Center for Scalable Computing and Analysis

Developing best practices and resources to collect, use, and manage big data

Big data is everywhere—and it holds tremendous potential for researchers and policymakers.

City sensor data can glean insights on predictors of community health. Social media data can help us better understand the spread of political movements. And personal device data can give us a fresh perspective on how people work and play in their day-to-day lives.

All of this data can be used to make inferences about behaviors and make predictions that can inform policy analysis.

The Center for Scalable Computing and Analysis helps policymakers leverage the benefits of big data by developing the best practices and resources necessary to effectively collect, store, process and protect it.

We identify policy questions that could benefit from large-scale data and tools, and catalyze interactions between subject-matter, methods, and data experts.

And we explore conversations about the implications of big data for ethics, equity, privacy, and other social issues.

We do this by building on the rich history of technological and computing innovation here at RAND, where the original JOHNNIAC computer and packet switching data transmission method that enabled the internet was developed.

Our Focus

Our approach to using big data in policy research focuses on three important characteristics: ensuring the right data infrastructure, developing and deploying appropriate algorithms, and understanding the implications of big data—especially the unintended consequences.

Learn More

Methods In Action

View more research

Student Spotlight

Connect With Us


Want more information? Interested in working with us? We'd love to hear from you.