The primary purpose of the Cornell VirtualRDC is to provide access to synthetic data over the internet. The synthetic data are constructed to statistically approximate the data available within the secure and restricted access environment of the Census Bureau's Research Data Centers (RDCs), maintaining statistical integrity without compromising confidentiality. All data on the the VirtualRDC has been released for public access, and no confidential data are stored on the VirtualRDC.
A secondary benefit is that researchers can learn how to work within the constraints of the physical Census RDCs before actually starting work at one of the physical locations, thus reducing the setup time. Besides synthetic datasets, dummy and fake internal-use datasets available in the Census RDC can be accessed and used, and programs written on the VirtualRDC should be 100% portable to the Census RDC, thus reducing development and travel time.
When will it become available?
The Cornell Virtual RDC is presently operational. More information on available servers can be found on the hardware page, software packages are listed under the "Installed Software" link. For access and other information, contact the Virtual RDC administrators.
Who finances the Cornell Virtual RDC?
The Cornell Virtual RDC is financed by NSF Grant ITR-0427889 (see also the Cornell announcement). Previous financial support through NSF Grants EITM-0339191 and SES-9978093 as well as NIA Grant 5R01AG018854 was instrumental in setting up and maintaining the VirtualRDC. We have also received generous donations by Intel and Novell.
The VirtualRDC is not affiliated or financed by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Whom do I contact for more information on the Cornell Virtual RDC?
The VirtualRDC is managed by Lars Vilhuber @ Cornell University. You can contact him at the general Virtual RDC administrator email.
How do I keep up with what's happening at the VirtualRDC as well as the "real" RDC?
Extensive contact info is available on a separate page. You can get information about the Census Research Data Centers at CES and in particular about the New York Census Research Data Center at the NY Census RDC website.