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Comparison with SAS

For potential users coming from SAS this page is meant to demonstrate how different SAS operations would be performed in pandas.

If you’re new to pandas, you might want to first read through 10 Minutes to pandas to familiarize yourself with the library.

As is customary, we import pandas and numpy as follows:

In [1]: import pandas as pd

In [2]: import numpy as np

Note

Throughout this tutorial, the pandas DataFrame will be displayed by calling df.head(), which displays the first N (default 5) rows of the DataFrame. This is often used in interactive work (e.g. Jupyter notebook or terminal) - the equivalent in SAS would be:

proc print data=df(obs=5);
run;

Data Structures

General Terminology Translation

pandas SAS
DataFrame data set
column variable
row observation
groupby BY-group
NaN .

DataFrame / Series

A DataFrame in pandas is analogous to a SAS data set - a two-dimensional data source with labeled columns that can be of different types. As will be shown in this document, almost any operation that can be applied to a data set using SAS’s DATA step, can also be accomplished in pandas.

A Series is the data structure that represents one column of a DataFrame. SAS doesn’t have a separate data structure for a single column, but in general, working with a Series is analogous to referencing a column in the DATA step.

Index

Every DataFrame and Series has an Index - which are labels on the rows of the data. SAS does not have an exactly analogous concept. A data set’s row are essentially unlabeled, other than an implicit integer index that can be accessed during the DATA step (_N_).

In pandas, if no index is specified, an integer index is also used by default (first row = 0, second row = 1, and so on). While using a labeled Index or MultiIndex can enable sophisticated analyses and is ultimately an important part of pandas to understand, for this comparison we will essentially ignore the Index and just treat the DataFrame as a collection of columns. Please see the indexing documentation for much more on how to use an Index effectively.

Data Input / Output

Constructing a DataFrame from Values

A SAS data set can be built from specified values by placing the data after a datalines statement and specifying the column names.

data df;
    input x y;
    datalines;
    1 2
    3 4
    5 6
    ;
run;

A pandas DataFrame can be constructed in many different ways, but for a small number of values, it is often convenient to specify it as a python dictionary, where the keys are the column names and the values are the data.

In [3]: df = pd.DataFrame({
   ...:           'x': [1, 3, 5],
   ...:           'y': [2, 4, 6]})
   ...: 

In [4]: df
Out[4]: 
   x  y
0  1  2
1  3  4
2  5  6

Reading External Data

Like SAS, pandas provides utilities for reading in data from many formats. The tips dataset, found within the pandas tests (csv) will be used in many of the following examples.

SAS provides PROC IMPORT to read csv data into a data set.

proc import datafile='tips.csv' dbms=csv out=tips replace;
    getnames=yes;
run;

The pandas method is read_csv(), which works similarly.

In [5]: url = 'https://raw.github.com/pandas-dev/pandas/master/pandas/tests/data/tips.csv'

In [6]: tips = pd.read_csv(url)

In [7]: tips.head()
Out[7]: 
   total_bill   tip     sex smoker  day    time  size
0       16.99  1.01  Female     No  Sun  Dinner     2
1       10.34  1.66    Male     No  Sun  Dinner     3
2       21.01  3.50    Male     No  Sun  Dinner     3
3       23.68  3.31    Male     No  Sun  Dinner     2
4       24.59  3.61  Female     No  Sun  Dinner     4

Like PROC IMPORT, read_csv can take a number of parameters to specify how the data should be parsed. For example, if the data was instead tab delimited, and did not have column names, the pandas command would be:

tips = pd.read_csv('tips.csv', sep='\t', header=None)

# alternatively, read_table is an alias to read_csv with tab delimiter
tips = pd.read_table('tips.csv', header=None)

In addition to text/csv, pandas supports a variety of other data formats such as Excel, HDF5, and SQL databases. These are all read via a pd.read_* function. See the IO documentation for more details.

Exporting Data

The inverse of PROC IMPORT in SAS is PROC EXPORT

proc export data=tips outfile='tips2.csv' dbms=csv;
run;

Similarly in pandas, the opposite of read_csv is to_csv(), and other data formats follow a similar api.

tips.to_csv('tips2.csv')

Data Operations

Operations on Columns

In the DATA step, arbitrary math expressions can be used on new or existing columns.

data tips;
    set tips;
    total_bill = total_bill - 2;
    new_bill = total_bill / 2;
run;

pandas provides similar vectorized operations by specifying the individual Series in the DataFrame. New columns can be assigned in the same way.

