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May 21, 2014

The People Behind the Software: John Sall

This interview is part of a series of Q&As with the JMP development team that led up to the release of JMP 9 on Oct. 12 -- today! Earlier interviews have been with Xan Gregg, Chung-Wei Ng and Laura Lancaster and Bob Hickey. The interviews will continue -- look for Q&As with folks who work on JMP documentation, technical support and more in coming weeks.

photo of John Sall, head of the JMP division of SASToday, because it's the day the latest version of JMP ships, we get to hear from John Sall. He is Executive Vice President and co-founder of SAS. John is also the JMP division head and spends his time in JMP R&D. "I've had the same job for 34 years, but it does change all the time, and I love it very much," John says.

Arati: What do you like most about JMP?

John: Its graphical interactivity is wonderful.

Arati: Do you use JMP in your job or for personal projects? If so, how?

John: Yes, I do studies regularly. Sometimes, it is a study about performance. Other times, it is a Monte Carlo study about statistical properties. And still other times, it is about an application area -- I spent a few days on hyperspectral analysis.

Arati: What are your favorite JMP features that you wish more people knew about and used?

John: If you enter an expression like "=sqrt(2)" in a cell or a dialog entry, it will evaluate the expression. I bet you didn't know about that. Tabulate is a JMP platform that more people should become fluent in. And be aware of sticky titles, so that titles don't scroll up off the window until the report it titles scrolls off -- that was quite an innovation that people don't even notice.

Arati: What’s new in JMP 9 in your area of focus?

John: I worked on many things, among them features to fit non-homogeneous Poisson Process models for recurrent events.

Arati: What was the reason for adding that to JMP? How will that be helpful to customers?

John: Analysts with lots of repair records who want to build a model can figure out what is related to frequency of repair.

Arati: What’s most exciting to you as a developer?

John: I enjoy seeing all the features that our developers come up with. I wished for something like Graph Builder to be created, but WOW!, I didn't realize it could be that good!

Arati: What books are you reading right now?

John: Earlier this year, I read Daniel Suarez's novels Daemon and Freedom, and Louis Sachar's The Cardturner. My current reading is The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, and A Question of Balance by William Nordhaus. I loved Leonard Susskind's The Black Hole War. Next year, I expect to read at least two wonderful books by Bradley Jones (hint).

Arati: What do you like to do in your free time?

John: Outside of regular work, I work to keep up with various organizations involved in conservation and the environment, such as The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund.

Arati: Pick two (or more if you like) of the following to identify: your favorite programming language, favorite algorithm, favorite formula, favorite theorem or favorite software tool.

John: My favorite languages are JSL and C++. My favorite algorithms include many things JMP developers have come up with, such as the Conga Line that Craige Hales implemented, the W2 transform and many other things that Chris Gotwalt developed, and all the innovations that Brad Jones developed for design of experiments.

1 Comment
Community Member

Ajay wrote:

cool stuff!