WestGrid is the network of advanced research computing (ARC) support services that enables and accelerates research excellence and innovation in Western Canada. Led by an Executive Director and a senior management team, WestGrid oversees the operations of Compute Canada infrastructure in Western Canada, and provides front-line support for researchers through a distributed team of technical experts and support personnel. It is governed and managed by an Executive Committee, composed of researchers, and a Member Council of Vice-Presidents of Research and equivalent representatives from WestGrid’s seven member institutions. In addition to providing ARC services and support, WestGrid forges collaborative relationships with national and provincial digital infrastructure leaders, and advocates on behalf of Western Canadian researchers and institutions. At the regional level, WestGrid is supported by the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Technical Staff and Expertise

Within WestGrid, seven Site Leads oversee the operation of Compute Canada infrastructure and manage a broader team of 60 technical staff who provide user support and consultation services, platform/portal programming and development, and system administration support. The team brings a diverse range of expertise supporting computational science, including specialties in large data transfer, bioinformatics pipelines, information privacy, digital humanities and scientific visualization. The team's academic backgrounds are just as varied, spanning the sciences as well as specialties in Epidemiology, Meteorology, Archaeology, English Literature, Philosophy and Game Theory. Members of WestGrid's technical team have consistently either won or been nominated by the user community for Compute Canada Awards of Excellence, which annually celebrate and recognize exceptional ARC support and expertise.

Training and Outreach

Throughout the year, WestGrid hosts webinars and in-person workshops to deliver user training and skills development in areas of advanced research computing (ARC). In 2015-16, WestGrid education, outreach and training events reached nearly 1,700 members of the research community, as well as other stakeholders in academia, government, and industry. WestGrid also supported the online delivery of IRMACS’s Coast to Coast Seminar Series, and formed a new partnership with the Vancouver Bioinformatics User Group (VanBUG) to enable VanBUG to webstream its monthly speaker series for the first time last year.

Usage of Resources by Western Canadian Researchers

Values of less than 1% are not reflected in these charts.

CPU Usage by Research Discipline (chart)
CPU Usage by Institution (chart)
Lindsay Sill, Executive Director, WestGrid

One of the greatest strengths behind Compute Canada and its regions is the distributed nature and depth of expertise of our technical experts and support personnel. This collaborative approach has not only enabled the sharing of knowledge and development of high quality personnel from coast to coast, it has allowed us to better serve and advance the adoption of advanced research computing across a variety of research disciplines. Our team at WestGrid looks forward to continuing to build on this strength in the years to come.

- Lindsay Sill, Executive Director, WestGrid