Press Releases

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, a summary document is available. More info

SHARCNET is seeking a High Performance Computing Technical Consultant based out of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT).

As part of our mission to enable excellent research, we require advanced technical consultants to support the user community in leveraging HPC infrastructure for forefront research. This position will primarily be assisting users at UOIT. As part of the distributed technical team reporting to the Technical Manager, HPC technical consultants provide organizational focus for, and development of, the local user community with specific responsibilities. To view the complete job posting, click here.

Please join us for Compute Ontario Research Day 2015 on Thursday, May 21, at the Cambridge campus of Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning!

Sponsored by Compute Canada and Compute Ontario, this is a collaborative event between SHARCNET, SciNet, HPCVL, and Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. Compute Ontario Research Day 2015 is the preeminent provincial high performance computing event at which professors, postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students gather to learn about each other’s high performance computing related work.

The conference is free to attend, but does require registration. We welcome everybody, not just participants from Ontario. As a geographically local meeting, however, Compute Ontario Research Day 2015 is an excellent opportunity for students to advertise their projects. We anticipate offering a prize for best student presentation and/or best student poster.

Important Dates:
May 1: deadline for contributed presentation abstracts (submit an abstract)
May 5: notification of acceptance for contributed and poster presentations
May 6: release of final program
May 8: deadline for poster presentation abstracts (submit an abstract)
May 12: notification of acceptance for poster presentations
May 19: attendee registration ends

If you have any questions regarding the conference, please contact Dalibor Dvorski.

HPCS 2015, Canada’s pre-eminent forum for HPC, is accepting abstract submissions for oral presentations and posters until March 17, 2015.

The High Performance Computing Symposium 2015, to be held in Montreal from June 17 to 19, is a multidisciplinary conference that focuses on research involving Advanced Research Computing (ARC) and its applications in Canada. Attended by Canadian and international experts and renowned researchers in the computer sciences, all areas of engineering, applied and pure sciences, medicine and life sciences, mathematics, the humanities and social sciences, it is Canada’s foremost forum for ARC.

This year, the main theme of the conference is Advanced Computing and Big Data: Driving Competitiveness and Discovery. Invited speakers include:

  • Pierre Boucher, Director of Innovation and Research, Ericsson Canada
  • Susan I. Brown, Professor, School of English and Theatre Studies, Member of the Advisory Council on Research at Compute Canada and President of the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities (English)
  • Michael Brudno, Associate Professor, University of Toronto and SickKids
  • Patrice Castonguay, Professional Engineer — CFD Methods Development, Bombardier Aerospace
  • Thierry Deutsch, Institut Nanosciences et Cryogénie, CEA-Grenoble, France
  • Charles Lin, Director General — Atmospheric Science and Technology Directorate, Environment Canada
  • Andrea Lodi, Full Professor of Operations Research, Department of Electronics, Computer Sciences and Systems, University of Bologna, and École Polytechnique de Montréal
  • Stan Posey, HPC Industry Development, NVIDIA

The Wednesday will be devoted solely to Big Data and its applications. Other themes include:

  • Chemistry and NanoScience
  • Physics and Engineering
  • Biology and Bioinformatics
  • Infrastructures, Algorithm and Emerging Technologies
  • Exploring the World

Conference special events will include an opening cocktail on the 11th floor terrasse of the Concordia Visual Arts building and the Compute Canada Soirée at the Bain Mathieu. Tutorials will be held on June 15 and 16. For more information, please visit the HPCS website.

Important Dates:
Deadline for abstract submission: March 17, 2015 (extended to March 24th)
Notice of acceptance: April 8, 2015
Deadline for early bird registration: April 15, 2015
Deadline for SEEING BIG visualization submission: May 1, 2015

Chris Eliasmith, University of Waterloo Professor in the Departments of Philosophy, Systems Design Engineering and Computer Science and Canada Research Chair in Theoretical Neuroscience wins the NSERC John C. Polanyi Award that honours an individual or team whose Canadian-based research has led to a recent outstanding advance in the natural sciences or engineering.

Eliasmith has built a computer model of the human brain that makes human-like mistakes, has human-like accuracy, and takes human-like lengths of time to process information. The work could lead to better treatments for brain trauma and Alzheimer’s, as well as advances in artificial intelligence. Its name is Spaun, and it’s more human-like than any computer today. Developed by University of Waterloo neuroscientist Eliasmith, Spaun(Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network) is the world’s largest simulation of a functioning brain. And unlike other computer brains, Spauncan mimic the human brain’s ability to see, remember and act.

This internationally acclaimed computer program’s 2.5 million virtual neurons and simulated eye and arm allow it to shift between diverse tasks – from copying human handwriting to finding hidden patterns in a list of numbers. Such tasks will help researchers understand how millions of neurons cooperate to cause behaviour.

Eliasmith has drawn on his experience in philosophy, neuroscience, systems design engineering and computer science to develop mathematical theories of the brain that will make it possible for scientists to study the behavioural consequences of brain damage in a safe, simulated environment, without damaging a real brain. It will provide new insights into how the brain actually works and potentially revolutionize the way we treat brain disorders.

Eliasmith’s work has been featured in the BBC, Popular Science, CBC, Wired, New York Times, Science News, Discovery, and Nature just to name a few. He’s also the author of a step-by-step guide, called ‘How to Build a Brain’, which teaches readers how to build their own computer model of the human brain. More info

The sixth International Summer School on HPC Challenges in Computational Sciences will be held from June 21-26, 2015, in Toronto, Canada. This is an advanced summer school on High Performance Computing which targets graduate students and postdocs who already have some experience in HPC parallel programming (for instance, MPI, OpenMP, or CUDA/OpenCL), preferably on software used in successful research projects.

Leading American, Canadian, European and Japanese computational scientists and HPC technologists will offer instruction on a variety of topics.

Participation in the summer school is decided through an application process. Meals, housing, and travel will be covered for the selected participants. Applications from students in all science and engineering fields are welcome. Preference will be given to applicants with parallel programming experience, and a research plan that will benefit from the utilization of high performance computing systems.

Applications are due by March 11, 2015. For further information and to apply online, please click here.

As part of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Cyberinfrastructure Initiative, Compute Canada is invited to submit a proposal on behalf of the Canadian Advanced Research Computing community. This proposal is due in April 2015, and will be the focus of the Compute Canada consultations that will be held at six locations across the country between January 20 and 22, 2015.

In anticipation of these consultations, Compute Canada has prepared a high-level summary of their short-term infrastructure renewal plan. Written comments on this plan can be sent to or provided during the consultation sessions. While comments are welcome any time, those received by February 10, 2015 will be given full consideration in Compute Canada’s April 2015 submission to CFI.

SHARCNET is pleased to announce the results of its Round V Dedicated Programming Support competition. The primary objectives of this program are to enable key research projects with the potential for exceptional and lasting impact that require significant programming support to proceed, and facilitate optimal exploitation of SHARCNET’s or Compute Canada’s computing infrastructure for internationally leading research.

In this Round, programmer allocations have been made to the following researchers:

  • Peter Bernath, Department of Chemistry, University of Waterloo
  • Susan Brown, School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph
  • Li Xi, Chemical Engineering, McMaster University

SHARCNET plans to run another competition in 2-3 months. Please visit the DP website for more information on the competition. Congratulations to our Round V awardees!