Blog Archive

Check out our blog archive. Click on a headline to read the teaser.

Open Sourcing Code with Intention by Fran Fabrizio · February 17, 2017
A quick guide to what you need to think about before you open source your code.
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Slurping Up Excel Data on the Quick: Python, Pandas, and Pickle by Ben Klaas · February 14, 2017
If you have very large tables of data imprisoned in a vendor-locked Excel jail, consider setting them free by caching worksheets using Python+Pandas+Pickle.
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Towards a Sustainable Excel by Ben Klaas · February 3, 2017
Building Excel Macros With Python, part 3 of a series on reinventing our metadata management environment.
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MPC IT Shark Tank - Cycles 4 & 5 Results! by Fran Fabrizio · January 3, 2017
We closed out 2016 with two more rounds of Shark Tank! Read on for details.
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Automated Analysis of a Data Workflow - Part 2 by Jesse Erdmann · September 14, 2016
The conclusion of the story of how we created DCP Analytics - our in-house automated, web-based analysis tool using Pandas, Bokeh, Jupyter and Conda to help our researchers quickly find data anomalies and processing errors in our data production pipelines..
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Automated Analysis of a Data Workflow - Part 1 by Jesse Erdmann · August 24, 2016
The story of how we created DCP Analytics - our in-house automated, web-based analysis tool using Pandas, Bokeh, Jupyter and Conda to help our researchers quickly find data anomalies and processing errors in our data production pipelines.
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MPC IT Shark Tank - Cycle 3 Results by Fran Fabrizio · July 14, 2016
Cycle 3 of MPC IT Shark Tank wrapped up last month. Here's the scoop!
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Excel VBA and Version Control by Jimm Domingo · May 19, 2016
The second post in the series about Team Unicorn Rainbows' work in the first round of MPC IT Shark Tank.
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MPC IT Shark Tank - Cycle 2 Results by Fran Fabrizio · March 15, 2016
Cycle 2 of MPC IT Shark Tank has concluded, and once again we have some fantastic results!
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Embracing the Uncertainty of Software Development by Fran Fabrizio · February 29, 2016
Thoughts on how to avoid being fooled by the false certainty of deadlines and estimates and approach our work more honestly.
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Improving Menu Creation in Excel with VBA by Jimm Domingo · February 25, 2016
In this series, we present some highlights from Team Unicorn Rainbows' work in the first round of MPC IT Shark Tank. This first post describes how we improved menu creation in Excel.
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Exploring Nicollet Island by MPC IT · December 21, 2015
Using MPC Data to Research and Visualize the Demographic History of Your Neighborhood.
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MPC IT Shark Tank - Cycle 1 Results by Fran Fabrizio · December 21, 2015
The results of our first-ever MPC IT Shark Tank round are in, and a winner has been crowned!
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High Performance Analysis of Big Spatial Data by MPC IT · November 18, 2015
Our own HPC specialist Ankit Soni and the TerraPop team presented their published article at the IEEE Big Data 2015 conference in Santa Clara earlier this month.
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Data Product Spotlight: IHIS by Colin Davis · November 10, 2015
In this edition of the data product spotlight, Colin introduces us to IHIS, our health survey data product.
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Data Product Spotlight: IPUMS USA by Colin Davis · October 21, 2015
This edition of the Data Product Spotlight goes wayyy back to the very beginnings of the MPC and takes a look at our first and still most widely known data product, IPUMS USA.
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IT Core Spotlight: Jayandra Pokharel by MPC IT · October 8, 2015
Introducing Jayandra Pokharel, one of our IPUMS developers.
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Data Product Spotlight: Current Population Survey by Colin Davis · September 30, 2015
Our newest data product spotlight shines on CPS, the federal government monthly survey on employment in America, among other topics.
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IT Core Spotlight: Jim Young by MPC IT · September 22, 2015
Meet Jim Young, who joined us this year on a part-time basis as a way to stay involved in software development after retirement.
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Data Product Spotlight: Series Intro and the American Time Use Survey by Colin Davis · September 16, 2015
Colin Davis launches a new series which will provide quick summaries of our microdata products from a developer perspective. In this first post, he introduces the concept then takes a look at the American Time-Use Survey.
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MPC IT Shark Tank! by Fran Fabrizio · August 24, 2015
Our latest initiative to keep things fun and solve those pesky challenges that live in the shadows of our main projects.
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IT Core Spotlight: Colin Davis by MPC IT · July 8, 2015
Meet Colin, the longest tenured member of the IT Core.
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New Blog Platform, New Blog Look by Fran Fabrizio · July 2, 2015
We've updated the blog platform from WordPress to Jekyll (GitHub Pages)! We also took the opportunity to refresh the blog's look. Read more about the motivations for the switch.
