The purpose of the Computing, Data, and Information (CDI) Core is to support computation and data collection requirements for empirical research in population health at CPRC. It is co-chaired by Peter A. Messeri and Julien Teitler, and its services are detailed below.
Facilitating Access to Existing Computing Resources at Columbia
To enable CPRC researchers to take full advantage of existing resources and to steer them to resources suitable to their changing needs, the CDI Core maintains a centralized inventory of information about computing support services available on each of Columbia’s campuses.
Supporting Computing for Computationally Intensive Analyses
The CDI Core provides support for computationally intensive computing through a shared partnership with the departments of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Statistics, and Economics plus other groups represented in the Social Science Computing Committee (SSCC); Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT); the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research; and the School of Arts & Sciences. Under that arrangement, CPRC faculty have remote and secure access to a shared High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster.
The CDI Core is in the process of establishing a dedicated domain on a Columbia University server that CPRC faculty and affiliates will be able to access for efficient sharing of data and documentation. Additionally, the CDI Core will assist with negotiating licensing arrangements for use of restricted or proprietary datasets and configure secure sites that meet the most stringent data security requirements. CDI helps researchers develop plans for the secure storage of confidential data and provides restricted Windows-based workstations for use of highly sensitive data.
Assistance with Quantitative Data Collection and Dissemination
The CDI Core, through the New York City Studies Initiative, is developing and will make widely available a multilayered New York City database. This initiative includes assisting researchers in creating public use versions of their data for inclusion in the project. CDI is also planning new data collection efforts to add key variables to the database not currently available in existing studies.
Desktop Computing Support
To ensure consistent coverage of research computing, the CDI Core is providing supplementary hardware and software support to CPRC faculty and affiliates (including graduate students who work on CPRC projects). Hardware support includes troubleshooting problems, working with service providers for repairs covered by warranty, installation of replacement parts, consulting and assistance with the purchase of new systems. Software support will include coordinating purchases and managing license agreements, and installation and updating of software for virus protection, word processing, database management, and statistical analysis. The CDI Core also coordinates backup services for faculty and affiliates and their project computers and assists with retrieval of lost files.