About Social Sciences Computing Services

Social Sciences Computing Services (SSCS)

Social Sciences Computing Services (SSCS) is dedicated to providing excellence in research computing and services to the Division's community. SSCS brings to bear extensive expertise and resources ranging from large-scale Linux cluster and server systems to solutions tailored to personal computing, all within a security framework designed for the needs of social science research wishing to collaborate with internal and external partners.

SSCS's four interconnected teams address a spectrum of academic computing endeavors with Research Support for the mid-to-large computing, statistical software, and secure storage; Operations Support for purchasing and managing end-user-devices for researchers and teams; Teaching and Technology Support to advance researchers' pedagogical and communication objectives;  and a Divisional Security Officer to facilitate data and process management appropriate to research.

SSCS works in close collaboration with the Research Computing Center (RCC) to ensure best-in-class computational solutions are available to our researchers.

SSCS also partners extensively with the University of Chicago's ITServices to ensure physical and logical protections for data, and in supporting networking, mail services, Disaster Recovery, and administration. SSCS's on-premise research servers are collocated within ITServices' fully-supported data centers.

Computational Support for Research

SSCS's systems are designed to facilitate collaboration and to nurture growth from mid to large-scale computation. Our Linux and Windows-based research platforms share access to the Harbor storage system to allow teams to choose tools that match research goals.

SSCS's Harbor storage system provides over 800TB of locally encrypted storage, housed on a Dell Isilon replicated to a UChicago Disaster Recovery [DR] site outside Chicago.

  Individual Use Storage Shared/Lab storage
Faculty 500GB up to 2TB
Graduate Students 100GB  

Acropolis Cluster

Available to SSD researchers their collaborators, the Acropolis Cluster system, is comprised of 33 servers running RedHat Linux: a Dell login server with 2TB of RAM for high-memory computing; and 32 128GB RAM nodes interconnected with high speed networking.

Running RedHat Linux, Cronus provides UChicago social scientists with a platform for secured storage, computation, and analysis. It houses statistical packages and programming languages ranging from Julia, R, Python, and Fortran to Mathematica and Matlab; as well as access to a variety of on-campus services. Cronus and its administrators are singularly focused on supplying resources for computational tasks in the social sciences.

Dedicated to the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, Athens runs on a Dell server with 2TB of RAM, Athens enables researchers in Economics to work in collaboration with UChicago and External collaborators.

This Windows-based platform provides access to tools for advanced data analysis tools, GIS, and video. SSDLAB can grant remote access to teams worldwide, simplify on-boarding entry-level research staff, and present a secure environment for the analysis of some restricted data.

Researchers wanting access for their teams to advanced analysis tools will find holistic assistance from our Research Support group.

Personal Computing and Operations

SSCS's Operations support team provide personalized service to the faculty, staff and students of the Division. Many team members have over 10 years experience, and can put faculty in touch with the resources they need to accomplish their academic and research goals.

Find out more about our services: Desktop and Laptop Ordering, Provisioning and Maintenance

Teaching and Technology

Recognized for their impeccable service, the Teaching & Technology team have grown to enable the Division's faculty to focus on pedagogy and student experiences. The Teaching & Technology Group (T&T) was founded in the Spring of 2020, within the University of Chicago’s Social Sciences Computing Services (SSCS). Since then, we have been tasked with assisting in the production and management of hybrid and remote events and providing technological and pedagogical assistance for instructors running hybrid classrooms with blended synchronous learning (BSL). Across hundreds of unique events, we have established a suite of best practices for SSD events that both draw on and exceed Zoom's documentation and the documentation for the various video conferencing systems (VCS) we use for hybrid events.

Hybrid and Remote Teaching advisement, Event Management, and rapid-response for pedagogical concerns.

Data Security and Governance

The SSD Divisional Security Officer [DSO] provides consulting for security concerns related to pre-award grant development, Data Use Agreements, compliance and Data Management Plans.

The DSO can also provide researchers access to online tools such as Qualtrics, REDCap [a partnership with UChicago's Biological Sciences Division] and SurveyCTO.