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What to expect on the VirtualRDC

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This article describes what you should expect once you log on to the VirtualRDC servers (SSG and SDS). The primary purpose of the Cornell Virtual RDC is to provide access to synthetic data, to the TeraGrid/XSEDE, and assist in the preparation of proposals and programming for the Census RDC. Access to the TeraGrid (on the SSG) is described elsewhere, as is the use of the restricted-access synthetic datasets; this page describes how to go about using the VirtualRDC to prepare programming and explore Census RDC data that are available outside of the restricted environment.

On the SSG servers, our team strives to  to replicate not just the data available in the real RDC, but also the filenames, the directory structure, and the software of the real RDC. The VirtualRDC is designed such that programs written on the VirtualRDC should be 100% portable to the real RDC.


That being said, you will typically not find everything immediately available to accomplish all of those goals. The data available to approved projects in the Census RDC is long (browse the available datasets at their ). A list of data files available as zero-obs datasets can be found on another page here at the VirtualRDC, but if you do not see what your Census RDC project requires, bring that need to our attention.


Software is another issue. Depending on the system (SSG or SDS), we have the major software packages installed (SAS, Stata, check the relevant system-specific pages for more details: SSG, SDS). Some commercial packages (Matlab, Gauss) are not always installed, because either (i) we have not had a (funded) request for them or (ii) more seldomly, a Linux binary does not exist.

Where to go from here

The basic idea is: we will work to accomodate your needs as quickly as possible, for both local statistical computation and preparation of processing on the closed environment of the RDC. If that implies re-compilation of source code, testing of software, availability of datasets, our best efforts will help increase the efficacy of your research time.

Ultimately, to find out what is currently available on the VirtualRDC, check out the Available Data and the system-specific pages for SSGand  SDS. You will find a lot already available, but more can be put on if the need is brought to our attention. The best way to ascertain what could be on the VirtualRDC is to communicate with us.