UVic researchers join giant computer grid

Over $4.3 million in new funding will link University of Victoria researchers to a powerful computer consortium that spans Western Canada and connects to a national network providing high performance resources to member institutions.

The grant—awarded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council will enhance UVic’s existing high performance computing (HPC) facilities.

Current research ranges from simulating the Earth and its climate and probing the fundamental nature of matter and the structure of the universe, to simulating fuel cell concepts for faster introduction of clean energy technologies, and studying the computer grid itself.

“This funding will integrate UVic’s high performance facilities with WestGrid, a consortium of seven universities in four western provinces, giving our researchers access to the computational resources of the member facilities,” says Nikitas Dimopoulos, chair of the electrical and computer engineering department.

“Through integration with WestGrid we also join Compute Canada, an umbrella organization representing the high performance computing community in the country. We will gain, in effect, 6,000 additional colleagues across Canada who can, in turn, access the significant resources and data now housed at UVic.”

The university will receive over $3.1 million for equipment and more than $1.2 million for operating expenses. UVic will use the funds to add significant capability in the computational and storage facilities it houses, and to provide easy and effective access to them.

Over the past several years, rapid developments in HPC technology have revolutionized the way research is done. Capable of performing calculations thousands of times faster than a regular desktop computer, HPC technology can produce results in a single day that would normally take a year or more.

HPC resources have now become essential to advancing research frontiers in all research areas from health sciences and engineering, to natural, social and human sciences.

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