media release

CFI Announces $30 million investment in Cyberinfrastructure

July 29, 2015

Dugan O’Neil, Physics, 778.782.5623,
Martin Siegert, IT Services, 778.782.4691,
Justin Wong, University Communications, 778.782.3210,

The Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) announced today that it is fully funding a $30 million investment for Compute Canada’s national Advanced Research Computing (ARC) platform. Simon Fraser University (SFU) was named the lead institution in Compute Canada’s funding proposal to CFI under its Cyberinfrastructure program.

The funding will help SFU and other Canadian universities develop a high performance cyber network that will enable Canadian researchers to access and analyze massive pools of data in search of a far deeper understanding of how the scientific, social, health and economic worlds connect.

These new systems, managed by Compute Canada, will be concentrated within four host sites: Simon Fraser University, the University of Toronto, the University of Victoria, and the University of Waterloo.

Advanced research computing has long been a priority area for SFU, and the university remains strongly committed to supporting the shared ARC network in Canada and assisting researchers from all fields to deliver breakthroughs.

SFU has partnered with WestGrid and Compute Canada since 2002. The Compute Canada/WestGrid Bugaboo platform, housed at SFU, has an exceptional reliability and utilization record. The platform supports a large variety of applications in genome science and quantum chemistry, and many others. Highlights include:

  • The ATLAS Tier-2 centre, where SFU physicists contribute to large-scale computing and data-quality monitoring related to Canada’s participation in the ATLAS particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
  • SFU’s Research Computing Group, where dedicated support is provided to researchers from a diverse range of backgrounds, including physics, chemistry, genomics, social science, digital media, among others. The platform manages sensitive police data for research at the Institute for Canadian Urban Research Studies (ICURS) and provides access to population health data through Population Data BC.
  • Fusion Genomics, a client company of SFU’s VentureLabs accelerator consortium where the platform lends its high-performance computing resources and expertise.



“Secure, stable, and advanced computing infrastructure is the backbone of university research and innovation. We applaud the Government of Canada for its forward-looking investment, and are delighted to host a national data centre. Over the past decade, SFU has strengthened its capability to assist in large-scale, data-intensive research initiatives. We look forward to expanding our relationship with Compute Canada and West Grid to support the optimization of computational resources for the benefit of the national research community.”


"Today's announcement by the federal government is an important and much needed investment in Canada's advanced research computing infrastructure. The funding committed to the Compute Canada site at SFU will be used to purchase equipment that will be installed in an highly energy efficient state-of-the-art data centre at SFU’s Burnaby campus. The significant funding will go a long way to establish SFU as one of the key centres for advanced research computing in Canada."


Here are the key players behind the funding announcement:

About Compute Canada

  • Compute Canada, in partnership with regional organizations ACENET, Calcul Québec, Compute Ontario and WestGrid, leads the acceleration of research innovation by deploying state-of-the-art advanced research computing (ARC) systems, storage and software solutions.
  • Together they provide essential ARC services and infrastructure for Canadian researchers and their collaborators in all academic and industrial sectors.

About WestGrid

  • WestGrid is one of four regional organizations working in partnership with Compute Canada.
  • They bring together advanced research computing facilities, research data management services, and a network of technical experts to serve a user community of researchers across the country.
  • Their users range in discipline from the sciences and engineering to arts and humanities.

About CFI Cyberinfrastructure Initiative

  • The CFI’s Cyberinfrastructure Initiative is a funding program that supports leading-edge research by providing the    necessary digital infrastructure and robust computational power required to make sense of big data.
  • Over the past 16 years, the CFI has invested some $360 million in cyberinfrastructure, for a total investment of about $900 million, when funds from partnering organizations are taken into account.
  • In the 2015 Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada proposed an additional investment of $1.33 billion in the CFI, the largest single investment ever made to support research infrastructure in the country.
  • The Cyberinfrastructure Initiative helps the Government of Canada deliver one of its Canada Digital 150 goals by providing the tools and means for Canadians to remain connected in a rapidly changing digital environment.

As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement.  SFU was founded almost 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is a leader amongst Canada's comprehensive research universities and is ranked one of the top universities in the world under 50 years of age. With campuses in British Columbia's three largest cities—Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby—SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 30,000 students, and boasts more than 130,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

<p><a href="/content/sfu/sfunews/comment_guidelines.html?keepThis=true&amp;TB_iframe=true&amp;height=700&amp;width=700" class="thickbox">Comment Guidelines</a><br>