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       Home  |  Conference Highlights  

           SESUG 2008 Conference Highlights

  Preliminary 2008 Conference Schedule

Date Time Event
  8 am – 5 pm Weekend Workshops (extra fee events)
  12:30 pm – 5:30 pm Conference Registration
  4:30 pm – 5:30 pm “Getting the Most Out of Your SESUG Conference” presentation by Andy Kuligowski
  6 pm – 7 pm Opening Session with Keynote Address by Stuart Nisbet “SAS® Information Visualization - Past, Present, and Future”
  7:30 pm – 10 pm Welcome Reception and Sweet 16 Sock Hop
  7:30 am – 5 pm Conference Registration
  8 am – 5:30 pm Concurrent Academic Sessions, Hands-On Workshops, SAS® Demo Room and Exhibits
  12 noon – 1:30 pm Meet the Presenter’s Lunch or Student Scholarship Luncheon
  1:30 pm - 2:30 pm SAS® Hour in the SAS® Demo Room
  8:30 pm – 10 pm Dessert Reception for Volunteers
  7:30 am – 5 pm Conference Registration
  8 am – 5:30 pm Concurrent Academic Sessions, Hands-On Workshops, SAS® Demo Room and Exhibits
  12 noon – 1:30 pm Meet the Presenter’s Lunch
  7 pm – 9:30 pm SAS® Customer Appreciation Mixer and Silent Auction
  7:30 am – 10 pm Conference Registration
  8 am – 12 noon Concurrent Academic Sessions, Hands-On Workshops, SAS® Demo Room and Exhibits
  12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Closing Session
  2 pm – 5 pm SAS Certification Testing


  Weekend Workshops

SESUG is pleased to offer 6 extra-fee pre-conference Weekend Workshops on Sunday, October 19th.  The half-day workshops are $125 if you register before midnight on September 18th and increase to $150 after that time.  The workshop tuition includes a copy of the workshop materials and refreshments.  If you need to arrive on Saturday to attend a morning workshop on Sunday, discounted lodging at the conference hotel rate is available on Saturday.

Time Instructor Weekend Workshop
8am -12 noon Warren Repole Modernizing Your SAS® Code, or How to Avoid Becoming a SAS® Dinosaur
8am -12 noon Kirk Lafler PROC SQL Programming: The Basics and Beyond
8am -12 noon Mal Foley Taming PROC REPORT
1 – 5 pm Stephanie Thompson Getting Your Data into SAS®
1 – 5 pm Ben Cochran Introduction to the SAS® Macro Facility
1 – 5 pm David Cassell ODS Statistical Graphics: How You SHOULD Be Analyzing Data

Photo of Warren Repole Modernizing Your SAS® Code, or How to Avoid Becoming a SAS® Dinosaur
Instructor:  Warren Repole, SAS Institute
Sunday, October 19th, 8 am – 12 noon

New features of the SAS programming language often permit the replacement of complex algorithms and clunky workarounds with more elegant code.  Some enhancements support the creation of more efficient solutions.  Occasionally, optimal techniques have existed for a while, but they have been overlooked or underutilized.  Whether you are a SAS programmer with many years of experience or a novice user who is responsible for maintaining legacy programs, implementing updated approaches may allow you to streamline your SAS applications, expedite the development and debugging process, and minimize future maintenance of the code.  This seminar covers a wide range of discrete tasks with programming solutions involving the DATA step, Base SAS procedures, formats and functions, SAS macro language, SAS/GRAPH, and the SAS/ACCESS interface to PC files.  While some of the solutions exploit SAS9 enhancements, many of them rely on features introduced in earlier SAS releases.  The basis for the presentation is his publication "Don't Be a SAS Dinosaur: Modernize Your SAS Code", which was introduced as a pre-conference seminar at SAS Global Forum 2007 and has been upgraded to include topics related to SAS 9.2.

Pre-Requisite:  SAS programming knowledge is necessary

Intended Audience:  Anyone who writes or maintains traditional SAS programs, i.e., DATA and PROC steps plus macro.

Course Materials:  Each attendee will receive a printed handout containing the examples demonstrated during the seminar. A CD of the material may be provided.

