Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for a WestGrid account?

WestGrid facilities are designated for Canadian researchers or those collaborating on Canadian research projects. In general, any academic researcher from a Canadian research institution with significant high performance computing requirements to support his or her research may apply for an account on WestGrid.

What is WestGrid?

WestGrid is a consortium of Western Canadian universities and other partners that provides high performance computing resources for Canadian research projects. For more information, click on the "About WestGrid" link in the menu bar above.

What is Collaboration?

The process of working together to accomplish a task. From a WestGrid standpoint, when we talk about collaboration we really mean DISTRIBUTED, SYNCHRONOUS collaboration. The goal of the WestGrid collaboration infrastructure is to support researchers by bringing the right people together, with the right data, at the right time.

I've forgotten my password, can someone send me/reset my password?

For security reasons, no one at WestGrid knows your password.

If you are sure that you have forgotten your password, we need to relay a temporary password to you by telephone. Send an email to and we will give you appropriate telephone numbers that you can use to contact a WestGrid account administrator.  When you phone you will be given a temporary password that you use to log in to .

Through that page you will be able to choose a new permanent password.   Clicking on the Reset Password button starts a chain of events through which your password will be reset on all the WestGrid systems for which you have an account and a request is sent in for a new Grid Canada grid certificate as well.

It is helpful if you have a web browser open to the above web page when you call.

Updated 2012-06-13.

What do you mean by Synchronous Collaboration?

By Synchronous Collaboration, we mean collaborating with colleagues at the same time. The WestGrid collaboration technologies are targeted at supporting remote research meetings, seminars, and training.

What do you mean by Distributed Collaboration?

By Distributed Collaboration, we mean collaborating with colleagues at a distance. WestGrid provides researchers with access to a range of tools to help them work with colleagues at remote institutions, whether across town or around the world.

How can I request new software?

For commercial software requests, please visit the Commercial Software Request page and fill out the form.  This will be submitted to the support team for review.

For open-source software, please write to with your request, and if possible, give an indication of which system you think is most appropriate.


Updated 2012-02-01.

Which WestGrid system should I use?

Please see QuickStart Guide for New Users, section "Choosing Which System to Use".

How do I find out more about collaboration?

We have an extensive set of web pages that provide details on the technologies we support. Please refer to the Collaboration support web page for more details.

Why do I need collaboration support?

You might not. With that said, if you are working with researchers at other institutions the WestGrid collaboration infrastructure might be able to help you. Our goal is to help you perform your research more effectively by helping you to communicate with remote colleagues more effectively, create more effective distribtued research groups, and helping to build new research relationships.

What collaboration technologies do you support?

We support a number of technologies, including H323 video conferencing, AccessGrid video conferencing, and VRVS collaboration tools. In addition, we support an instant messaging server that uses the Jabber protocol.

I'm having problems connecting to one of the WestGrid resources

If you are having connection issues, first check the WestGrid System Notices page for any known issues/outages that may be affecting your connection.

First-time WestGrid users should read the section on connecting in the QuickStart Guide for New Users.

If there are no known issues, your connection problem may be related to Domain Name System (DNS). To successfully connect to WestGrid systems, your computer's IP address must be correctly registered in the DNS. To test whether your IP address is suitable, visit If the test page reports that your IP address is not correctly registered, you will have to contact your local network administrator to have your computer added to the DNS.

If the test page reports that your "DNS is OK" and you continue to have issues logging in - or if you require any further information about how to connect to WestGrid, send an email to .