In [8]: tips['total_bill'] = tips['total_bill'] - 2

In [9]: tips['new_bill'] = tips['total_bill'] / 2.0

In [10]: tips.head()
Out[10]: 
   total_bill   tip     sex smoker  day    time  size  new_bill
0       14.99  1.01  Female     No  Sun  Dinner     2     7.495
1        8.34  1.66    Male     No  Sun  Dinner     3     4.170
2       19.01  3.50    Male     No  Sun  Dinner     3     9.505
3       21.68  3.31    Male     No  Sun  Dinner     2    10.840
4       22.59  3.61  Female     No  Sun  Dinner     4    11.295

Filtering

Filtering in SAS is done with an if or where statement, on one or more columns.

data tips;
    set tips;
    if total_bill > 10;
run;

data tips;
    set tips;
    where total_bill > 10;
    /* equivalent in this case - where happens before the
       DATA step begins and can also be used in PROC statements */
run;

DataFrames can be filtered in multiple ways; the most intuitive of which is using boolean indexing

In [11]: tips[tips['total_bill'] > 10].head()
Out[11]: 
   total_bill   tip     sex smoker  day    time  size
0       14.99  1.01  Female     No  Sun  Dinner     2
2       19.01  3.50    Male     No  Sun  Dinner     3
3       21.68  3.31    Male     No  Sun  Dinner     2
4       22.59  3.61  Female     No  Sun  Dinner     4
5       23.29  4.71    Male     No  Sun  Dinner     4

If/Then Logic

In SAS, if/then logic can be used to create new columns.

data tips;
    set tips;
    format bucket $4.;

    if total_bill < 10 then bucket = 'low';
    else bucket = 'high';
run;

The same operation in pandas can be accomplished using the where method from numpy.

In [12]: tips['bucket'] = np.where(tips['total_bill'] < 10, 'low', 'high')

In [13]: tips.head()
Out[13]: 
   total_bill   tip     sex smoker  day    time  size bucket
0       14.99  1.01  Female     No  Sun  Dinner     2   high
1        8.34  1.66    Male     No  Sun  Dinner     3    low
2       19.01  3.50    Male     No  Sun  Dinner     3   high
3       21.68  3.31    Male     No  Sun  Dinner     2   high
4       22.59  3.61  Female     No  Sun  Dinner     4   high

Date Functionality

SAS provides a variety of functions to do operations on date/datetime columns.

data tips;
    set tips;
    format date1 date2 date1_plusmonth mmddyy10.;
    date1 = mdy(1, 15, 2013);
    date2 = mdy(2, 15, 2015);
    date1_year = year(date1);
    date2_month = month(date2);
    * shift date to beginning of next interval;
    date1_next = intnx('MONTH', date1, 1);
    * count intervals between dates;
    months_between = intck('MONTH', date1, date2);
run;

The equivalent pandas operations are shown below. In addition to these functions pandas supports other Time Series features not available in Base SAS (such as resampling and and custom offsets) - see the timeseries documentation for more details.

In [14]: tips['date1'] = pd.Timestamp('2013-01-15')

In [15]: tips['date2'] = pd.Timestamp('2015-02-15')

In [16]: tips['date1_year'] = tips['date1'].dt.year

In [17]: tips['date2_month'] = tips['date2'].dt.month

In [18]: tips['date1_next'] = tips['date1'] + pd.offsets.MonthBegin()

In [19]: tips['months_between'] = (tips['date2'].dt.to_period('M') -
   ....:                           tips['date1'].dt.to_period('M'))
   ....: 

In [20]: tips[['date1','date2','date1_year','date2_month',
   ....:       'date1_next','months_between']].head()
   ....: 
Out[20]: 
       date1      date2  date1_year  date2_month date1_next months_between
0 2013-01-15 2015-02-15        2013            2 2013-02-01             25
1 2013-01-15 2015-02-15        2013            2 2013-02-01             25
2 2013-01-15 2015-02-15        2013            2 2013-02-01             25
3 2013-01-15 2015-02-15        2013            2 2013-02-01             25
4 2013-01-15 2015-02-15        2013            2 2013-02-01             25

Selection of Columns

SAS provides keywords in the DATA step to select, drop, and rename columns.

data tips;
    set tips;
    keep sex total_bill tip;
run;

data tips;
    set tips;
    drop sex;
run;

data tips;
    set tips;
    rename total_bill=total_bill_2;
run;

The same operations are expressed in pandas below.

# keep
In [21]: tips[['sex', 'total_bill', 'tip']].head()
Out[21]: 
      sex  total_bill   tip
0  Female       14.99  1.01
1    Male        8.34  1.66
2    Male       19.01  3.50
3    Male       21.68  3.31
4  Female       22.59  3.61

# drop
In [22]: tips.drop('sex', axis=1).head()

© 2008–2012, AQR Capital Management, LLC, Lambda Foundry, Inc. and PyData Development Team
Licensed under the 3-clause BSD License.
http://pandas.pydata.org/pandas-docs/version/0.20.2/comparison_with_sas.html