Data Subject to Restrictions at MARCC

Jaime E. Combariza, PhD, Associate Research Professor, Department of Chemistry, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University; Director, Maryland Advanced Research Computing Center (MARCC)


The Maryland Advanced Research Computing Center (MARCC) completed its first year of operation on June 30, 2016. In this extremely successful first year, over 800 user accounts have been created with the involvement of over 190 Principal Investigators. The system currently boasts over 300 active users investigating a diverse range of scientific projects that range from Genomics and bioinformatics, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Molecular Dynamics simulations on materials and biochemical systems, electronic structure calculations, to black holes and high energy astrophysics, and many other topics. MARCC has had a tremendous impact on the research community at JHU and UMCP, enabling them to conduct transformative research, expand their research and tackle ambitious projects.

MARCC provides resources to analyze “open data”, however, we are aware of the critical need to support data subject to restrictions like Patient Health Information (PHI). This data is becoming more important for researchers in the health sciences but more security is necessary due to the inherent sensitivity and confidentially of the data. MARCC is proposing a system that will allow scientists to analyze HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) data. This system is based on allocating Virtual Machines for connectivity and computation as well as using VLANs to protect data intrusion. We expect this system to be available early in 2017. This secure file system will be described as well as some of the projects that MARCC has enabled.