Research PortalResource Allocation Competitions

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Each fall, the Compute Canada Federation (CCF) invites researchers to apply to our annual Resource Allocation Competitions (RAC) and request storage and compute resources beyond what can be obtained via the Rapid Access Service.

Questions about the Resource Allocation Competitions are welcome at any time by emailing rac@computecanada.ca.

You may also find it helpful to consult our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. If you have questions about the terminology, please consult the Technical Glossary.

Important: The program to support special requests for ARC resources needed for COVID-19 research will end on March 31, 2021. If you have received one of these allocations and you expect that your need for resources will continue after April 2021, you must submit an application to the 2021 Resource Allocation Competitions.

Key Dates

Event Date
Fast Track Submissions *by invitation only September 23 to October 28, 2020
Resources for Research Groups (RRG) Competition September 23 to November 5, 2020
Research Platforms and Portals (RPP) Competition September 23 to November 5, 2020
Q & A Sessions – Everybody Welcome October 6, 2020 (English) – Slides & Recording 

October 7, 2020 (French) – Slides & Recording

RPP 2020 Progress Report submissions November 10 to December 11, 2020
All RAC 2021 applicants notified of results Late March 2021
RAC 2021 allocations implemented Early April 2021

Eligibility

To be eligible to submit an application to any of the Resource Allocation Competitions, Principal Investigators (PI) and co-PIs must:

  1. be a faculty member at a Canadian academic institution;
  2. be eligible to apply for funding from a Canadian granting agency;
  3. have an active Compute Canada Federation account with one of the following roles: Faculty, Adjunct Faculty, or Librarian.

Important:

  • You must apply with your primary, most up-to-date position. If you recently moved to a different institution and have not yet applied for a new faculty role in the Compute Canada Database (CCDB), please do so before submitting your RAC application.
  • If you have more than one faculty role on the CCDB, please make sure that your most up-to-date position is set as your primary role. On the CCDB, go to the Account Details to see which of your roles is currently set as primary and, if needed, click on the Make this role primary button next to the new role that you want to set as primary.

Failing to do any of the above could create problems if your application is successful. If you have questions or concerns about any of the items above, please contact rac@computecanada.ca.

Competition Guides

For RAC 2021, researchers can apply to the following resource allocation competitions:

Opens September 23, 2020, and closes November 5, 2020, at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. (Extension of this deadline is not possible.)

This competition is aimed at applications from individuals or small groups of researchers in need of compute, storage, or cloud resources at a scale beyond that available from local institutional or provincial resources. It is intended for faculty members from all disciplines and their sponsored users. Allocations are awarded typically for 1 year.

A Fast Track application process is available (by invitation only) for users with existing RRG allocations who meet specific criteria.

Opens September 23, 2020, and closes November 5, 2020, at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. (Extension of this deadline is not possible.)

This competition enables communities to develop research projects that improve access to shared datasets, enhance existing online research tools and facilities, or advance national or international research collaborations. The RPP Competition is focussed solely on scientific gateways. RPP allocations can be awarded for a maximum of 3 years.

Note:

  • Resources provided by the Compute Canada Federation are limited; therefore, applications are scaled based on supply and demand.
  • Refer to each Guide (either RRG or RPP) for the evaluation criteria specific to that competition.

Pre-Submission Consultations

If you are applying for the first time to the RAC, we strongly encourage you to consult with us prior to submitting your application. Consultations should happen prior to October 31, 2020, to allow adequate time for support by CCF technical staff.

The goal of the consultation is to:

  • Determine whether the resources needed for your project justify submitting a RAC application;
  • Verify the project’s eligibility to the right program (RPP vs RRG);
  • Provide technical assistance with the calculation of the resources needed.

To schedule a consultation with technical staff, please send an email to rac@computecanada.ca.

Assessment Process

We established our annual Resource Allocation Competitions (RAC) in response to the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) requirement to award advanced research computing (ARC) resources based on the scientific merits of the research proposed. In addition to this requirement, we must evaluate the technical merits of allocation requests.

To meet these two requirements, RAC involves two review processes each year:

  • a scientific review, which is a peer-review process involving more than 80 discipline-specific experts from Canadian academic institutions. These volunteers assess and rate the merits of the computational research projects submitted. The scientific review results in a single score that provides a critical and objective measure to guide allocation decisions; and,
  • a technical review that is undertaken by Compute Canada Federation (CCF) staff who are responsible for verifying the accuracy of the computational resources needed for each project based on the technical requirements outlined in the application and for making recommendations about the national system to which the resources should be allocated to meet the project’s needs.

The overall process is overseen by the RAC Administrative committee, which includes representatives from each of the national system host sites.

Guiding Principles

RAC is guided by the following principles:

  • All applications are given fair consideration through both a scientific and technical review process.
  • Resources are awarded based on the merits of the computational research project presented, rather than the merits of the overall research program.
  • There is no direct correlation between the amount of computational resources needed and the quality (excellence) of the research outcomes of a project. Important research can be done with a small amount of computational resources.
  • The challenges arising from the shortage of resources and other constraints within the system are shared among all applicants.

To schedule a consultation with technical staff, please send an email to rac@computecanada.ca.

Resource scaling

Resources provided by the Compute Canada Federation are limited; therefore, applications are scaled based on supply and demand.

A scaling function, endorsed by the Chairs of the Expert Review Committees, is applied to compute requests to provide a means by which decisions on RAC allocations in a context of insufficient capacity can be made.

For RAC 2020, this function was set so that only applications with a science score of 2.5 or higher received an allocation. Visit the 2020 Resource Allocations Competition Results page for more details about the scaling function and other RAC stats.

Past Competitions

To view the results of past Resource Allocation Competitions, please click here.

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