A 19,000 sq. ft. building designed specifically to meet the needs of the Cancer
Prevention Research Center (CPRC) is in an ideal location within the social science
complex on the URI campus. This exemplary research facility was opened in June 1991 and an
addition that doubled the size was opened in January 2000.
The current CPRC building contains 55 offices, a lobby and reception
area, three conference rooms, and adaptable research space. Beyond office space, this
research setting contains several specially designed areas, including a large telephone
survey center (1300 sq. ft.), a large mailing area (420 sq. ft.), and several rooms
designed to house the central components of the CPRC computer system.
to the URI Kingston Campus
CPRC Computing Resources
The CPRC has two sophisticated local area networks (LANs) linking
108 PC's via Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 network software and operating in an office and
client/server environment. The CPRC has 2 full-time computer programmers on staff who
develop software, manage databases and assist with the Survey Management System needs,
including the Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) system, scheduling
assessment calls, intervention production, subject tracking and program monitoring needs.
In addition they share responsibilities for maintaining the network, and insuring that the
capabilities of the system continue to expand in a manner which meets the needs of
The primary network consists of 10mb category-4 and category-5 wiring
joined in a star formation at Racal and Allied Telesis 10mb concentrators. They, in turn
are connected to a 24 port Cisco switch for improved communications speed. The hub is
connected via fiber optic cable to the universitys wide area network (WAN). The
secondary network consists of 100mb category-5+ wiring joined in a star formation at 3Com
100mb concentrators. It is also connected via fiber optic cable to the universitys
WAN. The LANs are configured to allow efficient sharing of software and data between CPRC
staff members, while also allowing freedom and flexibility for individual users within
their own workstation environments. The LAN also provides fast linkage directly to the URI
mainframe via a fiber optic network backbone allowing for extremely fast data transfer
The LAN consists of four dual Pentium II and two single Pentium servers.
They have between 64 and 512MB of RAM in each system and a total of 107 GB of online disk
storage. There are 45 Pentiums and 58 - 486 class desktop PCs, along with 8 Pentium and 31
- 486 class laptops. The 486 class machines have a minimum of 40 MB of RAM and 1 GB hard
drives. They are used primarily as data entry terminals for the CATI System that operates
on a dedicated server. The Pentiums have a minimum of 64 MB of RAM and 2 GB hard drives
are used for high end graphical development, statistical analysis and software
Each LAN includes a number of peripheral devices, as well. Thirty-six
laser-jet and color ink-jet printers for graphics and final drafts are available. All data
on the system is backed up daily via 3 - 24 GB DAT tape drives. Additionally, the system
includes one high resolution Hewlett-Packard flatbed scanner, 4 Fujitsu Image OCR
Scanners, and two backup NCS OpScan 5, Model 20/30 optical mark scanners. And there are 7
ELO Touch Screen monitors for data collection. All PCs are connected to APC network surge
arrestors with critical equipment plugged into APC uninterruptible power supplies.
Data Analysis Resources Available. The CPRC provides considerable
resources to support this grant proposal. This includes access to an IBM ES/9000 mainframe
system at the University of Rhode Island Academic Computer Center, which provides large
capacity and high speed for statistical analyses that require a premium of space and/or
are time intensive. The mainframe system has available a complete set of the basic
software packages needed to perform most of the proposed analyses: BMDP (including EQS),
SPSS (including LISREL) and SAS. In addition the CPRC at URI has available a large number
of Pentium class PCs for data cleaning, data storage and statistical analyses. A large
number of statistical, graphical and database management packages are available in the
microcomputer environment within the URI CPRC LAN and provide the resources to perform all
other analyses that cannot or will not be performed on the mainframe. Available
statistical packages include DOS and/or WINDOWS-based versions of SYSTAT, SPSS, SAS,
EGRET, EQS, LISREL, and BMDP. Available graphics packages include DOS and/or WINDOWS-based
versions of Harvard Graphics, Powerpoint, and SYGRAPH. Available database management
packages include DOS and/or WINDOWS-based versions of EXCEL, PARADOX and ACCESS. Other
specialized statistical software includes PC versions of popular structural equation
modeling programs (LISREL; EQS; EZPATH), power analysis programs (Cohen's; Rossi's,
EXSAMPLE), Collins' Discrete Latent Variable Analysis Program, and Velicer's CAX Program.
