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Research super-computer projects get $22M funding


Kingston and London, ON – The Ontario government made two simultaneous funding announcements today to support leading-edge super-computer projects at various institutions.

The governments ministry of research and innovation is providing $11.5 million for Queen’s University’s High Performance Computing Virtual Laboratory (HPCVL) to support up to 1,600 researchers over the next five years. The announcement brings the total funding by the Ontario government in HPCVL up to $39.2 million.

It is also providing $10.9 million to the University of Western Ontario’s Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network (SHARCNET) to support 1,200 researchers across the province. The state-of-the-art HPC facilities are hundreds or thousands of times faster than a regular desktop computer. A Canadian researcher using SHARCNET can produce results in a single day that would normally take a year or more on a personal computer.

Led by Queen’s University in Kingston, HPCVL is a network of seven Ontario research institutions including Royal Military College, the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Loyalist College, Ryerson University and Seneca College.

Partner institutions house the computer clusters and run the network, which provides high-performance computing resources to researchers across Canada.

HPCVL provides high-speed computations for researchers in fields such as population health, photonics, psychology, economics and civil engineering. The cutting-edge research requires intricate mathematical calculations and analysis that would take years to perform on even the most sophisticated desktop computer. Using HPCVL, researchers can get data and analysis in weeks, days or hours.

Led by the University of Western Ontario, the SHARCNET network is made up of 16 research institutions, including the universities of Guelph, McMaster, Wilfrid Laurier, Windsor, Waterloo, Brock, York, Laurentian, Trent, Lakehead, Ontario Institute of Technology, Fanshawe College, Sheridan College, and most recently Perimeter Institute and the Ontario College of Art & Design.

Partner institutions house the computer clusters and run the network, providing high-performance computing resources to researchers across Canada. SHARCNET supports some of Canada’s pre-eminent academics in a variety of fields, from strategies to combat mad cow disease to new models to manage financial risk.

“We are grateful to Premier McGuinty and the government of Ontario for this investment in our province’s future, says Dr Paul Davenport, Western’s president and vice-chancellor. “Such funding provides tangible benefits to researchers and students in their quest for new knowledge and discovery.”