The Person-Event Data Environment

Leveraging Big Data for Studies of Psychological Strenghts in Soldiers

2008-05_Tully_RWJF_GFH-383

The Person-Event Data Environment (PDE) provides a collaborative research environment for Army and Department of Defense databases, enabling researchers to access important and comprehensive data using a secure cloud-based environment.

The Issue:
The United States Army collects a significant amount of data on members of its community. The PDE was created in 2006 to provide a collaborative research environment for Army and Department of Defense databases, enabling researchers to access this data using a secure cloud-based environment.  

This paper examines the operating environment of the PDE, the design and operational capabilities of the PDE, and the types of research that may be conducted within the PDE.

Key Findings

  • The PDE currently has six terabytes, or 6,000 gigabytes, of data, and is expected to double over the coming months.

  • Data includes information on corrections and legal issues, physical fitness tests, military service information, training records, and health records.

  • Significant security and privacy features are incorporated into the PDE to protect the information.

  • The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded the University of Pennsylvania a grant to identify positive assets that enhance mental and physical well-being among U.S. Army soldiers.

  • Additional research includes studies of resilience and a host of negative and positive outcomes and the economic costs of poor resilience and psychological health.

Conclusion:
The PDE is an important contributor to scientific advancement through careful research and analysis, yet understanding the uses and limits of its data is critical.

This study is one in a series supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio to explore Positive Health, an emerging concept that seeks to demonstrate that in addition to health risks, people also have health assets, which can be strengthened to produce a healthier life. These health assets could include biological factors, such as high heart rate variability; subjective factors, such as optimism; and functional factors, such as a stable marriage.

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