Functions and CALL Routines

# CALL ALLCOMB Routine

Generates all combinations of the values of n variables taken k at a time in a minimal change order.
 Category: Combinatorial

## Syntax

 CALL ALLCOMB(count, k, variable-1, ..., variable-n);

### Arguments

count

specifies an integer variable that is assigned from 1 to the number of combinations in a loop.

k

specifies an integer constant, variable, or expression between 1 and n, inclusive, that specifies the number of items in each combination.

variable

specifies either all numeric variables, or all character variables that have the same length. The values of these variables are permuted.

 Requirement: Initialize these variables before calling the ALLCOMB routine. Restriction: Specify no more than 33 items. If you need to find combinations of more than 33 items, use the CALL ALLCOMBI routine. Tip: After calling the ALLCOMB routine, the first k variables contain the values in one combination.

### CALL ALLCOMB Processing

Use the CALL ALLCOMB routine in a loop where the first argument to CALL ALLCOMB accepts each integral value from 1 to the number of combinations, and where k is constant. The number of combinations can be computed by using the COMB function. On the first call, the argument types and lengths are checked for consistency. On each subsequent call, the values of two variables are interchanged.

If you call the ALLCOMB routine with the first argument out of sequence, the results are not useful. In particular, if you initialize the variables and then immediately call ALLCOMB with a first argument of j, then you will not get the jth combination (except when j is 1). To get the jth combination, you must call ALLCOMB j times, with the first argument taking values from 1 through j in that exact order.

### Using the CALL ALLCOMB Routine with Macros

You can call the ALLCOMB routine when you use the %SYSCALL macro. In this case, the variable arguments are not required to be the same type or length. If %SYSCALL identifies an argument as numeric, then %SYSCALL reformats the returned value.

If an error occurs during the execution of the CALL ALLCOMB routine, then both of the following values are set:

• &SYSERR is assigned a value that is greater than 4.

• &SYSINFO is assigned a value that is less than -100.

If there are no errors, then &SYSERR is set to zero, and &SYSINFO is set to one of the following values:

• 0 if count=1

• j if the values of variable-j and variable-k were interchanged, where j<k

• -1 if no values were interchanged because all distinct combinations were already generated

SAS provides four functions or CALL routines for generating combinations:

• ALLCOMB generates all possible combinations of the values, missing or non-missing, of n variables. The values can be any numeric or character values. Each combination is formed from the previous combination by removing one value and inserting another value.

• LEXCOMB generates all distinct combinations of the non-missing values of several variables. The values can be any numeric or character values. The combinations are generated in lexicographic order.

• ALLCOMBI generates all combinations of the indices of n items, where indices are integers from 1 to n. Each combination is formed from the previous combination by removing one index and inserting another index.

• LEXCOMBI generates all combinations of the indices of n items, where indices are integers from 1 to n. The combinations are generated in lexicographic order.

ALLCOMBI is the fastest of these functions and CALL routines. LEXCOMB is the slowest.

### Example 1: Using CALL ALLCOMB in a DATA Step

The following is an example of the CALL ALLCOMB routine that is used with the DATA step.

```data _null_;
array x[5] \$3 ('ant' 'bee' 'cat' 'dog' 'ewe');
n=dim(x);
k=3;
ncomb=comb(n,k);
do j=1 to ncomb+1;
call allcomb(j, k, of x[*]);
put j 5. +3 x1-x3;
end;
run;```

SAS writes the following output to the log:

```    1   ant bee cat
2   ant bee ewe
3   ant bee dog
4   ant cat dog
5   ant cat ewe
6   ant dog ewe
7   bee dog ewe
8   bee dog cat
9   bee ewe cat
10   dog ewe cat
11   dog ewe cat```

### Example 2: Using CALL ALLCOMB with Macros and Displaying the Return Code

The following is an example of the CALL ALLCOMB routine that is used with macros. The output includes values for the %SYSINFO macro.

```%macro test;
%let x1=ant;
%let x2=-.1234;
%let x3=1e10;
%let x4=hippopotamus;
%let x5=zebra;
%let k=2;
%let ncomb=%sysfunc(comb(5,&k));
%do j=1 %to &ncomb+1;
%syscall allcomb(j, k, x1, x2, x3, x4, x5);
%let jfmt=%qsysfunc(putn(&j,5.));
%put &jfmt:  &x1 &x2 &pad sysinfo=&sysinfo;
%end;
%mend;

%test
```

SAS writes the following output to the log:

```   1:  ant -0.1234  sysinfo=0
2:  ant zebra  sysinfo=2
3:  ant hippopotamus  sysinfo=2
4:  ant 10000000000  sysinfo=2
5:  -0.1234 10000000000  sysinfo=1
6:  -0.1234 zebra  sysinfo=2
7:  -0.1234 hippopotamus  sysinfo=2
8:  10000000000 hippopotamus  sysinfo=1
9:  10000000000 zebra  sysinfo=2
10:  hippopotamus zebra  sysinfo=1
11:  hippopotamus zebra  sysinfo=-1```

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