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A Bridge to R for SAS Users

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Recently, MineQuest released a piece of software called "A Bridge to R for SAS Users." The Bridge to R for SAS Users is software that makes it much easier to access the R programming language from within the SAS IDE environment.

There were multiple goals that we had in mind when developing the Bridge, but the most important deserve highlighting. First and foremost was to allow statisticians and analysts who do not have specific SAS analytical modules to still use advanced routines available in R as a substitute. The other goal was to offer an alternative to the expensive SAS libraries for those analysts who only use a single proc in a SAS library. Finally, by using a familiar IDE, our hopes are that SAS developers will be more comfortable in developing models that require stepping outside the SAS environment.

The Bridge to R for SAS Users is identical to our version for WPS users and uses the exact same paradigm and implementation as far as the analytical programmer is concerned. The Bridge to R for SAS Users software allows the developer to write R code inside the SAS IDE and execute the R code on your desktop. The output from R, both the LST files and LOG files are routed back to the appropriate SAS window. The Bridge also supports the R Graphics Viewer so you can create and view R graphics that many feel are superior to what can be found in SAS/Graph.

The Bridge to R for SAS users is available now. This release is a Community Preview and will operate until October 31, 2008. After that date, you will have the option to purchase a license if you decide you would like to continue using it. The price for an annual license is $49.95.

The Bridge to R for SAS Users requires you to be running SAS 9.2 on a Windows desktop platform (tested with XP Pro, Vista Ultimate 32 and Vista Ultimate 64). If you want to read SAS data sets directly using R, you will need to download and install the SAS ODBC driver from the SAS web site. If you don't want to go through the process of setting up the SAS ODBC driver, you can use the CSV option instead. Amazingly, there's virtually no difference in execution time between using a CSV file or the SAS ODBC driver when reading data sets of less than 50,000 records and 20 or so variables.

I have put together a short four minute screen cast that demonstrates how the Bridge to R for SAS Users integrates into the SAS environment and how the Bridge is used. You can view the screen cast at the MineQuest, LLC website. I go pretty fast at the beginning of the screen cast so you may want to press the "pause" control at the bottom of the screen at various times.

If you wish to use the software during the Community Preview period, you can download the Installation and Users Guide as well as the actual program.


Philip Rack
MineQuest, LLC
SAS & WPS Consulting and Software Development
Tel: (614) 457-3714