Welcome to the SSCC!
Welcome to the SSCC! The Social Science Computing Cooperative supports researchers at UW-Madison who use statistical analysis in their work.
We provide a complete research computing environment focused on statistics plus the expert help you need to use it. This includes:
- Statistical consultants who are experts on the most popular statistical software and can answer many methodological questions.
- Training on statistical computing, including workshops and an extensive Statistical Computing Knowledge Base .
- Powerful and easy-to-use Windows and Linux based servers with the most popular statistical software installed and ready for use, plus many specialized packages.
- Secure data storage suitable for most sensitive research data.
- A dedicated help desk staffed by IT professionals, with immediate access to the system administrators who run the servers.
If you have questions or run into problems, the SSCC Help Desk is available to help you from 9AM to 12PM and 1PM to 4PM. There are several ways to get in touch with the Help Desk: you can call 262-9917, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can stop by the SSCC staff offices in 4226 Sewell Social Sciences Building. Look for the white sign that says Help Desk or the red sign that says Stat Consultant so you know who's "on duty."
An SSCC Member is someone who has been sponsored for an SSCC account by one or more of our member agencies and departments. This means you have full access to all the SSCC's resources without charge. The costs of your membership are paid by your sponsor(s).
If you're reading this you've probably already activated your SSCC account. In the process you should have set your password and security questions, decided whether to request an SSCC orientation, and set an email address we can use to contact you. Some important reminders:
- Never share your SSCC account or give anyone your password (even SSCC staff).
- We will send announcements to your your preferred email address —including when it's time to renew your account. Make sure you it's one you'll continue to read.
You can access the Internet throughout the Sewell Social Sciences Building by connecting to the campus wireless network. To do so you'll need to give your DoIT NetID and password (so make sure you activate your NetID at DoIT's web site). This network is not provided by the SSCC, so if you run into difficulties with it we may need to refer you to DoIT's help desk (264-HELP). The first time you use it you must open a web browser and log in to the campus wireless network before you can use other programs that need network access, such as email. Unfortunately the campus wireless network is not encrypted, so we suggest you turn on a VPN connection whenever you use it so your communications are secure.
The wired network in the building is provided by the SSCC, and gives direct access to SSCC resources. When you use the wired network you are behind our firewall so we ask that before you plug into it you make sure both your operating system and your antivirus software are up-to-date and update themselves automatically. For PCs running Windows, we suggest you use the free Microsoft Security Essentials. For Macs, we recommend the free Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition. If you prefer, you can drop off your computer in 4226 Sewell Social Sciences Building and our PC Support group will set up everything for you.
The SSCC provides a great deal of software—most likely everything you'll need. This includes general purpose statistical programs like Stata, SAS, SPSS and R, many special purpose statistical programs, research tools like EndNote, and common software like Microsoft Office. The programs are provided on the SSCC's servers (especially Winstat) and/or in the computer labs so you probably won't need to purchase them or install them on your personal computer.
For a full list of all SSCC software and where it is installed, see our software web page .
Winstat is the SSCC's Windows Terminal Server farm. Winstat allows any SSCC member to log in and run Windows on the server, with full access to the SSCC network and a tremendous amount of software. You can also use it to transfer files between your computer and the network. This makes Winstat a very useful tool whether you're in the Sewell Social Sciences Building or anywhere else in the world.
To use Winstat you'll need to download and install a small, free client program. Our Knowledge Base article Using Winstat has instructions.
Linstat is the the SSCC's Linux computing cluster and provides additional computing power for those who need it. If your statistical job is taking more than a few minutes on Winstat, it would probably run more quickly on Linstat. Running statistical software on Linstat is easier than you might expect; Using Linstat will get you started.
The SSCC also has an HTCondor flock that is ideal for running large numbers of jobs at the same time, and a High Performance Computing Cluster (HPCC) where you can break a job into hundreds of pieces to be run in parallel.
Computing Resources at the SSCC gives detailed descriptions of all the SSCC servers and suggestions for choosing the right server for your job.
Network Disk Space
The SSCC provides a very large amount of network disk space for our users. This space is secure, available from any location and backed up every night. We strongly recommend that you save all files related to your research work or other University business on the network rather than the local hard drive of your computer.
The SSCC has both Windows file servers and Linux file servers, and you have space on both. A program called Samba makes the Linux space available to Windows sessions as regular network drives.
Private space is provided in your two "home directories." When using Windows, your Windows home directory is the U: drive and your Linux home directory is Z: drive. This is where you should put anything you're working on individually. Shared space is provided in Project directories, which are on the X: drive (Windows) and the V: drive (Linux). Project directories allow groups working together on a common project to share files.
The Y: drive is temporary space. You can use it if you need a lot of disk space for a brief period, or to quickly share files with people who are not part of an official "project." However, you should keep in mind that files on the Y: drive are not secure, are not backed up, and are removed after 30 days.
Network Disk Space at the SSCC has more information, including how to request that a file be restored from backup.
Personal computers running Windows or Mac OS X can be set up to access the SSCC's network disk space, and most can also use the network printers. We will be happy to do this for you—just drop off your computer in 4226 Sewell Social Sciences Building. If you're not in the building or your computer cannot log into our domain you can easily access network drives and printers using Winstat. Alternative methods include VPN and FTP.
The SSCC provides general use printers in our computer labs: 4218, 3218 and 2470 Sewell Social Sciences Building. Setting Up Network Printers in Windows and Using SSCC Printers from Macs will tell you how to use these printers. SSCC members are not charged for printing.
Remote Access to SSCC Resources
Winstat, Linstat, files on the network, and even your office PC can be used from home or any location with Internet access. Working From Home and Other Remote Locations will tell you how.
The SSCC provides three public computer labs in the Sewell Social Science building. 4218 is the main lab, 3218 is available when not in use by classes, and 2470 is a quiet place to work with your laptop (see the SSCC Computer Labs web page for more details).
But the most important part of the SSCC web site is the SSCC Knowledge Base, a collection of articles on SSCC resources and statistical computing in general. Topics range from basics like logging into Winstat to general introductions like Stata for Students or Data Wrangling in Stata, R, or Python, to specific topics like making bar graphs and mixed models .
We also offer training classes each semester which are free to all SSCC members, including both introductions to statistical software and workshops on statistical topics. Visit our training page to see the schedule and register for classes.
Again, welcome to the SSCC. If there is anything we can do to make your computing more productive, please let us know.