Leading the Biggest Renewal of Canada’s Advanced Research Computing Platform

The CFI Cyberinfrastructure Initiative (Challenge 2 – Stage 1) award, announced in July 2015, is being used to address pressing and urgent needs for a technological update of Compute Canada’s national hardware platform. This $30 million federal investment with matching funds from institutions and provinces represents close to $75 million. This is replacing existing capacity only and replacing aging infrastructure.

These new systems will be larger and more capable than the older systems they replace, and will provide operational cost savings and economies of scale. These systems are expected to increase Compute Canada’s computational capacity significantly. They will be installed in four of the most sophisticated, purpose-built university data centres in Canada, and will support a range of national services that can be accessed by any Canadian researcher from any institution in any discipline, just by registering as a user with Compute Canada.

This type of flexible service model and specialized support is extremely difficult to find in comparable research infrastructure or commercial cloud providers. Due to the nature of their activities, research platforms need reasonable fluidity to remain relevant and drive innovation at a global level. For this to be a reality, research cyberinfrastructure services cannot always be reduced to the commercial model of a uniform access to resources and a uniform support offering mapped to a simple scaling fees structure. We are in strong support of maintaining and, more importantly, further developing Compute Canada cyberinfrastructure capabilities for the benefit of all Canadian research platforms and research in general.
- Dr. Alan Evans