Warren Repole began using SAS software at the University of Florida in 1979 and has presented at SAS users group meetings since 1985.  He has taught SAS classes since 1992, joining the SAS Training Center in Rockville, Maryland in 1994.  Warren's specialties include DATA step and macro programming, SAS/GRAPH, and SAS/IntrNet.  He currently holds the SAS Certified Advanced Programmer for SAS(r)9 and SAS Certified Warehouse Development Specialist credentials.  In addition to his professional activities, Warren also has used SAS at home -- recreational SAS, so to speak -- to support such personal projects as reunion activities for his high school class and building championship-level fantasy baseball squads.  The basis for the presentation is his publication "Don't Be a SAS Dinosaur: Modernize Your SAS Code", which was introduced as a pre-conference seminar at SAS Global Forum 2007 and has been upgraded to include topics related to SAS 9.2.


Photo of Kirk Lafler PROC SQL Programming: The Basics and Beyond
Instructor:  Kirk Lafler
Sunday, October 19th, 8 am – 12 noon

Expand your PROC SQL skills with this PROC SQL Programming techniques course.  Numerous examples of this powerful database language will be presented to improve a user’s mastery of the language while providing examples of PROC SQL programming techniques.  Topics include strategies for creating and using virtual tables known as views, using case expressions to perform conditional logic and reclassification of data values, database design concepts including basic normalization rules, examples of implementing table integrity constraints, accessing information contained in read-only Dictionary tables, interfacing PROC SQL with the Macro facility to create macro variables and macro variable lists, rules associated with index creation and usage, simple and composite index constructs, undocumented and hard-to-find PROC SQL features for debugging purposes, complex queries using inner and outer join constructs including set operators, and query performance tuning strategies.

Pre-Requisite: SAS Basics course or 6-months SAS software experience

Intended Audience:  All SAS Users

Course Materials:  Detailed Course notes are provided

Kirk Paul Lafler is consultant and founder of Software Intelligence Corporation and has been programming in SAS since 1979.  As the author of four books including PROC SQL: Beyond the Basics Using SAS, Kirk has written more than two hundred papers that have appeared in professional journals and SAS User Group proceedings.  He has also been an Invited speaker and trainer at more than two hundred SAS user group conferences and meetings throughout North America.


Photo of Mal Foley Taming PROC REPORT
Instructor:  Mal Foley
Sunday, October 19th, 8 am – 12 noon

One of the most powerful PROCs in SAS is PROC REPORT.  Just this one procedure does the yeoman's work of PROC PRINT, SORT, FREQ, MEANS, and TABULATE, and PUT-Statement Formatting (DATA _NULL_) combined.  This seminar is for anyone interested in getting started with PROC REPORT.  Through programming examples, it completely examines how to produce listings through the PRINT, SORT and DATA _NULL_ aspects of PROC REPORT.  It also provides an introduction into the FREQ, MEANS and TABULATE aspects of PROC REPORT.  The course briefly looks at ODS, but suggests an alternative way to create DOC files.  Come experience what PROC REPORT can do for your SAS programming.

Pre-Requisite:  Basic knowledge of SAS

Intended Audience:  Anyone who wants to learn PROC REPORT.

Course Materials:  A certificate of participation, and a bound manual containing all the core slides presented in the seminar

Malachy “Mal” Foley is an independent SAS trainer/programmer/analyst with 20 years of real-world SAS experience.  He regularly conducts seminars and presents papers at SAS conferences and at companies around the country.  Mal consults to businesses, universities and government agencies in both North and South America.  He holds many speaking awards.  Mal is president of the Research Triangle SAS Users Group (RTSUG) and chaired the Pharmaceutical Industry SAS Users Group Conference (PharmaSUG) in 2006.


Photo of Stephanie Thompson Getting Your Data into SAS®
Instructor:  Stephanie Thompson
Sunday, October 19th, 1 – 5 pm

Where is your data stored?

  • Oracle tables
  • SQL Server tables
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Text file
  • All over the place
Over the years there has been a proliferation of ERP systems and other ways to collect and store data.  Many times you need data from different systems to complete a single analysis.  Sometimes getting data out can seen like quite a challenge.  Luckily, SAS has the capability to access many different types of data but also different ways to do so.  This workshop will cover how to use SAS to access data from a variety of sources through both presentation and live demonstration.  Some practical tips on which methods work best or are fastest will also be covered.

