SPSS on CUNIX


The version of SPSS on CUNIX is  OLD, version SPSS 6.1, and may not have all the features found workstations in CUIT and in the Libraries.   

To use SPSS on CUNIX it is recommended that you run jobs on "batch" mode.  In batch mode, SPSS commands are executed from a file and output is sent to the screen or to an output file.  A file of SPSS commands (also called an SPSS syntax file or SPSS program file)  is a text file that you must create.  The file would contain the SPSS commands that in the Windows version you would select from the pull-down menus.

For more information about an SPSS syntax file see the guide on Writing an SPSS Program.  The staff of the DSSC Data Service can help with basic questions about SPSS (email dssc.data@columbia.edu) but not with questions specific to the CUNIX environment.

Getting Started

To start a "batch" mode SPSS session on CUNIX, at the prompt type spss -m.

For example:

spss -m myprog.sps > myprog.lst

where -m is a "switch" (it says to run SPSS in batch mode), myprog.sps is your file of SPSS program statements, > is a standard UNIX directional command to send to output, and myprog.lst is your file for output. You can call the output file anything you want, but using the same name as the input file reduces confusion.

If the input file is very large and/or the program is going to take a long time to run, run it "in the background" by appending the & symbol after the command:

spss -m bigjob.sps > bigjob.lst &

Now you can read your e-mail, do some other computer work, or go to lunch while the program is running.

Output from Batch Mode

SPSS will display some messages on your screen as it runs. Watch for them, but also check your output. Do not assume your program ran correctly just because no error messages appeared on the screen. Bring your output file into an editor (pico, emacs, vi) or view it by using the unix more command:

more bigjob.lst

If there's a problem with your program, bring it back into an editor, make corrections, save the program, and run SPSS again. If you have lots of error messages, try fixing just the first one or two. They may be the cause of a lot of the subsequent error messages.

Increasing Workspace

If your SPSS program has a large number of variables, variable values, or matrices, you may need to increase your workspace. The -s switch specifies the number of bytes SPSS uses as working space. The number is followed by k (kilobytes) or m (megabytes). For example:

spss -m -s 2m bigjob.sps > bigjob.lst &

The size of your storage space on CUNIX depends on your enrollment status. For specifics and how to request more space refer to CUIT's FAQ on account privileges. Note: A large number of cases usually will not require an increase in workspace since SPSS processes cases one by one.