$88 million for computing

March 8, 2007

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A recently announced $88-million federal investment in national high-performance computing (HPC) resources will improve SFU researchers' ability to address some of today's most complex and socially relevant research problems, says SFU/TRIUMF physicist Michel Vetterli.

"This investment opens the door for our researchers to have better access to powerful computing resources. It will let them compete on a level playing field with the rest of the world," says Vetterli, SFU's lead collaborator in the new Compute Canada, created via the National Platforms Fund.

Compute Canada is being financed with $78 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), of which SFU will receive $2.94 million, and $10 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Matching funds from provincial and industry sources will bring total Compute Canada funding to nearly $180 million.

"This represents a major leap forward for Canada's HPC community," says Eliot Phillipson, president and CEO of CFI. "This investment will provide researchers with the tools to solve large-scale computational problems that we could not even have imagined tackling 10 years ago."

The process leading up to the Compute Canada announcement mobilized Canada's entire HPC community—previously operating as seven separate regional consortia competing for resources—to work together on the development of a unified HPC strategy for Canada.

SFU is a partner in WestGrid—the Western Canada Research Grid—Canada's largest HPC consortium with 14 partner institutions across the four western provinces.

Compute Canada will create a pan-Canadian network of HPC facilities that will ultimately benefit more than 6,000 investigators performing intensive computationally based research across the country.

The investment marks the first time that CFI has identified a research infrastructure of strategic priority for the country and brought together all stakeholders—universities, provincial and federal funding agencies—to collaborate on the development of a shared pan-Canadian resource.

SFU is one of more than 60 Compute Canada partners across the country.

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