Proud to be Part of the Compute Canada Team

Don Hathaway, Board Chair

When I wrote the letter to accompany last year's annual report, I spoke of my admiration for those who are able to see beyond long-held allegiances and relationships because they believe in that old fashioned concept, the greater good.

Forming Compute Canada four years ago was somewhat like learning to swim by jumping off the end of a pier. One had to assume that the new skill would materialize before the swimmer went under. Certainly it was a leap of faith when regions, computer centres and hundreds of people became the structure that is now called Compute Canada. Many were reluctant, even dismissive — and with reason — for change on such a scale is fraught with risks and subject to the law of unintended consequences. Agreeing to set aside “the way we’ve always done things” is anathema to most of us, even when our intellect speaks to us of an overarching purpose.

Yet many individuals and organizations took the plunge and set about the challenging and incredibly complex task of providing the very best advanced research computing capabilities in support of Canada’s researchers. Much has been accomplished since then but more remains to be done. Compute Canada was created in isolation from the very institutions that would become its members, a legal expedient at the time; now those members must assume an active role in determining how the corporation is to fulfill its purpose.

Before writing this letter, I talked to my opposite numbers in the regions and provinces and I think they agree that, while there are obstacles to overcome and much work to do, the dedication to research has been and remains unwavering. As one of them remarked, “We’ve been flying the airplane while we’ve been building it,” because we cannot put research to one side while we sort out the very best way to deliver advanced research computing across the country.

I am privileged to have been the Board Chair of Compute Canada for its first four years, which allows me to write this letter, and I want to use it to express my absolute amazement — and my gratitude as a Canadian — for what the people who make up this organization have accomplished.

Many thanks!

Don Hathaway | Board Chair