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What is SAS?
SAS is a programming language that was founded in 1976. The company is located in Cary, North Carolina and is a privately held software company.
It is used by many corporations worldwide to enable users to analyze raw data in order to make business decisions. It serves more than 40,000 business, government and university sites in 50 countries
The SAS programming language is split into two parts ; the Data step, and the Procedure step. The Data step is concerned with reading data, and manipulating it into the format you want.
The Procedure step facilitates reporting (text, charts and HTML), data summarisation, and analysis. The language is also supported by SAS macros, which allow program statements to be re-used with aspects of the statements changed to suit different data. For example, program statements can be written to manipulate data in a certain way, and output the data to a particular file. Enclosing the statements within a macro allows you to very simply specify a different input and output file without repeating the same program statements.
Once data is read in, it is held in SAS datasets which also hold the name, description, type, length, output format, and input format of every variable in the dataset. When the dataset is reused, all of those attributes are already known to the program statements (for example if the data is output using a procedure step, it's output format (e.g. a date or currency) will automtaically be adopted according to it's definition), and if the dataset is merged with another dataset, all of those attributes are inherited by the new one. The instructions within a data step are assumed to be performed against every record in the data set, removing the need to add loop controls to read new records.