Compute Canada Launches Bioinformatics Support Resource


Toronto, Ontario – January 17, 2018 –  Today, Compute Canada launched the Canadian Bioinformatics Helpdesk ( This online community forum is free and aims to provide support for a wide-range of bioinformatics challenges faced by students, analysts, and researchers alike.

“Our hope is that this free tool — built by the bioinformatics community, for the community — will become the go-to resource for solutions and support for a broad range of bioinformatics challenges,” says Jamie Rosner of Compute Canada’s Bioinformatics National Team.

What types of questions are users currently crowdsourcing answers for?

So far, the questions address specific issues like “cleaning UCSC PED files for Haploview” and “(what is the) preferred way to install R packages on Cedar?” to more general questions pertaining to “current and future bioinformatics job market trends” and “what programming language is the best for bioinformatics?”.

Anybody can search the forum for previously posted questions and associated answers, while posting questions only requires a simple signup, which again, is free and open to everyone.

“Our goal is to support the national bioinformatics community by connecting the community with experts from across the country,” says Rosner. He notes that the team answering the questions on the forum is drawn from Compute Canada, the BC Genome Sciences Centre and the Canadian Centre for Computational Genomics. Furthermore, all services are offered in English and French.

Users of the site can also browse the training and events section and request one-on-one support, a free service for all researchers based at Canadian academic institutions.

“Compute Canada is an incredible national resource that helps facilitate Science,” says Guillaume Bourque, Director of Bioinformatics, McGill University & Genome Quebec Innovation Center.

“With the growing HPC requirements associated with genomic research, it’s been great to be able to rely on Compute Canada for our compute and software needs. Having a centralized forum providing targeted information on genomics and bioinformatics inside Compute Canada is a great idea. It will increase the reach and utility of what is already a very useful resource.”

Learn more:
Canadian Bioinformatics Helpdesk (

What’s with the beaver? Well, what’s more Canadian than a beaver? Not to mention, beavers have a reputation for being extremely hard working… just like the team behind the Canadian Bioinformatics Helpdesk.  And finally, the Canadian beaver was recently sequenced at The Centre for Applied Genomics at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, which fits in nicely with our country’s 150th birthday. Read the article, here.