The Centers that make up Population Sciences at Berkeley (PopSci) have access to a full range of computing resources across campus, most importantly the PopSci/Demography Department’s computing facilities, and the Social Sciences Data CoLaboratory D-Lab. These and other resources are available to faculty affiliates, postdoctoral fellows, researchers and student researchers, and training is provided to them for using R and other software, statistical methodology, and use of specialized data sets.
The Demography Computing Lab: The PopSci/Demography Lab is available for use both on site and remotely by all PopSci affiliates and their research personnel, graduate and undergraduate assistants. At the core of the PopSci/Demography lab are several powerful Unix servers with sufficient power and data storage to support projects with very large data sets, intensive computing demands, or massive memory needs. All data and software are accessible remotely as well as through thin clients located in 2232 and 2224 Piedmont. An Rstudio server and a Shiny server run on the network allowing efficient development and deployment of R-based applications. The Director of Computing, Dr. Carl Boe is available for consultation on both about technical computing issues as well as substantive demographic and statistical issues.
D-Lab – The Social Sciences Data CoLaboratory:This innovative center strives to train graduate students and faculty in the powerful and/or newest techniques of data analysis for formats of data new to the 21st century. The most relevant of the D-lab offerings for PopSci researchers are:
- The Collaborative Laboratory (“Collaboratory”), a space that can be shaped to meet the needs of individuals or groups. It has movable furniture, docking stations, large monitors, and four workstations with specialized software, and is its primary instructional space.
- Consulting space: The consulting room is available for data and methods consultations by D-Lab users and staff.
Other Computing Facilities
The California Census Research Data Center, co-hosted by UC Berkeley and UC Los Angeles. After obtaining the necessary approvals from Census, cold-room analyses can be done under supervision of a Census employee of administrative data linked to other surveys, or of Census or NCHS micro-data that would not otherwise be permitted. Originally established with funding assistance from NIA, it has been used extensively for aging research, including the Human Mortality Database.
Cold Rooms: There are several cold rooms (non-networking computing facilities) available for Population Sciences at Berkeley affiliates, for use on datasets that require stronger protections for confidentiality or pose a risk of disclosure need to be situated in a secure computing environment. Providers of such data typically require plans which spell out how such data will be protected, and this provision is most typically provided through the D-lab Cold Room, located in located in the D-Lab, and managed by D-Lab staff, and provided only to users with a current restricted use license for those data.
The Econometrics Lab (EML): This campus computing facility also provides services to Population Sciences at Berkeley affiliates and other researchers on aging. The EML’s human subjects and network security clearances which allow it to provide access to restricted data sets in a particularly convenient way, importantly, to the restricted parts of the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS).
UC Data: The UC Data Archive and Technical Assistance, directed by Dr. Patricia Frontiera, is UC Berkeley’s primary archive of numeric social science and health data. UC DATA currently maintains broad holdings in topics of interest to demographers and population researchers, including data addressing mortality, natality, aging, families, labor, morbidity, and domestic and international migration. Although supporting the research use of secondary data is one of its most important roles, UC DATA also serves as a repository for directly deposited data. UC DATA disseminates data in raw form through its website (ucdata.berkeley.edu). It also provides tools for web-based analysis of popular data sets, such as the American Community Survey and the General Social Survey in collaboration with the Computer-assisted Survey Methods group at Berkeley (sda.berkeley.edu).
Xlab (Experimental Social Science Laboratory): Population Sciences at Berkeley affiliates have access to Berkeley’s Experimental Social Sciences Laboratory (aka Xlab), conducts experiment-based investigations of issues of interest to social scientists. Xlab supports in-lab, online, mobile, and external in-person experiments. Xlab supports UC Berkeley’s world class research by providing resources such experiment coordination, payment support, access to software and grants, as well as access to a 5,000-person subject pool, payment mechanism and a Master Protocol to facilitate IRB approval from the University’s Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects. Xlab is located in the Thomas Long Business Library and managed by Dean of the Haas School of Business.