The following methods to access data will be covered in the workshop:

  • SAS libname engine
  • ODBC
  • PROC IMPORT (including the Import Wizard)
Pre-Requisite:  General understanding of external data sources and familiarity with SAS programming interface.

Intended Audience:  Intermediate

Course Materials:  A copy of the slides and an example program sheet.

Stephanie Thompson has over fifteen years experience applying statistical and modeling techniques to business problems in various manufacturing, retail, and academic environments using SAS and other programming languages.  She has a strong understanding of data structures, analytical tools, and operating environments.  Stephanie is a SAS Certified Base Programmer for SAS9.  She holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from St. Bonaventure University.


Photo of Ben Cochran Introduction to the SAS® Macro Facility
Instructor:  Ben Cochran
Sunday, October 19th, 1 – 5 pm

This workshop is intended to get the student 'up and running' with the SAS Macro facility.  The creation of macro variables, writing programs, using macro conditional logic and functions are all covered in this 1/2 day workshop.   The course ends with a discussion of the DATA step interface and how to pass DATA step variables to the macro facility.

Pre-Requisite:  A good understanding of Base SAS

Intended Audience:  Intermediate

Course Materials:  A 150 page “textbook” that is a copy of the slides, but also has supplementary material on most pages.

After working for SAS Institute for more that 11 years(in the professional services division), Ben left to start his own consulting and training company in the fall of 1996 - The Bedford Group.  As an affiliate member of SAS Institute's Alliance Partner program, Ben has been involved in many consulting projects over the last twelve years.  He has been teaching SAS courses since 1985.  Ben has authored and presented dozens of SAS papers since 1988.


Photo of David Cassell ODS Statistical Graphics: How You SHOULD Be Analyzing Data
Instructor:  David Cassell
Sunday, October 19th, 1 – 5 pm

ODS Statistical Graphics, introduced as an experimental system in SAS® 9.1, finally gives the data analyst the graphical diagnostics tools that SAS always lacked.  Now, it is easy to create graphics that show whether the statistical model was reasonable, and graphics that indicate where model deficiencies lie.  This leads to better analysis, easier modeling, and less coding to perform our tasks.  It also leads to better documentation, as well as easier creation of graphics for end-sers or publication.  The course begins with introductory material on ODS and ODS Statistical Graphics, followed by detailed examples showing how to best use ODS Statistical Graphics in a variety of standard SAS/STAT® procedures.  Data analysis and modeling using ODS Statistical Graphics in PROC REG, PROC GLM, PROC LOGISTIC, and PROC MIXED - along with the creation of a host of relevant graphs and plots - will be the focus of the majority of the course, followed by analysis using less common SAS statistical procedures.

Pre-Requisite:  Basic familiarity with stat procs such as PROC REG and PROC LOGISTIC, knowledge of stat concepts such as hypothesis tests, confidence intervals, and p-values.

Intended Audience:  Intermediate

Course Materials:  Copy of slides; CD of SAS programs and data used, additional SAS papers

David L. Cassell is director of Design Pathways, a consulting company based in Corvallis, Oregon providing survey sampling design and analysis, experimental design, statistical analysis, SAS programming, SAS systems design, and SAS training to public and private sector clients.  David has used SAS software since 1978.  He has given award-winning presentations at SUGI and regional SAS user group meetings, and is a member of the SAS-L Hall of Fame.


  Getting the Most Out of Your SESUG Conference

Photo of Andy Kuligowski Sunday, October 19th, 4:30 – 5:30 pm

You registered for SESUG, you paid your registration fee……now what?  Well, after 40+ SAS® conferences, I think I have some idea on how to maximize my investment in time and money when I attend an event.  This one-hour presentation will reveal my technique for “Getting the Most Out of My SESUG.”  I'll be mixing a few PowerPoint slides with some audience interaction with a game or two (prizes WILL be awarded!).  My goal is to help you maximize YOUR investment in the conference.  Join me on Sunday afternoon.

Andy Kuligowski has been a SAS user for over 20 years, with experience in the petrochemical and media research industries as well as in the public and non-profit sectors.  He’s chaired two SAS conferences in the past 11 years, and estimates that he has been an Invited speaker at over 40 SAS user group conferences and meetings.  As such, Andrew figures that, by now, he’s picked up a few tips on how to make the best – and worst – out of attending a conference.


