Compute Canada’s Call for Whitepapers for Sustainable Planning for Advanced Research Computing (SPARC)


An important message from Compute Canada to Canadian researchers and research communities. Further to the recent announcement for SPARC, Compute Canada is issuing a call for whitepapers addressing the future needs of specific research disciplines.

This year, the CFI is planning to announce the first major competition to fund shared cyber infrastructure since the National Platforms Fund (2006). The competition is foreseen to include both a renewal of the existing Compute Canada national platform and funding for domain-specific projects built in cooperation with Compute Canada. The infrastructure that will be deployed as a result of this competition will provide the primary advanced research computing resource for thousands of Canadian researchers between 2016-2021. As such, Compute Canada is facilitating your research community to influence the planning for this infrastructure. This is a critical exercise that will have a long-term impact on your research area.

Through our SPARC initiative, Compute Canada will be calling for input throughout the summer of 2014. One element of this engagement is this call for discipline-specific whitepapers addressing the future needs of our research communities.

Different disciplines have different advanced research computing needs which may include:

  • Analysis of “big data”
  • Running software with a large memory footprint
  • Specialized hardware (e.g. GPU accelerators)
  • Analysis of sensitive private data
  • Access to a very large number of computational “cores” in a single system
  • Dedicated software platforms, scientific gateways, virtual machines in a cloud environment

We need to understand your needs. Keeping in mind the 2016 to 2021 timeframe, please address the following basic questions in your response.

  • What kinds of problems are you trying to solve?
  • What kind of infrastructure is best suited to solve these problems today?
  • How much of that infrastructure would be needed to meet the needs of your community?

Please submit your whitepaper by July 31, 2014. Submissions should be sent to

This will not be Compute Canada’s only call for input or discussion. We need to have an overview of your requirements by the end of July 2014 in order to incorporate your discipline specific needs in our own preparation for the CFI’s expected request to Compute Canada for a renewal proposal. If you need further information or have any other questions please feel free to contact us at

Read the full Call For Whitepapers and the Whitepaper Guidelines here.