Compute Canada Allocates Nearly $80 Million Worth of Powerful Computing Resources To Support Canadian Researchers

February 27, 2012 in blog-general, in_the_news


Supercomputers and data centres across Canada tasked with supporting national-scale research problems

[This release is available as a PDF here, et en français ici. It also appeared at insideHPC]

(February 27, 2012 – Ottawa) – Compute Canada, Canada’s national platform of High Performance Computing (HPC) resources and partners, today announced grants of nearly $80 million worth of state-of-the-art computing, storage, and support resources allocated to 159 leading edge Canadian research projects across the country. Compute Canada’s distributed resources represent close to two petaFLOPs of compute power, which is equal to two quadrillion calculations per second, and more than 20 petabytes of storage, equivalent to more than 400 million four drawer filing cabinets filled with text. These competitively-awarded grants will allocate nearly 725 million processor hours and eight petabytes of storage to the projects over the next year. Researchers will also have direct access to more than 40 Compute Canada programming and technical experts who are critical to enabling the efficient use of these state-of-the-art HPC systems.

“The scope and scale of today’s research investigations demand an incredible amount of computational power,” said Compute Canada Executive Director, Susan Baldwin. “Compute Canada responds to that need by delivering the essential tools and resources Canadian researchers need to respond to today’s big data challenges, propel ground-breaking discoveries, and develop new industrial applications or commercial opportunities.” Each year Compute Canada accepts requests from researchers across the country whose projects require cutting-edge computing resources, storage, and expertise. The projects — which range from aerospace design and climate modeling to medical imaging and nanotechnology — produce results and breakthroughs that in many cases simply wouldn’t be possible without Compute Canada’s resources.

“I’ve always been a champion of HPC because it enables us to perform the kind of complex, large-scale calculations that are essential for verifying our ideas and uncovering new findings,” says André Bandrauk, a University of Sherbrooke Professor of Theoretical Chemistry and Canada Research Chair in Computational Chemistry & Molecular Photonics. “These resources are critical for driving advancements in Canadian research as well as enabling Canadian researchers to compete on the international stage.”

The partner institutions and resource centres that comprise Compute Canada are hubs of interdisciplinary computational research, connected from coast to coast by the high-speed national CANARIE network and regional advanced networks. Together, these distributed computing facilities work collaboratively to provide the expertise and resources necessary to give Canada’s researchers and innovators access to these world-class technologies. Compute Canada’s resources are granted based on scientific merit and computational need. In addition to the competitively-allocated grants for above average computing requirements, all Canadian researchers have access to significant default allocations of computational resources and support expertise. For more information on Compute Canada, its regional consortia, and its distributed resources, visit the Compute Canada website:

Media Contact:
Susan Baldwin
Executive Director, Compute Canada

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* Compute Canada can also arrange media interviews with project representatives from any of the 2012 Resource Allocation recipients. *


2012 Resource Allocations Recipients

PDF version of the complete list of resource recipients for 2012 can be found here, or at this web page.

Compute Canada

Compute Canada is Canada’s national platform of supercomputing resources, bringing together computer and data facilities, computational expertise, and hundreds of academic researchers to tackle some of Canada’s biggest research challenges. Compute Canada has built a user community across Canada in disciplines ranging from the sciences and engineering to arts and humanities. Each year, Compute Canada’s Resource Allocation Committee awards resources to Canadian research projects, which are selected based on their scientific merit. For more information about Compute Canada or the 2012 resource allocations, please visit

What is supercomputing?

Supercomputing, or High Performance Computing (HPC), uses the largest and most powerful computers available to tackle the biggest problems facing science, society, and industry. Supercomputers’ massive number of processors and specialized software capabilities enable them to tackle extremely complex and large-scale computational problems. For example, a calculation-intensive task that would take a single PC years to complete, can be solved by supercomputers in an hour. This does more than shorten the time to get an answer; it makes new types of analysis and understanding possible. From generating computer models of unprecedented fidelity in the medical, biological and earth sciences, to analyzing vast amounts of data in fields such as space research in astronomy, text or musical archiving in the humanities, or complex financial projections in industry, supercomputers provide an extensive set of hardware to build Canada’s skills and capabilities in science, technology, and the economy.