  Opening Session and Keynote Address

Photo of Stuart Nisbet Sunday, October 19, 6 – 7 pm

We are very excited to have Stuart Nisbet as this year’s Opening Session Keynote Speaker on Sunday evening.  Stuart will be sharing “SAS Information Visualization - Past, Present, and Future”.  Since SAS' beginning, the primary focus has been effectively delivering intelligence from vast quantities of data.  One of the quickest and most effective ways to glean actionable intelligence is through information visualization, and SAS has provided many products and tailored solutions to assist in this process.  Through the years, hardware and operating system software advances have continually changed the visualization landscape, and SAS has worked diligently to not only keep up with the rapid pace of change, but also to foresee the future directions of their customers.  Stuart will provide an overview of the current state of information visualization and some insight into where SAS is headed to derive better answers faster from ever-growing data volumes.

As R&D director for the Business Intelligence Platform Division, Stuart Nisbet coordinates the software development for graphics and visualization, reusable components, the SAS Output Delivery System, device drivers, and the Retail Space Management suite at the company's Cary, N.C. headquarters.  Stuart joined SAS in 1987 as a software tester and moved up through the managerial ranks to director in 1994.  He previously worked in automation testing at IBM.  Stuart holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C.


  A womp bop a looma a womp bam boom!
  Celebrate the kick off to our Sweet 16 at the Hop!

Following Opening Session Sunday, October 19th, plan on attending the Welcome Reception and Sweet 16 Sock Hop!  We want to kick off the conference with a celebration of our 16th annual conference.  Gals - do you own a poodle skirt?  No, what about pedal pushers?  Guys – how about a leather jacket over the classic white t-shirt?   Saddle shoes, Keds®, or penny loafers?  We want everyone to come to our Sweet 16 Sock Hop dressed and ready to party and maybe we’ll learn a line dance or two!


  The Academic Program is What SESUG 08 Is All About!

We have a great academic line up for you.  There are some new presenters this year and some presenters from previous years you always want to hear again.  Below is a preliminary look at some presentations and presenters this year.

  • Business Intelligence
    • Introduction to the SAS® 9 Business Intelligence Platform:  A Tutorial by Greg Nelson ,Thotwave
    • Making Sense of Enterprise Business Intelligence (EBI) Log Configuration Files to Gain Valuable Insight on User Behavior by Sandeep Kharidhi and Piyush Patel, ChoicePoint Precision Marketing

  • Cornerstones
    • The Art of Debugging by Ian Whitlock
    • The DoW-Loop Unrolled by Paul Dorfman, Independent Consultant and Lessia Shajenko, Bank of America

  • Mining the Past, Seeing the Future
    • Model Validity Checks In Data Mining:  A Luxury or A Necessity? by Simon Sheather and Michael Speed, Texas A&M University
    • News that Makes or Breaks:  Text Mining the Wall Street Journal by Josh Hamilton, University of Alabama
    • Evaluating Predictive Models Part 1:  Computing and Interpreting the c Statistic and Part 2:  Assessing Whether More Complex Models Predict Better by Sigurd Hermansen, Westat

  • Statistics and Data Analysis
    • Don't Be Loopy:  Re-Sampling and Simulation the SAS® Way by David Cassell, Design Pathways
    • Count Regression Models in SAS by David Steenhard, Lexis Nexis

  • Seeing is Believing
    • Degree Data for All:  A Web Report Studio Reporting Solution by M. Paige Borden and Maureen Murray, University of Central Florida
    • You Use SAS, Your Boss Uses EXCEL, Guess Where Your Results are Going to Appear!  Digging Deeper into ODS to Put SAS Data into EXCEL by William Benjamin, Owl Computer Consultancy, LLC

  • Posters
    • Numeric Precision and Rounding in SAS®:  How to Protect the Validity of Your Results by Imelda Go, South Carolina Department of Education
    • Using the SAS/GRAPH® Annotate Facility to Create Timeline Plots by Erin Abner and Marta Mendiondo, University of Kentucky

  • Hands-On Workshops
    • PROC SQL for DATA Step Die-Hards by Christianna Williams, Abt Associates Inc.
    • PROC REPORT...Your How-to Guide to Producing Customized Summary Tables by Debbie Buck, D. B. & P. Associates (and Conference Chair for SAS Global Forum 2011)

  • Simple But Clever
    • An Optimal Way to Import Excel Worksheets into PC SAS by Nathaniel Derby, Statis Pro Data Analytics
    • JavaObj, the newest production component object by Richard DeVenezia, Independent Consultant
    • Breaking Up Isn’t Hard To Do After All by Toby Dunn, AMEDDC&S (CASS)

A complete list of the Preliminary Presentation Schedule for each day of the conference (but not the times yet!) is available. Check it out and begin researching what you want to attend!


