Census wants its old computers to act like thin clients


Data trackers seek private sector ideas for hooking up to the cloud.

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.