Recap of the 2016 SAS Analytics Conference

I spoke at the 2016 SAS Analytics Conference. The event was in Las Vegas at the Bellagio Hotel, and ran from September 11 through 14.

SAS is a big company that sells products related to data analysis. SAS competitors include SPSS (from IBM), Tableau, Power BI (from Microsoft), and SAP.

I estimate there were about 1500 people at the conference. There were a lot of SAS employees, representatives from companies that use SAS, people from academia, and a handful of people like me who don’t work for SAS but were invited because we’re technical experts in a specific area.


My talk was “Prediction Markets using SAS”. I explained what a Prediction Market is (a form of prediction that’s sort of like a stock market, but where people buy and sell shares of some future event), explained the four key equations used in a Prediction Market, and described some implementations of Prediction Markets.


I estimate my talk had about 150 people. They were all quite technical and seemed to have no trouble following the math part of the talk. The audience liked the talk a lot, at least based on the enthusiastic response I got and the large number of questions asked after the talk. I was tentatively asked to speak at SAS again in 2017, but I’ll have to decline because that event will be held in Florida, which is too far for me to travel.

Conferences are pretty intense. Things typically start at about 7:30 AM and then run non-stop for about the next 12 hours. Strangely however, I always get a lot of work done, probably because there are no work distractions like useless meetings (as opposed to the rare useful meetings).

The SAS Analytics Conference was really good: efficient organization, excellent talks, great venue, and nice people. SAS has a reputation of being a great company to work for, and this conference did nothing to suggest otherwise.

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