This is a periodic newsletter of the interesting things we’ve seen and what we are thinking about in open source policy analysis.
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with code. The MIT Museum and Virtual AGC digitized and open sourced the code that took Apollo 11 to the moon. Apollo 11 was comprised of two primary modules: the Command Module for transporting the three astronauts to the moon and back and the Lunar Module for landing two of the three astronauts on the moon. To navigate through space, both modules required their own guidance system called the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC). The curators of this project transcribed thousands of scanned documents to recreate the source code for the AGCs of both modules and published the code on GitHub. Link
To repeal or not to repeal the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap. Under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers can deduct no more than $10,000 of their state and local taxes from their taxable income. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) recently proposed a bill to eliminate the SALT cap, arguing that it unfairly targets homeowners in high-cost states. In a recent op-ed, AEI’s Aparna Mathur and Erin Melly argue in favor of the SALT cap because low- and middle-earners are mostly unaffected, and they use Tax-Calculator* to show the bill’s distributional effects. Link and link
CBO’s new health insurance model at the PSL DC meeting. Geena Kim, an economist at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), will present HISIM2 at the upcoming Policy Simulation Library* (PSL) DC meeting. HISIM2 generates estimates of health insurance coverage and premiums and is used for the CBO’s budget projections. The PSL meeting will take place on Wednesday, July 31, at AEI. Link
IBM open sources cancer research tools. IBM’s computational systems biology group has open sourced three tools that use machine learning to help scientists understand the molecular mechanisms and leading drivers of cancer. IBM will present novel research that employs the machine learning algorithms at a conference this week in Basel, Switzerland. Link
Federal Reserve debuts tool for better Current Population Survey analysis. If you have ever used the Current Population Survey (CPS) for social science research, you have likely encountered confusing data dictionaries and time-inconsistent variables. To make longitudinal research easier, the Atlanta and Kansas City Federal Reserves released a harmonized variable and longitudinally matched (HVLM) data set that standardizes CPS variables over time. Link
* These projects are attendees or graduates of OSPC’s incubator program.
Edited by Matt Jensen and Peter Metz