SciNet HPC Innovation Services


Today, innovating fast enough to compete means computing – whether using digital manufacturing techniques to prototype and speed development cycles, or analyzing massive data streams as fast as they come in. But the expertise to apply computing at scale to research problems is hard to find – and you’d rather develop your product than spend time and resources to learn about building, administering, using and developing for cluster computing or massive storage technologies. We can help.

SciNet is unique – a one-stop shop with research scientists, technical computing and cluster experts, and High Performance Computing (HPC) resources all available to you. That means you can come in, work with us to improve your software, get accounts, and start getting your computing done today. The same experts working with you in front of a whiteboard, or teaching you in HPC training sessions, can also be the ones to monitor your first few computations on our massive cluster and make sure that they are working the way they should. We’ll even help you design your own computer system, or move your computations to the Amazon cloud, if that’s what you prefer.

Who we are: SciNet is the largest concentration of academic HPC research expertise in Canada, at the University of Toronto, and we run Canada’s largest supercomputing centre. We have eleven technical staff, including ten research scientists and engineers with nine PhDs among us, and have expertise in chemistry, physics fluid dynamics, and bio-informatics; in massive storage, numerical methods, and in all manner of technical computing methods, and on systems from desktops and GPUs to clusters and specialized supercomputers.

What we have: Canada’s largest open research computer facility (soon 75,000 processors, to include Canada’s only BlueGene system); more storage than you could ever use (6PB and growing); and a mandate to help drive innovation and discovery in Toronto and across Canada.

What we do: We offer a wide range of services to clients in academia and industry. We consult on complex technical computing problems; we offer our compute resources at extremely competitive rates to Canadian researchers and innovators; we teach training sessions on computational and data-enabled science at scale; and we can even help develop or customize the software you need to take your work to the next level.

How we’ve helped other clients get better results, faster:

  • A chemist visited us who wanted to do hundreds of Matlab computations, each of which took hours on her workstation. One of our consultants sat down with her and, in an afternoon, reworked the calculation to be 200x faster, so that everything could be done over a weekend on her desktop, without even using our cluster; she ended up with a better code and got all her work done faster.

  • A molecular genetics researcher wanted to hugely scale up their BLAST sequence alignment analyses to consider thousands of possible cases; we worked with them to enable these enormous searches quickly and efficiently on our cluster and others.

  • One established engineering firm was outgrowing their in-house computational resources and needed bigger, faster computing for a few months without buying and installing a whole new system. Within days they were up and running on our cluster, developing better, more competitive products.

We thrive on helping drive innovation and discovery, in academia, with small businesses, and in large, established firms. How can we help you? Contact us to find out.