Scientific Gateways and Portals

In addition to providing traditional computational and storage resources and services to its research commuity, the IRMACS technical team is available for consultation and support of reserach groups that require custom services that hide the complexity of the sophisticated computational infrastructrue of IRMACS, Compute Canada, and other advanced computational resource providers. Researchers and/or project groups can utilize IRMACS infrastructure (and contract with IRMACS support) to provide scientific data portals and scientific gateways, providing simple to use interafaces to complex data repositories and advanced computational infrastructrue.

IRMACS Scientific Gateways

iReceptor Scientific Gateway

In January 2014 the IRMACS Centre embarked on a new scientific gateway project called iReceptoriReceptor is a distributed data management system and scientific gateway for mining “Next Generation” sequence data from immune responses. The goal of the project is to: improve the design of vaccines and therapeutic antibodies by integrating Canadian and international data repositories of antibody and T-cell receptor gene sequences. iReceptor will provide a technology platform that will lower the barrier to immune genetics researchers who need to federate large, distributed, immune genetics databases in order to answer complex questions about the immune response.

The iReceptor project is working closely with international partners to develop both the foundational biological and immune genetics requirements as well as to develop the technological components of the iReceptor Scientific Gateway. The iReceptor team has been working with colleagues from the international ImMunoGeneTics information system (IMGT) at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Montpellier, France to determine the scientific requirements of the iReceptor Gateway. At the same time, iReceptor has been working with the Agave scientific gateway team from the Texas Advanced Computing Centre to design and develop the technological platform on which iReceptor will be based. iReceptor t is funded by the CANARIE Network Enabled Platforms Program.

Web of Life Scientific Gateway

In 2010, working closely with the Scientific Gateway team (GPSI) at Argonne National Lab, IRMACS developed a Scientific Gateway infrastructure for use by the IRMACS research community. A prototype scientific gateway in the area of phylogentics was created as a collaboration between IRMACS, the IRMACS Web of Life research project, and Argonne National Lab. This gateway provided an easy to use interface for the applicaiton of complex phylogentic techniques, with the ability to harness the extensive Compute Canada/WestGrid HPC infrastructure. The prototype gateway can be found here: IRMACS Phylogenetic Gateway.

Galaxy Scientific Gateway

In addition, in 2012 IRMACS worked closely with Compute Canada to deploy the first instance of Galaxy, a widely used genomics scientific gateway toolkit, on Compute Canada infrastructure. Driven by the needs of the IRMACS Next Gen Bioinformatics Workshop, a prototype Galaxy installation was installed on the WestGrid system at Simon Fraser University to enable researchers to perform complex genomic analyses and visualization. Although this gateway is no longer in operation, it was an early example of the power of scientific gateway infrastructure and its ability to enable powerful computation in the hands of the novice computational user.

IRMACS Scientific Portals

A scientific portal differs from a scientific gateway in that while both provide access to potentially large and complex data sets, scientific gateways provide access to large scale computation while scientific protals are primarily interfaces focussed, domain specific data repostiories. IRMACS has been hosting and providing support for sceintific portals since its inception. In addition, IRMACS provides scientific portals for managing secure data, both at the level of managing secure online data repositories and secure offline scientific portals (See the IRMACS Secure Storage page for more details). Of course, these portals are secure, so we can't actually show them to you, can we...

IRMACS Research Portals

Although not providing an interface to computation or data directly, it is equally important that research groups are easily able to communicate the outcomes of their research. IRMACS supports its research community by providing infrastructure and support for hosting domain specific research portals for many of SFU's top research groups, including Content Management Systems (most of the sites below), Wiki's, Software portals (, and Software Revision Control capabilities. These resources are critical to a number of IRMACS reserarch groups, including:

The Complex Systems Modelling Group Project (CSMG -

The Modelling of Complex Social Systems Project (MoCSSy -

The Human Evolutionary Studies Program (HESP -

The IRMACS Modelling Consortium (IMC -

The IMPACT-HIV Project (

The Computational Methods for Paleogenomics and Comparative Genomics Project (

Math Catcher (