The development of SAS began in 1966, the project was funded by the National Institute of Health and was originally intended to analyze agricultural data to improve crop yields. In 1972, after issuing the first release of SAS, the project lost its funding until it was funded by the University Statisticians of the Southern Experiment Stations the following year. The first versions of SAS were named after the year in which they were released.
In 1971, SAS 71 was published as a limited release. It was used only on IBM mainframes and had the main elements of SAS programming, such as the DATA step and the most common procedures in the PROC step. The following year a full version was released as SAS 72, which introduced the MERGE statement and added features for handling missing data or combining data sets. In 1976, the project out was took out of North Carolina State and incorporated SAS Institute, Inc.
In 2002 the Text Miner software was introduced. Text Miner analyzes text data like emails for patterns in Business Intelligence applications.