General SAS support

SAS is a very powerful statistical package. Originally SAS stood for “Statistical Analysis System,” but now SAS is a brand name on its own. (This is much like RCA, which was originally Radio Corporation of America but today is RCA Corp.)

If you’re accustomed to a friendly computer interface, you will find SAS rather different. You’ll find that SAS, even in its most recent form, still reflects its mainframe heritage — a time in which lines of code drove computers with great efficiency and accuracy, but did not present an easy interface.

The power and versatility of SAS are impressive, which is why it’s in use all over the world for statistical analysis. This power comes at a cost: Your command scripts have to be flawless. Something as small as a missing semi-colon in a command script can keep your program from running at all, or mess up the results.

Count on spending some extra time on the SAS assignments, at least at first. And, take some comfort: In years gone by, all computer programs were this hard to use, or even harder!