The Computing/Data Services Core supports projects by providing help with computer use and programming assistance. Staff members are available to provide training and help to faculty, as well as the students and staff who work with them on a wide variety of computing and statistical problems. Please email requests to CSDA helpdesk (apchelp@albany.edu).

You may find other helpful sources of information on the ITS askIT website. For technical assistance, contact the ITS Help Desk (call 518-442-3700 or visit Lecture Center 27), or submit a service desk request. ITS also offers various Computer Applications Classes.

The Computing/Data Services Core maintains the CSDA Website: http://csda.albany.edu. At that site, there are computing help documents. You may find these useful, and we welcome suggestions for other help documents and improvements to the existing ones. Furthermore, the Computing/Data Services Core also offers classes and workshops in common statistical packages. Notices for these are sent to people affiliated with the Center and are posted on our webpage as well.

Computing Resources

CSDA has its own Linux server maintained by the Research Information Technology unit (RIT) of the Information Technology Service (ITS) at the University at Albany. The server can be accessed remotely by people affiliated with CSDA (including CSDA Associates, as well as staff and students who have been authorized to use it by CSDA at the request of an Associate). See Center staff or help documents for any other questions about using our server.

The University at Albany’s ITS offers a UNIX cluster for academic use. It is available to all University at Albany faculty and students. Note that files stored on CSDA’s server can NOT be accessed from the University’s UNIX server.

In addition, CAS Computing of the College of Arts and Sciences provides CSDA file storage and access to their Windows servers and desktop support.

Statistical Software Available on CSDA’s server

The statistical packages available on our server are listed below.

  • SAS: A multi-purpose statistical package. Manuals are available online.
  • STATA: A multi-purpose statistical package. Manuals are available for use in BA-B18 and on STATA’s website.
  • SPLUS: A data analysis and graphics program. Manuals are available for use in BA-B18.
  • R: A free software environment for statistical computing and graphics.
  • RStudio: An IDE (integrated development environment) that makes R easier to use and more productive.
  • MPlus: A latent variable modeling program with a wide variety of analysis capabilities.
  • MatLab

Disk Space

CSDA offers disk space to our users. We currently have approximately 5 TB of disk space for file storage, and can increase that amount if necessary.  All users who have access to RIT’s cluster have 10 GB home directory disk space.  Faculty members can request 50 GB of research lab storage space from RIT. Collaborative projects can share space allocated to CSDA. Projects that require collaboration are located at /csda/projects/ directory. The directory should be owned by the Principal Investigator of the project. All files related to the project may be stored in that directory and its sub-directories.

There are a few other directories that may be of interest to users. They provide sample programs, utilities, and data. They are /csda/help and /csda/data. /csda/data has sub-directories with data that may be of interest to more than one project. Storing data in this location allows multiple projects to use it without each project having to store the data separately. CSDA staff can upload additional data to /csda/data if requested to do so.

There are other areas available for temporary storage that may be used by projects, e.g., /tmp. This directory is not backed up. In addition, the contents in the local directory /tmp on CSDA’s Linux server are emptied weekly.

Backups

CSDA’s mainframe file systems are maintained by the RIT. RIT provides backup services to all files under RIT’s networked file system unless specifically excluded.  Every file under the path /network/rit, including RIT home directories and CSDA’s shared directories, is backed up to tape.  Files are protected with 21 days of user-accessible snapshots as well as a full weekly disaster recovery tape backup stored in a secure on-campus facility.

Acknowledging CSDA’s Help

We are able to provide help because of grants to the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis at The University at Albany from NICHD, NSF, and support from The University at Albany. Please acknowledge the help you receive from CSDA on publications that result from your research. For information on how to acknowledge our support, please see the document Acknowledgment of CSDA Support.