In addition, the URI Academic Computer Center mainframe supports FTP (file transfer
protocol) software, which will enable speedy transfer of large data sets over fiber optic
data transmission lines. This capability will be used to facilitate periodic off-site
storage and updating of all project databases.
Multimedia Resources Available. There are 5 multimedia capable
Pentium II PC machines being used for systems development and testing on current projects.
In addition, many software packages (and accompanying licenses) are necessary to support
various multimedia components: Macromedias Authorware, Softvoice, Quicktime for
Windows, Adobe Photoshop, and Creative WaveStudio are available to CPRC programming
personnel. The University of Rhode Island also maintains additional audiovisual and
multimedia resources (such as film and sound studios) which can be used as needed to
support multimedia developments.
The CPRC employs a full time database manager, with several
part-time assistants. The data manager monitors the integrity of the data files and
routine execution of backup procedures. Currently, data is stored on micro-computer hard
disks, with at least two back-up tape copies always maintained, one of which is stored
off-site. Data is maintained at the CPRC building on either of two LAN systems, each of
which is equipped with power failure backup devices and automatic tape backup systems. All
data at the CPRC is backed-up automatically each day onto magnetic tape. Data is entered
into the system in two ways. Some of the data arrives by mail and is scanned in with an
optical scanner. The rest of the data is keyed directly into the computer assisted
telephone interview (CATI) system by survey center telephone interviewers when they call
subjects. The mail data is checked three times. First there is a visual check of the forms
being scanned. Next, the scanner itself rejects unacceptable forms. Finally, the database
program lists any surveys that are incomplete or have inconsistent answers. Since the
survey center and the CATI system do most of their own data verification, the clean data
is sent directly to the central client server database for storage. Clean data is then
ready to be used to generate expert system progress reports. The data is routinely
exported to ASCII files that can be used with statistical software packages.
The CPRC has developed a computerized Survey Management System (SMS)
that integrates mail and telephone survey data collection through a client server network
connecting over 40 client stations dedicated to the survey center. The Survey Center has
30 dedicated computers telephone interviewing cubicles, and approximately 90 experienced
part-time survey interviewers. 5 486 class computers are used by project supervisors for
project monitoring and troubleshooting. The SMS event scheduler provides real time
notification to survey staff of all surveys that need to be verified, schedules the call
backs and production of intervention reports, and provides database lists of surveys that
were not returned and therefore must be completed by phone. Computerized project
management reports have been developed that directly access the centralized project
databases, providing automated daily project status statistics, which are routinely
reviewed to monitor project progress. This system enables prevention, and early detection
and correction of database problems related to any of the ongoing survey projects being
conducted by the SRC.
Data Entry and Storage.
Data will be entered at the URI Survey Research Center (SRC), using
Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) and Optical-Scanning technology. Multiple
copies of all project databases are stored in at least two different locations at all
times throughout the project to prevent accidental data loss. In addition, the URI
mainframe can be accessed directly as an additional data storage site as needed. The URI
Academic Computer Center mainframe supports FTP (file transfer protocol) software, which
will enable speedy transfer of large data sets over fiber optic data transmission lines.
Data Entry with the Optical Scanner
The SRC employs 4 Fujitsu Image OCR Scanners, and two backup NCS OpScan
5, Model 20/30 optical mark scanners for data collection, which read customized response
forms, thus avoiding the expensive and tedious keypunching step. The subjects themselves
record the responses directly on the forms, which the clerical staff check for errors
before entry. Standard response forms will be developed in the first year for all studies.
A laser printer will be used to generate the progress reports for the expert system
interventions of all relevant projects.
SURVEY RESEARCH CENTER (SRC)