MEANS Procedure

Concepts: MEANS Procedure

Using Class Variables

Using TYPES and WAYS Statements

The TYPES statement controls which of the available class variables PROC MEANS uses to subgroup the data. The unique combinations of these active class variable values that occur together in any single observation of the input data set determine the data subgroups. Each subgroup that PROC MEANS generates for a given type is called a level of that type. Note that for all types, the inactive class variables can still affect the total observation count of the rejection of observations with missing values.
When you use a WAYS statement, PROC MEANS generates types that correspond to every possible unique combination of n class variables chosen from the complete set of class variables. For example
proc means;
 class a b c d e;
 ways 2 3;
is equivalent to
proc means;
 class a b c d e;
 types a*b a*c a*d a*e b*c b*d b*e c*d c*e d*e
       a*b*c a*b*d a*b*e a*c*d a*c*e a*d*e
       b*c*d b*c*e c*d*e;
If you omit the TYPES statement and the WAYS statement, then PROC MEANS uses all class variables to subgroup the data (the NWAY type) for displayed output and computes all types ( ) for the output data set.

Ordering the Class Values

PROC MEANS determines the order of each class variable in any type by examining the order of that class variable in the corresponding one-way type. You see the effect of this behavior in the options ORDER=DATA or ORDER=FREQ. When PROC MEANS subdivides the input data set into subsets, the classification process does not apply the options ORDER=DATA or ORDER=FREQ independently for each subgroup. Instead, one frequency and data order is established for all output based on a nonsubdivided view of the entire data set. For example, consider the following statements:
data pets;
 input Pet $ Gender $;
dog  m
dog  f
dog  f
dog  f
cat  m
cat  m
cat  f

proc means data=pets order=freq;
   class pet gender;
The statements produce this output.
Ordering Class Values
                                 The SAS System                                1

                              The MEANS Procedure

                          Pet         Gender      Obs
                          dog         f             3

                                      m             1

                          cat         f             1

                                      m             2
In the example, PROC MEANS does not list male cats before female cats. Instead, it determines the order of gender for all types over the entire data set. PROC MEANS found more observations for female pets (f=4, m=3).

Computational Resources

PROC MEANS uses the same memory allocation scheme across all operating environments. When class variables are involved, PROC MEANS must keep a copy of each unique value of each class variable in memory. You can estimate the memory requirements to group the class variable by calculating
is the number of unique values for the class variable.
is the combined unformatted and formatted length of .
is some constant on the order of 32 bytes (64 for 64-bit architectures).
When you use the GROUPINTERNAL option in the CLASS statement, is simply the unformatted length of .
Each unique combination of class variables, for a given type forms a level in that type. See TYPES Statement. You can estimate the maximum potential space requirements for all levels of a given type, when all combinations actually exist in the data (a complete type), by calculating
is a constant based on the number of variables analyzed and the number of statistics calculated (unless you request QMETHOD=OS to compute the quantiles).
are the number of unique levels for the active class variables of the given type.
Clearly, the memory requirements of the levels overwhelm the levels of the class variables. For this reason, PROC MEANS can open one or more utility files and write the levels of one or more types to disk. These types are either the primary types that PROC MEANS built during the input data scan or the derived types.
If PROC MEANS must write partially complete primary types to disk while it processes input data, then one or more merge passes can be required to combine type levels in memory with the levels on disk. In addition, if you use an order other than DATA for any class variable, then PROC MEANS groups the completed types on disk. For this reason, the peak disk space requirements can be more than twice the memory requirements for a given type.
When PROC MEANS uses a temporary work file, you will receive the following note in the SAS log:
Processing on disk occurred during summarization.
Peak disk usage was approximately nnn
Adjusting MEMSIZE or REALMEMSIZE may improve performance.
In most cases processing ends normally.
When you specify class variables in a CLASS statement, the amount of data-dependent memory that PROC MEANS uses before it writes to a utility file is controlled by the SAS system option REALMEMSIZE=. The value of REALMEMSIZE= indicates the amount of real as opposed to virtual memory that SAS can expect to allocate. PROC MEANS determines how much data-dependent memory to use before writing to utility files by calculating the lesser of these two values:
  • the value of REALMEMSIZE=
  • 0.8*(M-U), where M is the value of MEMSIZE= and U is the amount of memory that is already in use
REALMEMSIZE also affects the behavior of other memory intensive PROCs such as PROC SORT.
As an alternative, you can use the PROC option SUMSIZE=. Like the PROC option SORTSIZE=, SUMSIZE= sets the memory threshold where disk-based operations begin. For best results, set SUMSIZE= to less than the amount of real memory that is likely to be available for the task. For efficiency reasons, PROC MEANS can internally round up the value of SUMSIZE=. SUMSIZE= has no effect unless you specify class variables.
Operating Environment Information: The REALMEMSIZE= SAS system option is not available in all operating environments. For details, see the SAS Companion for your operating environment.
If PROC MEANS reports that there is insufficient memory, then increase SUMSIZE= (or REALMEMSIZE=). A SUMSIZE= (or REALMEMSIZE=) value that is greater than MEMSIZE= will have no effect. Therefore, you might also need to increase MEMSIZE=. If PROC MEANS reports insufficient disk space, then increase the WORK space allocation. See the SAS documentation for your operating environment for more information about how to adjust your computation resource parameters.
Another way to enhance performance is by carefully applying the TYPES or WAYS statement, limiting the computations to only those combinations of class variables that you are interested in. In particular, significant resource savings can be achieved by not requesting the combination of all class variables.

