Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

Petter's Perspective: Notes from the President


SFU launches Canada’s most powerful academic supercomputer

April 25, 2017

If you were on Burnaby campus last week you may have felt a surge of power – and excitement – as Simon Fraser University launched Canada’s most powerful academic supercomputer.

Housed in the new SFU Data Centre and named “Cedar,” after BC’s official tree, the supercomputer is part of the most ambitious computing infrastructure renewal in Canadian history, and makes SFU one of the top 100 supercomputer installations in the world.

SFU is proud to be leading a national network of four new Canadian supercomputing and data centre sites in partnership with Compute Canada and WestGrid. The network will include advance research computing (ARC) centres in Victoria, Toronto and Waterloo.

Cedar and its network will allow thousands of researchers from BC and across Canada to collect, analyse, share and store immense volumes of data.  This adds to SFU’s growing strength in big data, and will help to advance research and innovation in a wide variety of areas – from natural to applied sciences; from social sciences to the humanities.

For example, SFU bioinformatics and genomics professor Fiona Brinkman leads the Integrated Rapid Infectious Disease Analysis Project, which uses sophisticated and secure computer power to understand disease outbreaks. And SFU physics professor Michel Vetterli leads research with the ATLAS-Canada Tier-1 Data Centre which analyses huge amounts of particle data from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Switzerland.

These are just two of many SFU researchers whose work will benefit from Cedar.

Professors Brinkman and Vetterli joined me and many others, including SFU VP Research Joy Johnson, Canada Foundation for Innovation Vice-President Guy Levesque, Compute Canada President Mark Dietrich, and Westgrid Executive Director Lindsay Sill, to celebrate the official launch of Cedar.  Click here for Media Release and photos.

SFU is excited to be a leader in providing the computing capacity that our researchers require to generate new knowledge and to help build an innovation economy in BC and Canada.