Photo: Nobel Laureate Dr. Arthur McDonald
In an effort to ensure the Canadian research community has access to essential world-class advanced research computing resources and support, Compute Canada is working with our national research community to raise awareness on the essential role of advanced research computing in Canada. Our consultations through the SPARC initiative predict that over the next five years Canadian researchers will require 7x more compute capacity and 15x more data storage.
Together we are the voice for advanced research computing (ARC) in Canada.
- Learn more about the essential role of ARC
- Meet the researchers that depend on ARC
- How can I help?
Advanced research computing (ARC) accelerates scientific discovery for national competitiveness, innovation, and economic success and develops a diverse and well-prepared workforce. In fact, supercomputing is revolutionizing industry and quickly becoming the third pillar of scientific discovery alongside theory and experiment.
From the recent gravitational waves discovery to creating new materials that improve automotive safety, Compute Canada (the only Canadian national platform for advanced research computing) is enabling and accelerating research and innovation results across Canada.
Canada is home to some of the world’s leading scientific researchers and innovators. To continue to attract and retain world leaders in research, industry, and to grow a nation of developers and innovators we must continue to invest in infrastructure for innovation and adopt a national strategy for advanced research computing. Our major science investments in personalized medicine, genomics and physics rely on access to a powerful platform of advanced research computing infrastructure, nationwide services and experts.
Today, supercomputers are becoming increasingly scalable to companies and research teams of all sizes with a limitless spectrum of uses. It is the modern day workhorse and a fundamental ingredient to our nation’s ability to compete globally.
We must enable and promote the adoption of advanced research computing methods to build better products, develop new drugs, create new advanced materials and reap the benefits of big data analytics.
- Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and request a tuque and sign to be mailed to you. Post the picture on your Twitter account and tag @ComputeCanada, your institution and your local MP.
- Request a meeting with your local member of parliament and share your research goals and the essential role advanced research computing plays in your work.
- Request a national strategy on digital research infrastructure to ensure we continue to keep pace with other nations.
- Make sure your Vice-President of Research and President are aware of your needs for advanced research computing.
- Recognize Compute Canada on your website and in your publications.
- Let us know about your efforts. Email email@example.com
Describing Advanced Research Computing to Non-Technical Audiences
Advanced research computing (ARC), an important component of Canada’s digital research infrastructure, is increasingly recognized as essential to advanced research and innovation in both the public and private sectors. ARC refers to the elements required to perform data‑intensive and computationally‑intensive research and data management, including high‑performance computing, storage, high‑speed networks and other tools and resources, including software, standards and data management services. Today, ARC underpins world‑class research across all disciplines.
The way research is conducted is changing: research is increasingly data‑driven and/or computationally‑intensive; new technologies, such as cloud computing and faster networking, are accelerating results and creating new opportunities to address scientific challenges; datasets are being constructed and mined in innovative ways; and technological advances are allowing researchers to construct ever more precise models of the world around us. These changes provide exciting new opportunities for discovery but also create new demands for the tools and infrastructure needed to carry out this work.
What can a supercomputer do that my laptop cannot?
Your laptop has an operating system, storage and computational processing capacity that can manage most of your daily requirements. However, to process huge datasets or execute complex functions you need access to the equivalent of thousands of laptops working together. Each “laptop” is contributing results and feeding this information to the others until the job is complete.
What is cloud computing?
A key aspect of cloud computing is that the equipment and systems could be physically located anywhere. Most people are familiar now with cloud storage through dropbox, google drive, etc. In that case you interact with the cloud, while the cloud interacts with the hardware. You don’t need to know which hard disk contains your files. With cloud computing, the user interacts with a “virtual machine” rather than a physical machine. That virtual machine can be moved anywhere in the cloud to do the needed calculation or data processing. This allows the researchers to develop their tools in a controlled virtual environment and then deploy those tools inside this environment to a variety of different physical hardware environments, regardless of where the machines are located and how they are configured.
How did advanced research computing become essential infrastructure for research and innovation?
Some fields, like engineering, computer science, subatomic physics and astronomy have relied on ARC for a long time already due to the scale of problems they were trying to solve. They pioneered the use of computers, software and networks to connect, share and process large datasets. These tools allowed for discoveries such as the Higgs Boson, and allowed researchers to analyze human DNA from real patients with real diseases. As the benefits of advanced computing became known, other researchers from a variety of fields saw the value and potential of these approaches and applied their knowledge and expertise to expanding these tools. Today, all academic disciplines and economic sectors benefit from these services and tools. For example, genomics and medical imaging will surpass the capacity required from traditional fields like physics and astronomy in the coming years as the promise of personalized medicine is realized.
Why is a national platform for advanced research computing so critical for Canadian innovation and discovery?
- Advanced research computing accelerates scientific discovery for national competitiveness, innovation, and economic success and develops a diverse and well-prepared workforce
- Advanced manufacturing, personalized medicine, environmental monitoring, genomics and big data rely on access to leadership class advanced research computing experts and infrastructure
- Supercomputing is essential Infrastructure for Canada’s Research, Innovation and tomorrow’s industrial frontiers
- Sustainable, predictable funding is required to remain globally competitive
- To continue to attract and retain world leaders in research, industry, and to grow a nation of developers and innovators we must continue to invest in infrastructure for innovation and adopt a national strategy for advanced research computing
- Canadians are exploiting the power of supercomputing or advanced research computing and big data to compete globally