Christmas in July

June 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm 7 comments

| Gabriel |

Has it been two years already? Holy moly, Stata 12 looks awesome.

The headline feature is structural equation modeling. It comes with a graphic model builder, which even an “only scripting is replicable” zealot like me can appreciate as it helps you learn complicated command syntax. (I feel the same way about graphs). I had actually been thinking of working SEM into my next paper and was thinking through the logistics of getting a copy of M+, learning the syntax (again), etc. Now I can do it within Stata. I look forward to reading more papers that use SEM without really understanding the assumptions.

Probably the most satisfying new feature to me though is contour plots. Ever since I got interested in writing simulations a few years ago, I have been wanting to make heat maps in Stata. I’ve spent many hours writing code that can pipe to gnuplot and, not being satisfied with that, I (with some help from Lisa) have spent yet more time working on another script that can pipe to the wireframe function in R’s lattice library. Now I’m very happy to say that I will not finish writing this ado-file and submitting it to SSC as Stata 12 contains what looks to be really good native heat plots.

I’m thinking the set of commands I will feel most guilty about not using more often, is margin plots, which extends the margin command from Stata 11. In addition to the headline new features there’s a bunch of little stuff, including fixes to get more compatibility between the estimation commands and the ancillary commands (e.g., better “predict” support for count models and “svy” support for “xtmixed”). Also, Windows users should be pleased to hear that they can now do PDFs natively.

[Update: Also see Jeremy’s post on Stata 12. He closes with a pretty funny metaphor of stats packages to cell phone brands.]

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7 Comments

  • 1. brayden king  |  June 27, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I got a little teary-eyed with excitement looking at the release announcement. It was the heat maps that did it. Woohoo!

  • 2. Michael Bishop  |  June 27, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    I look forward to reading more papers that use SEM without really understanding the assumptions.

    lolz. Will you be providing more laugh lines at the ASA blogger party?

    • 3. gabrielrossman  |  June 27, 2011 at 7:12 pm

      Isn’t the real question whether we can define someone as being ipso facto funny because they say funny things as compared to particular funny utterances being indicative of latent funniness?

      • 4. Michael Bishop  |  June 27, 2011 at 7:49 pm

        I think the answer is obvious but I’ll let others share their views.

        Also, can we agree that structure beats agency, form beats content, and nature beats nurture?

  • 5. RKimbro  |  June 27, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Time to geek out for sure!!

  • 6. klhoughton  |  June 28, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    First, you’ll have to get past agreeing that rock beats scissors.

  • 7. Pierre Azoulay  |  July 2, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    So I am a little bit less impressed than you are Gabriel. Two things I was really hoping for is for mata to handle sparse matrices — that would have gone a long way to make the analysis of large network dataset possible in stata. Second, nothing new in this release related to cloud computing. It would be great if Stata and EC2 could play well together. I guess this will have to wait until the 13th release…


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