In-Database Processing for PROC MEANS

When large data sets are stored in an external database, the transfer of the data sets to computers that run SAS can be impacted by performance, security, and resource management issues. SAS in-database processing can greatly reduce data transfer by having the database perform the initial data aggregation.
In-database processing for PROC MEANS supports the following database management systems:
  • DB2
  • Netezza
  • Oracle
  • Teradata
Under the correct conditions, PROC MEANS generates an SQL query based on the statements that are used and the output statistics that are specified in the PROC step. If class variables are specified, the procedure creates an SQL GROUP BY clause that represents the n-way type. The result set that is created when the aggregation query executes in the database is read by SAS into the internal PROC MEANS data structure, and all subsequent types are derived from the original n-way type to form the final analysis results. When SAS format definitions have been deployed in the database, formatting of class variables occurs in the database. If the SAS format definitions have not been deployed in the database, the in-database aggregation occurs on the raw values, and the relevant formats are applied by SAS as the results' set is merged into the PROC MEANS internal structures. Multi-label formatting is always done by SAS using the initially aggregated result set that is returned by the database. The CLASS, TYPES, WAYS, VAR, BY, FORMAT, and WHERE statements are supported when PROC MEANS is processed inside the database. FREQ, ID, IDMIN, IDMAX, and IDGROUPS are not supported. The following statistics are supported for in-database processing: N, NMISS, MIN, MAX, RANGE, SUM, SUMWGT, MEAN, CSS, USS, VAR, STD, STDERR, PRET, UCLM, LCLM, CLM, and CV.
Weighting for in-database processing is supported only for N, NMISS, MIN, MAX, RANGE, SUM, SUMWGT, and MEAN.
The following statistics are currently not supported for in-database processing: SKEW, KURT, P1, P5, P10, P20, P25/Q1, P30, P40, P50/MEDIAN, P60, P70, P75/Q3, P80, P90, P95, P99, and MODE.
The SQLGENERATION system option or LIBNAME statement option controls whether and how in-database procedures are run inside the database. By default, the in-database procedures are run inside the database when possible. There are many data set options that will prevent in-database processing: OBS=, FIRSTOBS=, RENAME=, and DBCONDITION=. For a complete listing, refer to “In-Database Procedures in Teradata” in SAS/ACCESS for Relational Databases: Reference.
In-database processing can greatly reduce the volume of data transferred to the procedure if there are no class variables (one row is returned) or if the selected class variables have a small number of unique values. However, because PROC MEANS loads the result set into its internal structures, the memory requirements for the SAS process will be equivalent to what would have been required without in-database processing. The CPU requirements for the SAS process should be significantly reduced if the bulk of the data summarization occurs inside the database. The real time required for summarization should be significantly reduced because many database-process queries are in parallel.
For more information about database processing, see SAS/ACCESS for Relational Databases: Reference.