A few weeks ago, I posted a blog about the new release of WPS v3.3. Quite a few people and companies have been waiting for this release and I want to talk about why this is such an historic release. I also want to write about what this release means to data scientists.
First, this release is truly a blockbuster. With the Interop for R and Python modules, this is the first time as far as I am aware, where a software product allows a developer to easily use the Language of SAS, R and Python to implement a program, project or product – all in one development environment. As data science has evolved, R and Python have become more popular but BOTH lack the data management capabilities of WPS. With WPS, you not only get the language of SAS to process your data, but you also get a multitude of database engines to read\write and access data in the most popular databases.
The beauty of such integration is ease of development. If you have been a developer for as long as I have, you know the time demands of learning a new development environment. Now, with WPS v3.3 a developer can stay within a single development environment for all of their analytical development needs. The developer doesn’t have to learn an R IDE to write, test and execute R code. The same can be said for Python. The Python interface with WPS means having development control as well as execution control of python programs or similarly R programs.
Organizations want to take advantage of R and Python integration because it allows them to create and expand programs and projects. It will quickly become apparent for third-party developers, i.e. those who want to create vertical market applications that these two additional languages radically increase their tool sets going forward. For many, it also means running production jobs that are self-contained, meaning control and execution is controlled by WPS and not a bunch of separate tasks or processes having to be handled individually.
I have been fortunate to have had access to Alpha and Beta builds of WPS for v3.3 and was totally blown away by the improvements and additions that I saw. For example:
- The data step is faster.
- Inclusion of the Python programming language.
- Implementation of Proc IML.
- Faster data engine access for many databases including multi-threaded loading.
- More complete graphics output in statistical procedures.
- PDF support
But what makes this one of the most compelling releases is the integration of R and Python. With Python specifically, one now has access to executing Machine Learning code from WPS. I’m sure many of you who read this blog are involved in credit scoring, fraud detection, anti-money laundering, market basket analysis, loyalty programs and other real-time analytics. With Python and OpenGL and the CUDA libraries, one can now perform incredibly high speed processing of data on your desktop/server GPU.
When looking at the breadth of the WPS offering, it’s amazing how much is included for the data scientist who needs to work in multiple languages supporting data analytics. With all the database engines (including Hadoop), WPS Graphics, IML, R, Python, WPS Statistics, and WPS Time Series, I almost faint thinking what the cost would be for something similar from our competitor SAS Institute.
The other aspect of WPS v3.3 that is so enticing is the licensing. There are two components to this that deserve discussion. The first, is that Data Service Providers (DSP’s) can make use of this software to develop and provide statistical and mathematical models for third parties. Let’s face it, many if not most organizations lack the expertise to develop these models for companies.
The second component is the creation of Vertical Market Applications using the WPS software. The absolute reasonable cost of the software is a driving factor in being able to create and resell your VMA at a price that small, mid-size and large companies can all afford. Using WPS as the basis for your VMA is advantageous because you’re not beholden to some other organization requiring you to pay partnership fees for access to the software and marketing. I think you would be shocked to learn about how competitive and perhaps ruthless a software vendor can be when it comes to introducing and pricing a competing VMA.
If you want to learn more about the latest release of WPS v3.3, especially as it pertains to workstations, read the previous blog post and download the latest brochure for v3.3. You can request an evaluation of WPS v3.3 by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or filling out our evaluation or quote request form here.
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and wishing everyone a Happy New Year.
About the author: Phil Rack is President of MineQuest Business Analytics, LLC located in beautiful Tucson, Arizona. Phil has been a SAS language developer for more than 25 years. MineQuest provides WPS consulting and contract programming services and is an authorized reseller of WPS in North America.