250 in combined retail value;
 2ndPlace: 2 SAS®Press books - not to exceed $150 in combined retail value; and
 3rdPlace: 1 SAS®Press book - not to exceed $100 in retail value.

What’s New

http://www.sascommunity.org/wiki/Main_Page

New Points for Prizes Contest
Points for Prizes Contest
Win SAS books!
Contribute content or SAS code to sasCommunity.org for your chance to WIN! To qualify, simply add or edit articles between April 11, 2011 and May 9, 2011 (GMT). Creation of a first-time profile on sasCommunity.org gives you 1,000 points. For each valid article creation or edit, 100 points will be earned. The user with the most points collected during this time wins SAS Press Books!

Become a sasCommunity Guru
Thanks for Contributing to sasCommunity.org!
New sasCommunity.org Point System
The sasCommunity support team has been hard at work adding new features and is pleased to announce a points system that recognizes each user’s contributions to the site. Every time you contribute by creating a page, updating it, or just doing a little wiki gardening, you earn points.Earning points is automatic and simple – all you have to do is contribute! Creating your account starts you with 1000 points and all the current users have been credited with points dating back to the site coming online in April 2007.

SAS to R Challenge: Unique benchmarking

Flag of Town of Cary
Image via Wikipedia

An interesting announcemnet from Revolution Analytics promises to convert your legacy code in SAS language not only cheaper but faster. It’ s a very very interesting challenge and I wonder how SAS users ,corporates, customers as well as the Institute itself reacts

http://www.revolutionanalytics.com/sas-challenge/

Take the SAS to R Challenge

Are you paying for expensive software licenses and hardware to run time-consuming statistical analyses on big data sets?

If you’re doing linear regressions, logistic regressions, predictions, or multivariate crosstabulations* there’s something you should know: Revolution Analytics can get the same results for a substantially lower cost and faster than SAS®.

For a limited time only, Revolution Analytics invites you take the SAS to R Challenge. Let us prove that we can deliver on our promise of replicating your results in R, faster and cheaper than SAS.

Take the challenge

Here’s how it works:

Fill out the short form below, and one of our conversion experts will contact you to discuss the SAS code you want to convert. If we think Revolution R Enterprise can get the same results faster than SAS, we’ll convert your code to R free of charge. Our goal is to demonstrate that Revolution R Enterprise will produce the same results in less time. There’s no obligation, but if you choose to convert, we guarantee that your license cost for Revolution R Enterprise will be less than half what you’re currently paying for the equivalent SAS software.**

It’s that simple.

We’ll show you that you don’t need expensive hardware and software to do high quality statistical analysis of big data. And we’ll show that you don’t need to tie up your computing resources with long running operations. With Revolution R Enterprise, you can run analyses on commodity hardware using Linux or Windows, scale to terabyte-class data problems and do it at processing speeds you would never have thought possible.

Sign up now, and we will be in touch shortly.

Take the challenge

 

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SAS is a registered trademark of the SAS Institute, Cary, NC, in the US and other countries.

*Additional statistical algorithms are being rapidly added to Revolution R Enterprise. Custom development services are also available.

**Revolution Analytics retains the right to determine eligibility for this offer. Offer available until March 31, 2011.