For many years now, come December I crawl out of my warm bed, gulp down the first of many double espressos and fire up three dozen PCs for a month-long 24/7 Crunchfest marathon. Here's a shot of a few of them lurching off the starting line.
But, what exactly are they doing?
Good question. Once a year, the Census Bureau and private data firms create new demographic updates and projections for every neighborhood in the United States. Our little bitmaulers gobble down a terabyte of so of this raw data and transform it into about 250,000 six-page community reports which are then stored on our web servers and accessed by our clients through our web site (as PDF files). When things are going well, each PC can make about 500 to 750 reports per day.
Unfortunately, this being high tech and all, things do not always go well, hence, the need for the espresso. If you are interested, here's a sample report you can view or download.