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Our IT Hiring Process: How and Why by Fran Fabrizio · June 5, 2015
An overview of our IT hiring process and why we designed it this way.
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Affirmatively Insecure: Chrome and SHA-1 Certificates by Brian Gottreu · June 1, 2015
SHA-1 is on the way out and being helped through the door by Google. Brian will show a way to find which SSL certificates still use SHA-1 signatures and how to prioritize their replacement.
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Importing Fixed Length Data Using Ruby (Part Two) by Colin Davis · May 7, 2015
A follow-up to my post discussing my 'hflr' Ruby gem for reading hierarchical data in FLR format, today I'll demonstrate how to combine 'hflr' with a simple importer class to load a database with the data.
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RailsConf 2015 Wrap-Up by Marcus Peterson · April 29, 2015
The entire IPUMS web development team saddled up and headed to Atlanta for RailsConf 2015. Here's our summary.
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IT Core Spotlight: Jon Renner by MPC IT · April 10, 2015
The IT Core Spotlight shines on Jon Renner this week. Jon is one of our newest hires, working in our Data Production group on historical USA census data.
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IT Core Spotlight: Jason Goray by MPC IT · March 16, 2015
This week, the IT Core Spotlight takes a look at Jason Goray, our UX/UI Developer and long time member of the MPC IT Core.
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Migrating a Very Large Project from SVN to Git by Jayandra Pokharel · March 10, 2015
Jayandra shows us how to migrate a large, complex project from Subversion to Git.
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A Recipe for a New TerraPop UI: Part 1 by Fabio Trabucchi · February 19, 2015
A look at our newest project, Terra Populus, and the collaborative process we're utilizing to design develop the new TerraPop UI.
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IT Core Spotlight: Alex Jokela by MPC IT · February 17, 2015
Alex Jokela - Lead TerraPop Developer, beekeeper, photographer, chicken raiser. The IT Core Spotlight visits with the Core's renaissance man.
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Docker: Ignoring the Whale in the Room by Dan Elbert · February 12, 2015
MPC IN THE NEWS: The Changing Demographics of Marriage in India by MPC IT · February 11, 2015
Fixed Length Record Data by Colin Davis · January 28, 2015
Dealing with fixed-length record (FLR) data is a reality for us at the MPC. Colin introduces readers to his Ruby Gem, HFLR, which makes processing hierarchical fixed-length record data a bit easier.
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MPC IT New Year's Resolutions - Technical Debt Edition by Fran Fabrizio · January 21, 2015
In the spirit of the new year, we thought we’d share our technical debt reduction resolutions, 2015 edition!
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Introducing Team Spotlights by MPC IT · January 7, 2015
IT Core Spotlight: Ben Klaas by MPC IT · January 7, 2015
Chestnuts Roasting on 1000 CPUs by Jesse Erdmann · December 23, 2014
Ember for Rails Devs: Understanding How Ember Thinks by Jake Wellington · December 10, 2014
An introduction to Ember.js for devs who are used to thinking in Rails.
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IT Core Spotlight: Fran Fabrizio by MPC IT · December 7, 2014
A short conversation with Fran Fabrizio, the IT Core Director.
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Take It and Run: A Tale of Risk, Failure, and the Beginning of a Javascript Journey by Jake Wellington · December 1, 2014
Keeping it Simple: Exploiting CSV and csvkit at the MPC by Ben Klaas · November 21, 2014
How we use csvkit to wrangle data around here.
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Introduction to Terra Populus by Alex Jokela · November 8, 2014
MPC IN THE NEWS: The Changing Face of America by MPC IT · October 22, 2014
Feeling Fuzzy: Name Matching at the MPC by Fran Fabrizio · October 10, 2014
The MPC's data has been cited thousands of times. In this article, we explore how we connected those citations with our user accounts using fuzzy name matching.
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Data Duplication Detection by Jesse Erdmann · October 8, 2014
Harmonizing Data at the MPC by Colin Davis · September 23, 2014
MPC IN THE NEWS: Steve Ruggles, Wonkblog-Certified Data Wizard by MPC IT · September 22, 2014
MPC IN THE NEWS: Where We Came From and Where We Went, State by State by MPC IT · September 19, 2014
The folks at the NYT's Upshot recently did a piece charting how Americans have moved between states since 1900, using Census microdata obtained from ipums.org, the MPC's longest running data project.
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MPC IN THE NEWS: Top 1 Percent: What Jobs Do They Have? by MPC IT · September 12, 2014
In this visualization from the Business section of the New York Times, IPUMS data was used to explore the profession of America's top 1%.
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Optimizing for Developer Happiness: Migrating from Java to Ruby Without Missing a Beat by Marcus Peterson · September 9, 2014
Welcome! by MPC IT · September 2, 2014