Director, Information Technology
Inter University Consortium for Political and Social Research
University of Michigan
In this project, the Inter University Consortium for Political and Social Research and partners at the Rand Corporation and the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan will build and test a data storage and dissemination system for confidential data, which obviates the need for users to build and secure their own computing environments. Recent advances in public utility (or “cloud”) computing now makes it feasible to provision powerful, secure data analysis platforms on-demand. We will leverage these advances to build a system which collects “system configuration” information from analysts using a simple web interface, and then produces a custom computing environment for each confidential data contract holder. Each custom system will secure the data storage and usage environment in accordance with the confidentiality requirements of each data file. When the analysis has been completed, this custom system will be fed into a “virtual shredder” before final disposal. This prototype data dissemination system will be tested for:
- system functionality (i.e., does it remove the usual barriers to data access?)
- storage and computing security (i.e., does it keep the data secure?)
- usability (i.e., is the entire system easier to use?)
- Contract holders of two major data systems (the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Study) will be recruited to assess both the user interface and the analytic flexibility of the new customized computing environments.