Spotlight on Compute Canada's Unique
Pan-Canadian Expert Team

The more than 200 Compute Canada experts are critical to operation of the platform and support of the researchers who use it. Approximately half of this team have graduate degrees and research backgrounds. The majority of team members have degrees in computer science, engineering or physics. There are a growing number of team members with backgrounds in life sciences, as well as targeted new hires in humanities.

Compute Canada provides a structure through which local experts from campuses across the country can share knowledge and work to solve common problems. Several national technical teams have been formed to work on cross-cutting topics such as storage, networking, monitoring, help desk, national platforms, and cloud operations. Recently, Compute Canada has also formed several national disciplinary support teams in digital humanities, biomolecular simulation, subatomic physics and bioinformatics. These disciplinary teams are involved in community outreach, documentation and creation of common technical solutions for various disciplinary use-cases.

Did you know?

Compute Canada uses the Slack communication tool that is quickly becoming the standard for IT work. This app is now used to connect more than 200 experts employed in institutions across the country with their regions, national teams, and the Compute Canada national team. Since the launch in January 2016, there have been close to 73,000 exchanges online between regions, experts at institutions, and Compute Canada national staff.

In the world of large-scale computing, the speed with which barriers are overcome and problems are solved is absolutely critical. It is often the case that our research team hits a computational barrier that we cannot overcome. These barriers become stopping points for us: we cannot move any further with the project and we sit waiting for a response. I have dealt with support staff at numerous institutions in the past where it was routine to wait for days for a response from the staff who manage the computational infrastructure. Ross Dickson, however, assured me during my first week of my faculty position at Dalhousie University that he is always only a Skype call away and will always solve problems as soon as he possibly can. I am convinced that our research lab remains competitive in computational and statistical genomics because of the dedication Ross has to timely answering our queries. We consider him a critical part of our research team.
- Sean Myles, Dalhousie University