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Displaying and Saving Numerical Results Precisely

Salford predictive modeling engines use high precision algorithms to compute essential results but printed reports and the GUI may display results with relatively less precision, for convenience of the display. There may well be circumstances when you need to pay careful attention to this however, and insist that the data mining tool print, display, and save results in the highest useful precision.

From the command line, display precision is controlled with the FORMAT command. A good setting for this might be:

FORMAT=7

which will display with 7 significant digits. In the GUI you need to access the Options Menu, and on the General Tab set decimal places to a convenient value.

This setting is especially important when saving programming code representing a model (for example in C, Java, BASIC, or SAS) in older versions of our data mining tools. Because the code will make use of split points (in trees) or regression coefficients (for MARS) using the default precision, you could well end up with code that will not reproduce your model faithfully.

We recommend setting the FORMAT (decimal places) via the Options and saving them as your defaults so that your preferred setting is saved permanently and applies to all models you build in the future. You can always change this setting either temporarily (for the session) or permanently if you ever need to change this setting for any reason.

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Tags: Blog, SPM, Command Line