Statement from the Compute Canada International Advisory Council to the Board of Compute Canada
Compute Canada is doing excellent work providing national services and reaching researchers across multiple disciplines. The progress in this regard from the first meeting of the advisory committee one year ago is significant.
The wide distribution of users from humanities and environmental sciences to physics and bioinformatics seems well balanced. However, more could be achieved by further pooling computational resources and looking for synergy between local and national services.
Advanced research computing (ARC) is fundamental to modern research. Top quality researchers seek resources, and adequate infrastructure for research is an important facet of the national competitiveness for scarce talent.
The sustainability of ARC services is essential. Running large computing and data services with project base funding is not optimal. Typical projects last a few years, but data-centres are built for 20 years. Furthermore, computing capacity needs to be renewed at short intervals, while some data needs to be preserved forever.
Building the expertise and support organizations for ARC is a long-term commitment that requires highly sought after experts. To retain these experts Compute Canada requires enhanced and sustainable funding.
It is essential to consolidate advanced HPC systems/infrastructures into large facilities to serve users requiring large applications that cannot be accommodated by smaller systems. Wide distribution of computational resources is inefficient. Consolidation of services and sites will realize significant savings in software and system management, and efficiencies in system management.
This plan is a positive step forward. The approach for multi-purpose systems for a variety of science cases is impressive and will set the stage for future development in Canada.
Scientific Director, Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, U.S.A.
Head of Technical Services, European Bioinformatics Institute, United Kingdom
HPC Group Leader, CINECA Supercomputing Application & Innovation Department, University of Ferrara, Italy
Chief Information Officer, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab), U.S.A.
Managing Director, Center for Scientific Computing, Finland