Total Drek

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Those crazy kids at STATA Stata.

While working with the fabulous statistical package STATA* Stata* yesterday I ran into something that gave me a laugh. Please forgive me for reproducing a section of the help documentation:

help simulate

help for simulate manual: [R] simulate

Monte Carlo simulation

simulate "command" exp_list , reps(#) [ dots saving(filename) double every(#) replace nocheck noisily trace ]


simulate eases the programming task of performing Monte Carlo type simulations. Typing "simulate "command" exp_list , reps(#)" runs command for # replications and collects the results in exp_list.

command defines the command that performs a single simulation. command must be bound in double quotes. Compound double quotes (`" and "') are needed if the command itself contains double quotes. Most Stata commands and user-written programs can be used with simulate.

exp_list specifies the expressions to be calculated after the execution of command. The expressions in exp_list follow the grammar given in help exp_list.


reps(#) is not optional -- it specifies the number of replications to be performed.

dots requests a dot be placed on the screen at the beginning of each replication, thus providing entertainment when a large number of reps() are requested. [emphasis added]

Well, it's nice to know they're including options for the sheer entertainment value of it. I actually find this little tidbit to be very reassuring- if a stats package is programmed by folks with a sense of humor, I'm oddly more willing to trust it. As opposed to SAS, which was programmed by some other sort of people.

Still, I like to think I have better things to do than watch a bunch of dots...

* There has been some debate over on Jeremy's blog about whether or not it should be written STATA or Stata. I have generally spelled it in all caps, but Jeremy is rather insistent that, as it is not an acronym, it should be spelled "Stata." I'm really pretty open on the subject and like to compromise so I propose we use the spelling supplied by Stata itself when STATA opens. I refer, of course, to the fine ASCII graphics that display on startup. Based on this standard, Jeremy and I should be spelling it: STaTa. Now that is 1337!

UPDATE: In the comments to this post, Jeremy proceeded to whup my ass on this issue, so the correct spelling I now concede to be "Stata." The post has been changed (Sort of) to reflect such.


Blogger Brayden said...

My favorite entertainment feature in a stats package is in Tom Snijder's StocNet software, in which little colored bars bleep up and down the screen while the software tabulates your results. If it actually made bleeping sounds, the entertainment feature would be complete.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Sarahliz said...

The manuals have it spelled STaT too (or possibly sTaTa, hard to tell). My favorite Stata entertainment was years ago when I looked up loop in the Stata 7 user's guide index. It was in my early years of grad school and I was tired and strung out enough that it didn't register as a joke initially.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger jeremy said...

Or, you can look at virtually any page in the manual.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger jeremy said...

The manuals do not spell it STaTa. The logo says STaTa. The manuals are quite clear on how Stata is spelled.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Drek said...

Jeremy: My friend, I do not mean to annoy you. I am, however, an asshole, so it tends to happen regardless of my intentions. I stand corrected as I find the FAQ quite convincing.

Sarahliz: I had never actually noticed that before- I am thrilled beyond belief by it.

Brayden: Yeah, Tom is a wild guy. You should see his presentation on Siena!

Thursday, May 18, 2006 1:10:00 PM  
Blogger Sarahliz said...

Oops. I meant the Stata logo. And I was just being snarky and obnoxious. I always write Stata. Even if it was STATA, I'd write Stata (or stata) most of the time out of laziness.

Thursday, May 18, 2006 1:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Victor said...

And all I wanted to know when I did this Google search was how to get stuff into and out of an exp_list. Weird that I just was reading about how to do simulations in STATA and I didn't pick that one up at all. Nice.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006 8:47:00 PM  

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