  Monday or Tuesday Meet the Presenter’s Lunch

Rather than having lunch during Closing Session this year, we decided to shake things up.  We are giving you the opportunity to lunch with the presenters.  You get a choice of having lunch either on Monday or Tuesday from 12:00 noon - 1:30 pm.  We will post a listing of presenters who will be available at a later date.  So if you have a topic area that you need a little more information on, this is the time and place to get it.  The day you don’t choose to have lunch with a presenter you can have lunch at one of the hotel restaurants or take in lunch at one of the many local restaurants that are mostly within walking distance or a short trolley ride.


  SAS Hour

We are dedicating an entire hour to the SAS Demo Room on Monday afternoon from 1:30-2:30 pm.  If you are pressed for time during normal Demo Room hours, this will give you the opportunity to visit and learn more.  If you are able to get by the Demo Room, but feel you need just a little more time to talk with someone, this will be the perfect opportunity.  Get the most out of this hour by attending and talking with the SAS experts.


  SAS User Appreciation Mixer

SAS wants to show you their appreciation for being a SAS user and customer.  Tuesday evening from 7:00 – 9:30 mingle with other SESUG attendees and SAS staff and enjoy great food, drinks, and a beautiful evening outside near the pool and on the beach!


  Silent Auction

SESUG is continuing to have its traditional Silent Auction to benefit DonorsChoose.  The website describes DonorsChoose as “a simple way to provide students in need with resources that our public schools often lack.  At this not-for-profit website, teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn.  These ideas become classroom reality when concerned individuals, who we call Citizen Philanthropists, choose projects to fund.”

The Silent Auction will be held during the SAS User Appreciation Mixer on Tuesday Evening from 7:00 – 8:00 pm with winners being announced at 8:15pm.

If you are an artist, craftsman, collector, we need you!  If the business you work for gives away promotional items, consider donating something to the Silent Auction.  If you have a really great gift from Aunt Clara that you have never used and you would like to clean out your garage, consider donating the item for the Silent Auction.

We want to continue the success from last year when we donated over $1200 to DonorsChoose.  But we need your help!  Bring a piece of pottery, a picture, a piece of jewelry, a quilt or another treasure with you to SESUG for our Silent Auction.  Or, if you would prefer, you can ship the item to us in advance.  You will be acknowledged on the Silent Auction form attached to the item as the donor unless you wish to remain anonymous.  Whenever possible and for planning purposes, please notify Mel Go and David Maddox, our Charitable Events coordinators of your intended donations.


  Closing Session

We know it is the last day.  We know it is the final event.  But you don’t want to miss Closing Session this year.  You will find out where our next conference will be and you will be entered into a drawing for several prizes from SAS.  Past years' prizes include SAS educational and training opportunities, MP3 players, gym bags, computer gizmos, and free conference registrations.  Plan on attending!


  SAS Certification
  Testing 1-2-3

So, you’ve been studying and programming in SAS with a goal of becoming a certified SAS programmer.  But, your schedule and the SAS testing schedule have not been jiving lately.  Wouldn’t it be great if SAS scheduled a time to take the certification test at the SESUG conference hotel at the time of the SESUG conference?  Well guess what?  SAS is going to hold a certification testing time at the SESUG conference hotel right after Closing Session on Wednesday.  Another nice benefit is that SAS is offering a 20% discount for the test registration to SESUG 2008 attendees!  Register with SAS for a Programming Certification test or Predictive Modeling Certification test and take your certification test on Wednesday afternoon from 2:00-5:00 pm following Closing Session.  Just think!  You can attend the conference to gain valuable education and be one step closer to being a certified SAS programmer all in one fell swoop!