Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20213






December 3, 1984















Unemployment Insurance Service




UI Quality Control ADP Considerations


  1. Purpose. The purpose of this infomation bulletin is to keep you and, through you, the States informed of issues concerning Automated Data Processing (ADP) design and development for the UI Quality Control System.

  2. Reference. UIPL 19-84. UIPL 3-85. UI Information Bulletin (QC-1). UI Information Bulletin (QC-2). Field Memorandum No. 5-85.

  3. Background. UIS Information Bulletin (QC-1), issued May 17, 1984, outlines the characteristics of UI Quality Control. These characteristics include the need for State QC Systems to be comprehensive, cost effective and flexible. There is also the recognition that States have primary responsibility for efficient administration of UI by having States draw samples, identify errors, compute error rates, analyze QC data and initiate corrective action. UIPL 19-84, issued March 21, 1984, emphasizes the need to significantly increase data precision and to increase sample sizes for more detailed and precise information. UIPL 3-85, dated October 18, 1984, outlines the proposed data elements to be used in the UI QC benefits program. It also stresses the need for automation through the use of microcomputers and telecommunications in order to accomplish the objectives stated above.


  4. Characteristics of ADP within UI Quality Control. 

    Computer technology will play a vital part in the implementation of the UI QC program. The use of a dedicated microcomputer workstation physically located in the QC unit in each State will allow accurate processing of the QC case load without requiring a major shift in SESA staffing.

    After an extensive evaluation, the QC task force selected the Digital Equipment Corporation Professional 380 (Pro 380) microcomputer for the QC program. Each State QC unit and each regional office will receive a Pro 380 system configured for use as the QC workstation. Delivery and installation will take place during January and February of 1985.


  5. Hardware. 

    The Pro 380 is a Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) microcomputer. In the literature, it is referred to variously as a personal mini or a super micro. It utilizes the microprocessor which is the workhorse for some of the larger DEC systems.

    The microcomputers used in QC will have either a 768 KB or 1024 KB Random Access Memory (RAM). Each system will include a dot matrix printer capable of speeds of 240 characters per second (cps) in draft mode, 80 cps in memo mode, and 30 cps in letter quality mode as well as continuous and single sheet forms up to 15 inches wide.

    Both the computer and the printer are supplied with automatic diagnostic routines which run every time the equipment is turned on. Maintenance agreements with DEC provide for service facilities in every QC location which guarantee repair turnaround within 24 hours.

    Despite the wide range of capabilities, the Pro 380 requires only minimal site preparation. The central processing unit (cpu) itself is 6.5 inches high, 14.5 inches wide, 22.0 inches long, and weighs 35 pounds. Both the cpu and the printer plug into standard (120V), grounded (3 prong), non-conditioned wall outlets. In anticipation of the delivery of the Quality Control system, you may at this time want to plan an office location which contains two outlets and a phone jack close together. When considering this location, attention should be paid to physical security for the computer.


  6. Software. 

    The operating system for the QC 380's is Pro Venix, a Unix-type operating system, which provides multi-tasking and multi-user capabilities, allowing 2 simultaneous users, up to 30 simultaneous tasks, and foreground and background operation. It is fully supported by Digital Equipment Corp.

    Application software that will form the basis for the QC system is an integrated package from VenturCom, Inc. called Prelude. It is an integrated package along the lines of the popular Lotus 1-2-3 made for personal computers, but is much more powerful. Prelude includes a fully relational database management system, spreadsheet, graphics, math and statistical functions, and a software interface which allows other utilities to be accessed from within Prelude.

    This integrated software system can be a very useful tool for States to design applications specific to their needs. Prelude manuals will, of course, be included as part of the system documentation. However, the QC software system will be custom designed by the National Office to be complete and easy to use, so that those States which do not want to do additional programming won't have to. The QC system is designed to have many enhancements and refinements. It will be entirely menu-driven and will include help functions. There will be data entry forms for the required data and edit checks to guard against gross errors. There will be a report generator that will include statistical routines and graphics. MIS and case tracking facilities will also be available. The microcomputer will be able to pass messages to any other microcomputer in the QC system with access determined solely by the SESA's. The National Office VAX computer will act as the central router for the QC message system. To facilitate text processing needs, a word processing package will also be included.

    It is important to note that the National office will provide full support far the entire QC software system and the State Data Processing shops need riot be concerned with this responsibility. In the event that there are bugs in the software or if there are any disk or diskette problems, the National Office will be available to answer any questions. A "hotline" type arrangement will be established for this purpose. Copies of the software packages will be provided to alleviate the problems.

    The QC microcomputer will support hard-wired or dial-up access to the SESA mainframe and can be used as a regular mainframe terminal for State. determined activities. The National Office will provide software to offload formatted data from the SESA mainframe. As in Random Audit, the SESA ADP unit will be responsible for programming the necessary data extraction programs from the mainframe data file and for building a relevant population file with the associated sample selection routines.


  7. Supplies. 

    The microcomputer system will be delivered complete to the State QC unit. However, some States may be interested in ordering supplies and peripheral equipment. A manual for the operating system will be provided, but for those States that anticipate doing any of their own programming, it might be useful to order some Unix reference books. There are many good books available, but one that the National office QC staff has found particularly useful is The Unix Operating Stem, by Kaare Christian, published by John Wiley and Sons. (See attached list for additional references.)

    I believe that this information will be useful for the Regions and the States. Additional information of a more technical nature can be found in Attachment 2 and a glossary of computer terms can be found in attachment 3. If you have any further questions regarding ADP for Quality Control, please call Jean O'Donoghue at (202)376-7066 or Albert Impink at (202)376-6245.