Grand Opening of the ArcNet Space at MaRS

May 15, 2017 in blog-general, for_educators, for_press, for_researchers, for_users, frontpage, news, Uncategorized

On May 9, 2017, the Grand Opening of the ArcNet space took place (despite having moved a while ago). What is ArcNet? It is a space where expertise and support of Advanced Research Computing (the “ARC” in ArcNet) from three organizations come together. SciNet is the oldest of the three; It is the supercomputing consortium at the University of Toronto, which has been providing Canadian researchers with computational resources and expertise necessary to perform their research on scales not previously possible in Canada, from the biomedical sciences and aerospace engineering to astrophysics and climate science. SOSCIP is a research and development consortium that pairs academic and industry researchers with advanced computing tools to fuel Canadian innovation. The third organization, Compute Ontario, partners with the four academic computing consortia in Ontario aims to drive advanced computing to accelerate research and enhance competitiveness in the global marketplace resulting in a more prosperous Ontario.

The Grand Opening brought together many of our stakeholders, and was also attended by the Ontario Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, MPP Rezi Moridi, by the President of the University of Toronto Meric Gertler, by the Vice-President of Research at the University of Toronto Prof. Vivek Goel, and by the Scientific Directory of SciNet Prof. W. Richard Peltier. We were honoured that each was willing to say a few words about the opening of this space.

“This facility is a true partnership between the University of Toronto’s SciNet High Performance Computing Consortium, SOSCIP and Compute Ontario. Bringing them together in a state-of-the-art facility will strengthen their partnership and undoubtably create new opportunities to drive innovation through advanced computing in Ontario.” said Prof. Goel, one of the driving forces of the creation of the space.

The President of the University of Toronto reminded us that “With ARCNet, we have created an amazing hub of talent and technology that fosters collaboration between the public and private sector.”

Minister Rezi Moridi remarked that “Today we are here to celebrate the grand opening of the Advanced Research Computing facility. It is great to see that three organizations got together and set up this wonderful facility: SOSCIP,
Compute Ontario, and University of Toronto’s SciNet. I wish you all the best in serving our research community.”

The speeches were given in the new teaching and visualization room. This room holds up to 40 students and is already frequently used for courses and other events. It features a large visualization wall, i.e., a 13 x 7.5 feet ultrahigh resolution screen (8K, to be precise).

Two presentations were given by SciNet analysts to demonstrate the capabilities of this visualization wall; Ramses van Zon showed how to get insight into the complexity of the software installed on SciNet’s main cluster by using graph visualizations, while Marcelo Ponce showed visualizations of several aspects of interacting neutron stars, with data from numerical general relativity simulations.

You can see the capabilities of the visualization wall in the following video: