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st: utility to create fake dataset?


From   Jeph Herrin <junk@spandrel.net>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   st: utility to create fake dataset?
Date   Sun, 08 Nov 2009 12:20:24 -0500


I sometimes need to create a "fake" dataset that "looks?
like an existing dataset. For example, a dataset that
must, for health privacy reasons, remain on a remote server,
and I would like to develop code locally to run on it.
Or, I need to make mock tables to share with colleagues
who need to remain blinded for now to actual study data.

Usually, I just do something that seems "good enough", like
sample 5%, expand 20, replace values with random values, etc.
Or, in an extreme case, set obs to be twice the existing obs
and keep the ones with missing data. But the first is not
very satisfying when I need to reassure higher powers that
I have a "dummy" dataset, and the second is not very helpful
for writing final useable code.

So, I'm thinking I'll write a utility to create a 'dummy'
dataset from an existing dataset, but wondered if there was
something out there already. Perhaps there is even a well
established name for this process? My searches for "dummy"
and "fake" dataset have not been fruitful.

thanks,
Jeph


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