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Census wants its old computers to act like thin clients

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The Census Bureau is looking to the private sector for ideas on how to retrofit its personal computers to access its cloud network, the bureau has announced.

Census released a request for information Wednesday asking companies to “provide recommendations for utilizing existing PCs to transition from hardware-based desktops to hardware-based desktops that function and perform as thin clients.”

Thin clients access applications stored on remote servers. They have limited built-in processing power, primarily to support rich graphics displays and multimedia applications. 

The bureau is looking for a cost-effective solution that would bolster the security of its information. Census said it expects to eliminate an employee’s ability to store data on a PC hard drive as it switches to cloud-based computing.

Census first used cloud technology in support of the 2010 cecennial head count. The deadline to submit a response to the RFI is Aug. 1, though Census has not committed to drafting a formal proposal or awarding a contract.

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