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Compute Canada is dedicated to providing an Advanced Research Computing (ARC) platform that meets the needs of our diverse user community. In addition to existing support for large-scale research projects, Canada’s national ARC platform is capable of sustaining robust research for mid- and smaller-scale data-intensive projects, in any discipline.

Each year, Compute Canada allocates on average 80% of our compute and storage resources through the Resource Allocation Competitions (RAC) and leaves roughly 20% for non-competitive requests. Users can access these non-competitive resources via our Rapid Access Service. (These percentages may change according to the demand.)

Please consult the Compute Canada Technical Glossary if you have questions about any of the terminology below. General questions can be emailed to support@computecanada.ca.

How to access Compute Canada resources

1. Create an account: To access any of our ARC resources, you must first obtain a Compute Canada account.

  • Access to cloud resources, via RAS or RAC, also requires access to a cloud project.  For more details on gaining access to a cloud project, see the cloud documentation on our technical wiki.

2. Default access: All users get access to a basic amount of resources upon the activation of their Compute Canada account. This allows users to experiment and start working right away.

  • Storage: see default storage quotas available.
  • Compute: CPU and GPU resources are available for opportunistic use (no priority).

3. Rapid Access Service (RAS): Principal Investigators can request additional storage and cloud resources without having to apply to the Resource Allocation Competitions (RAC), but compute priority can only be increased through RAC.

Many research groups can meet their needs through RAS alone. For more information, please visit our Rapid Access Service page.

4. Resource Allocation Competitions (RAC): These are peer-reviewed competitions for projects that need resources beyond what is available via RAS. There are two main competitions:

An out-of-round RRG application process is available for special cases, and applications are accepted up to April 31 of any year. A PI may submit an out-of-round application to the RRG program for the following reasons:

  • PI is a new faculty who started a new faculty position at a Canadian academic institution during or after the previous competition round; OR
  • PI has a special opportunity to make a significant scientific breakthrough that could not have anticipated within the application period for the previous round. In this case, a description of the breakthrough of no more than one page is required.

Out-of-round applications follow the same review process as the applications submitted to the regular round. The resulting allocations start when awarded but have the same expiry date as the ongoing RRG program.

The annual allocation process reserves only a small proportion of resources for opportunistic and out-of-round usage. Therefore, there are very limited resources available for out-of-round requests so large asks may be denied.

Successful applications submitted through this process may be allowed to use the Fast Track application process in the next application round when they meet the Fast Track eligibility criteria.

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