Welcome, New Members!

We want to extend a warm welcome to all the new members of the Social Science Computing Cooperative, whether you're a new faculty member, staff member, or graduate student who will use our resources for research, or an undergraduate taking a class that uses SSCC resources.

What is the SSCC?

The SSCC provides servers, software, training, and consulting to support researchers (and future researchers) who do statistical analysis. If you didn't attend an orientation session, feel free to email the SSCC Help Desk, tell us about yourself, and ask what we can do for you.

What is SSCC News?

SSCC News is one of our main ways of getting information to our members. It comes out about once every two months. Please look over the email when you get it and then read the articles that will affect you.

If you'd rather not receive SSCC News, email and they can take care of that for you. If you're no longer interested in SSCC News because you no longer use your SSCC account, they can close it for you.

Two Significant Downtimes

On Saturday, October 17th, 6:00AM-3:00PM, SSCC staff will shut down all SSCC servers in order to replace the Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) in the SSCC datacenter. The UPS allows SSCC’s servers to continue working through a brief power outage and shut down smoothly in the event of an extended power outage. Unfortunately, all the equipment that uses the UPS must be shut down during the transition. Thus the following services, and everything else SSCC provides, will be unavailable during this time:

  • All SSCC servers (Winstat, Linstat, Silo, Condor, etc.)
  • All network drives
  • All SSCC-hosted web sites
  • The network in the Sewell Social Sciences Building

Computers in the Sewell Social Sciences Building (including both office computers and those in SSCC’s computer labs) will be running but inaccessible.

On Saturday October 10th at 9:00AM SSCC staff must take the Winstat and WinSilo clusters offline to prepare them for the datacenter outage on the 17th. This outage will last until 9:00AM on Sunday the 11th. During this time, Winstat and WinSilo will be unavailable, but other services will be unaffected. Because WinSilo manages connections to the other Silo servers it will not be possible to connect to LinSilo, LinSiloBig, and CondorSilo, but they will be up and continue working on any running jobs.

The computers in SSCC’s labs have the same software as Winstat and are now available remotely using LabStats. They’ll be a good alternative to Winstat during this downtime.

Please Welcome Jason Struck and Amanda Todd

We're pleased to introduce our newest staff members, Jason Struck and Amanda Todd.

Jason Struck has joined the SSCC as a Statistical Consultant. He is finishing up a PhD in Second Language Acquisition at the University of Maryland, but earned a Graduate Certificate (equivalent to a Master's Degree) in Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation along the way and decided to focus his career on statistics. Jason's an expert R programmer and is rapidly getting up to speed in Stata. He also has a working proficiency in Mandarin.

Amanda Todd will join the SSCC on October 12th as part of our Help Desk staff and will also take over SSCC's communications, like SSCC News. (We're grateful to our student help desk workers but look forward to getting back to an all-professional Help Desk.) Amanda received a bachelor's degree in Cyber-Crime & Project Management from the University of North Texas but grew up in central Illinois and is glad to be returning to the Midwest.

Jason is filling the position formerly held by Mark Banghart, but Amanda is the first of the new staff made possible by SMPH joining the Cooperative. We look forward to introducing the others in the near future.

Update the Citrix Workspace for Windows

A security problem was identified in the Citrix Workspace for Windows, used by SSCC members to connect to Winstat and Silo. Citrix has released a new version that corrects the problem, but it's very important that all SSCC members with Windows computers update to the latest version.

  • For personal computers, please download and install the latest version from our web site.
  • For SSCC-managed computers at home, if you connect to the SSCC network via VPN during a maintenance window (8:00PM-6:00AM or a weekend) the update will be installed automatically. You can also install it manually (after connecting via VPN) using Software Center.
  • For SSCC-managed computers in the Sewell Social Sciences Building the new version will be installed automatically.

SSCC Lab Computers Now Available for Remote Use

SSCC's Computer Labs are closed, but the computers in them are now available for use via Remote Desktop. They have the same software as Winstat, and while they are much less powerful than Winstat you don't have to share the computer with anyone else. Thus the lab computers could be a great choice if you are doing non-statistical work, and are a good general-purpose backup for Winstat.

Remote access to the lab computers is managed by a program called LabStats (no relation to Winstat or Linstat, but we'll take it). To connect to a lab computer, go to the LabStats dashboard. Mac users may need to download and install a (free) Remote Desktop client. For more information, see Accessing SSCC Lab Computers Remotely.

New Tools for the COVID Age: Zoom and Camtasia

In light of the ongoing pandemic, the University has purchased licenses for two new tools for online teaching, Zoom and Camtasia. Both are available in Software Center.

Zoom is an extremely popular video chat application. While some major security flaws in Zoom were identified early in the pandemic, they have been corrected sufficiently for the University to endorse it. SSCC's statistical consultants have taught classes using both Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and, while we wouldn't say the difference is so compelling that everyone should switch right away, Zoom is the more refined product. If you've used a personal Zoom account, be sure to convert to a UW-Madison Zoom account. DoIT has instructions at

Camtasia is a tool for recording and editing videos. SSCC's statistical consultants have used it both for minor editing of class videos (recorded using Zoom) and to create pre-recorded videos like those in Introduction to Stata. We've found it to be a substantial improvement over Kaltura.

Introducing NVivo Server

QSR has introduced NVivo Server, a version of NVivo that stores projects in a database rather than in project files (without changing how you use them). This allows multiple people to work on the project at the same time without corrupting the project file, but it should also prevent project files from being corrupted just because they're stored on network drives. We strongly recommend anyone who uses NVivo on Winstat set up their project to use NVivo Server. Instructions are in NVivo Server - Creating and Managing Projects. If you are managing a collaborative NVivo project you should also read NVivo Server - Managing Collaborators.

Still Need to Learn Statistical Software?

Thanks to COVID-19, SSCC's training reached substantially fewer people than usual. Unfortunately, COVID-19 does not change the fact that most graduate students in the SSCC will need to learn basic data science skills and the software used to carry them out.

We will offer our core training workshops again in January during the break between semesters. We anticipate they will be taught online, so you can participate whether you'll be back in Madison or not.

Our current Stata curriculum, Introduction to Stata and Data Wrangling in Stata, is available online, with some video and more in production. Our older R (and Python) curriculum, Data Wrangling Essentials, is also available now and we're working on getting what we currently teach online as well. If you're working through these materials on your own we're happy to answer questions—just email them to the Help Desk.

Talk to Us Before You Take an SSCC-Managed PC Home

If you're working from home, it may make sense for you take your office computer home. But be sure to talk to us first! The computers managed by the SSCC were set up to run on the SSCC network, and if you take them home unprepared you may run into a variety of problems—some immediate and obvious, and some not. We're happy to prepare your office computer for home use—just let the Help Desk know.