Open Source for Public Information Technology

Open source software powers thousands of computing projects in financial services, research, internet, Big Data and education—and grows each year. Tools like the Python programming language and a wide array of compatible libraries enable organizations to effectively tackle complex data processing and modeling projects.
The open source approach is particularly valuable in data science and analytics, because it encourages collaboration, transparency and accessibility—all of which are fundamentally important in the pursuit of any scientific discipline.
Democratic governments and public policy projects are also adopting the open source approach for these same reasons. It is ideal for deployment in the public sector—providing transparency, accessibility and innovation at low cost while retaining high performance and flexibility. It also encourages an inclusive community for public initiatives. 
In this whitepaper, our goal is to provide a guide for how government and non-governmental organizations involved in public policy analysis can use the open source approach, in particular focusing on:
  • The basics of using open source software for the public sector, including its advantages over proprietary software
  • How one public policy analysis project, Tax-Calculator/TaxBrain, was built in collaboration with the open source community
  • How the Anaconda platform lowers the barrier to rapidly adopting open source and encourages formation of communities working on common projects


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About the Author

T.J. Alumbaugh

T.J. Alumbaugh is a Senior Solutions Architect at Continuum Analytics, where he helps many of the world's largest companies solve their most challenging computational problems.
Before Continuum, T.J. worked as a software engineer, researcher and computer scientist, most notably at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories.
He holds a Masters degree in Computer Science from the University of Illinois, as well as Bachelors degrees in Mathematics and Computer Sciences.
T.J. is joined by Matt Jensen, Founder and Managing Director at the Open Source Policy Center.