National advanced research computing site selection results

Compute Canada and its regional partners (ACENET, Calcul Québec, Compute Ontario and WestGrid) are pleased to announce the institutions nominated to host national advanced research computing (ARC) systems in Compute Canada’s next round of infrastructure funding.

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Compute Canada and its regional partners (ACENET, Calcul Québec, Compute Ontario and WestGrid) are pleased to announce the institutions nominated to host national advanced research computing (ARC) systems in Compute Canada’s next round of infrastructure funding.

The following institutions have been nominated:

LP Site – University of Toronto
GP1 Site- University of Victoria
GP2 Site – Simon Fraser University
GP3 Site – University of Waterloo

The new systems are planned to be fully operational in 2016. The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) provides significant capital funding for these systems through its Cyberinfrastructure Initiative, in which “Challenge 2” targets the needs of Compute Canada, divided into two stages, one to be decided in 2015, and the next to be decided in 2016. Compute Canada’s operations and management costs are funded through the CFI’s Major Science Initiative (MSI) program, which funds Compute Canada through March 2017. Both of these initiatives (Cyberinfrastructure and MSI) are funded jointly by the CFI, provinces and institutions.

With a total project cost of up to $37.5M, Challenge 2 Stage 1 funding targets the most “pressing and urgent” ARC needs of Canadian researchers. The majority of current Compute Canada systems are already at or beyond their nominal 5-year lifespan. Aging systems lead to increased operational costs due to less energy efficiency, increased likelihood of system failure and increased warranty costs on key components. These systems are not as well-adapted to modern scientific usage as the new systems will be. As such, the focus of this renewal funding is on replacement of existing capacity and to “address the most pressing immediate needs.”

For more information on Compute Canada’s technical plan please visit www.computecanada.ca.

In preparation for its proposal to the Cyberinfrastructure Initiative, Compute Canada initiated a site selection process in fall 2014. This process asked Compute Canada’s member institutions to “bid” on hosting one of four new national systems planned for this funding. Compute Canada received nine (9) proposals on November 24, 2014, from:

ACENET, a joint proposal from universities in the Atlantic provinces, for a data centre in Halifax
Université Laval
Université de Sherbrooke
University of Toronto (through Compute Ontario)
University of Waterloo (through Compute Ontario)
University of Alberta, partnering with University of Calgary and University of Saskatchewan
Simon Fraser University
University of British Columbia
University of Victoria
An international Expert Review Panel examined all proposals and submitted a report to the Compute Canada Board of Directors, evaluating the technical suitability of each proposed site. This technical assessment was complemented by an analysis of the financial aspects of each proposal, after being reviewed by Compute Canada’s senior management and regional directors. Based on this technical and financial analysis, Compute Canada entered into discussions with the top-ranked sites to confirm the final hosting scenario, which has been validated by the Expert Review Panel, and approved by Compute Canada’s Board of Directors.

This consolidation of the national platform will reduce the number of data centres used by Compute Canada from 27 centres to approximately 15 centres by early 2017. Researcher support personnel will continue to be accessible on campuses to allow for enhanced service of the local and nearby research community, assisted by subject matter experts working across the country. Technical staff and system administrators will continue to be located on campuses with active data centres.

For more information on Compute Canada Site Selection process please download the Q&A’s.

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