SSCC News for March 2002

Inside this issue...

NORMAN Status Report
Converting SAS Version 6 Data Sets to Version 8
Linux SAS and Stat/Transfer
SPSS 11.0 Available for Licensed PC Users
SSCC Spring Training Schedule

Norman Status Report

NORMAN had a hardware failure when it was rebooted after adding some memory during Wednesday's down time. Our hardware service representative came this morning and replaced Norman's system disk. We are currently reinstalling the operating system but this will likely take all day. UNIX SPSS users are the main users inconvenienced by this down time as SPSS is not available on any other UNIX computer. We do have SPSS on WinStat1 and WinStat2 though which will hopefully serve as a temporary work-around for some.

Converting SAS Version 6 Data Sets to Version 8

As we announced in January's SSCC News, SSCC's oldest UNIX computer, GUY, is being retired this year. All statistical software, except SAS, has been removed from GUY and we plan to remove SAS in August. This means that the only server available to all SSCC users with SAS installed will be KITE, which is a Linux server. (Members of CDE can continue to run SAS on MARIAH and members of Sociology and Rural Sociology can continue to run SAS on ELAINE although these servers are much slower than KITE.)

Prior to version 7, SAS data sets could only be read by the same operating system that created them. Beginning with version 7, they are much more portable. Data sets made with version 7 or 8 of SAS on one of SSCC's Tru64 computers can be used by the new Linux computers without any changes, but data sets made with version 6 cannot.

Even though we upgraded from version 6 of SAS almost three years ago, we still have a lot of version 6 SAS data sets on our UNIX system. To make the transition from GUY to KITE smoother, SSCC staff have written a program that will find all the version 6 SAS data sets on our UNIX system and convert them to version 8. We will begin this conversion process as soon as we receive some additional disk space we are ordering with Capital Exercise funds. So if you are willing to wait, you don't have to do anything about your version 6 SAS data sets. But if you want to use KITE now, you will need to convert your own version 6 data sets first. Converting a SAS version 6 data set to version 8 is actually very simple. The SAS program only requires four lines of code and converts all the SAS data sets in a single directory. So, if you want to do this yourself, we have written a handout to assist you which explains how to first find all your version 6 SAS data sets and then how to convert them to version 8. A SAS macro program is included to help automate the process.

Linux SAS and Stat/Transfer

While SAS for UNIX and SAS for Linux read the same data sets, we have found that subtle differences in the file formats are preventing Stat/Transfer from converting SAS data sets that were created in Linux and have missing values to any other format that supports missing values, including Stata and SPSS. It halts during conversion, giving a "floating point error" message.

We've been in touch with Circle Systems (makers of Stat/Transfer) about this issue, and they are working on it. In the meantime, we continue to recommend you use KITE for running SAS jobs since it is so much faster than the UNIX servers, especially GUY. When you have a final data set that is ready to be converted to some other format, run the following SAS program on a UNIX server that has SAS (GUY, ELAINE, or MARIAH):

data 'copy';
        set 'original';

This will create a copy of your data set which can be converted by Stat/Transfer.


Stata Corp. recently released an upgrade to Stata, the Stata Special Edition. Stata/SE adds support for up to 32,766 variables (compared to 2,047 for Intercooled Stata), strings up to 244 characters long (compared to 80) and matrices up to 11,000x11,000 (compared to 800x800). The format for data sets is slightly different to accommodate the longer strings, but they simultaneously released an update for Intercooled Stata so that it can read Stata/SE data sets.

Stata/SE has been installed on all SSCC computers running Stata, replacing Intercooled Stata. If you are running Stata on your own computer and want Stata/SE, you'll want to order it soon because prices will increase on April 30th. If you don't need Stata/SE, be sure to update your Intercooled Stata so it can read Stata/SE data sets. You can do this within Stata by typing update all.

For more information see Stata's web site.

Circle Systems also released a new version of Stat/Transfer that can work with Stata/SE data sets. It has been installed on all SSCC computers. If you have your own copy, you can upgrade it by clicking on Help, About.

SPSS 11.0 Available for Licensed PC Users

The upgrade to SPSS version 11 is now available for SSCC members who use SPSS on their PCs. This version offers some new statistical procedures, allows CSV file input with text qualifiers, offers more arithmetic functions and regression options, and much more. For a complete list, visit SPSS's web pages. Contact the consultant (, 2-9917, or stop by room 4315) to get your copy of SPSS upgraded.

SSCC Spring Training Schedule

There are still lots of SSCC training opportunities this semester:

The schedule and required preregistration information is available at SSCC's training web pages.

Go to previous editions of SSCC News.
Go to the SSCC Home Page.

© 2002 University of Wisconsin Social Science Computing Cooperative