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GCN : October 2015
GCN OCTOBER 2015 • GCN.COM 23 but we’ll keep it modular, generic and eas- ily instantiated,’” he said. “Essentially, that was the motivation for everything.” BRICS forms the basis of the Defense Department-managed Federal Inter- agency Traumatic Brain Injury Research, but its influence has expanded beyond its original goal. BRICS supports the Parkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program from the National Institute of Neurologi- cal Disorders and Stroke and is the basis of the National Eye Institute’s eyeGene, which seeks to advance the study of eye disease and its causes. There are six components to the BRICS toolset, several of which McAuliffe consid- ers “foundational,” including a data dic- tionary that helps researchers accurately locate data that is most relevant to their research. “We consider that foundational because all the data that goes into the system is collected consistently,” he said. “Study A collects age data the same way Study F did. That way, you can combine the data easily and search it more easily.” In addition, the Global Unique Identi- fier helps collect de-identified data con- sistently over time to help chart disease progression, and ProForms is an electron- ic data capture tool that builds electronic forms and maintains data consistency. In the future, BRICS will run on the Drupal open-source content manage- ment framework, which is often used for knowledge management and collab- orative applications. McAuliffe said the biggest advantage will be the ability to update content quickly. “We won’t have to wait for the next deployment or ask the developers to add information to the site,” he said. It will also be easier to incorporate public-facing features to the site, including social or video tools and widgets. As BRICS-based platforms grow, they will need to meet greater data storage requirements, especially in genomics research. McAuliffe sees that as one of the project’s bigger challenges and believes cloud might be the answer. “With genomics, you are looking at an immense amount of data,” he said. “We want to see if we can maybe store that data out in the cloud and still make it discoverable.” Meanwhile, BRICS developers are deciding whether to formalize an applica- tion programming interface for the data dictionary. “If we make it formal, then others can connect to it and convert their data in a way that’s more consistent with the installation of BRICS for that com- munity,” he said. — Paul McCloskey UNRAVELING A WEB OF FRAUD Los Angeles County built a platform that links data mining, social network analysis and rules management to fight child care fraud When Los Angeles County began to explore data mining to help track fraud in its Cali- fornia Work Opportunity and Responsibil- ity to Kids Child Care Program, it was daunted by the complexity of the scams it faced. The county’s Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) began to see signs of escalating collusion among providers and recipients in the pro- gram, which helps low-income families pay for child care services so parents can go to work. “The collusion occurs between the care providers and the recipient, and then it expands like a web,” said Michael Sylvester II, assistant director of the county’s Bureau of Contract and Technical Services. In a typical fraud scenario, an un- licensed provider takes care of many 1015gcn_020-038.indd 23 10/5/15 10:40 AM
January and February 2016