HPC News

WestGrid Users Among 120 New Canada Research Chairs

Scientists based at three WestGrid partner institutions and currently using WestGrid resources to support their research were among 120 new Canada Research Chairs recently announced by the federal government:

  • Neil Branda - Simon Fraser University
    Canada Research Chair in Materials Science (NSERC, Tier 1 - $1,400,000)

  • Loren Rieseberg - University of British Columbia
    Canada Research Chair in Plant Evolutionary Genomics (NSERC, Tier 1 - $1,400,000)

  • Tian Tang - University of Alberta
    Canada Research Chair in Nano-Biomolecular Hybrid Materials (NSERC, Tier 2 - $500,000)

In total, the Government of Canada is providing $90.6 million in support to the newly awarded and renewed Canada Research Chairs. The Canada Research Chairs program invests approximately $300 million per year toward research in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences.

Registration Opens for HPCS 2013 - June 2 - 6 in Ottawa, ON

Online registration is now open for HPCS 2013, Canada's foremost supercomputing conference taking place in Ottawa, ON on June 2 - 6, 2013. Join hundreds of advanced computing experts and innovators for two days of hands-on tutorial workshops and three days of speakers from across industry, academia, and government sectors. The 2013 program will explore how to tackle problems at the intersection of big compute and big data.

HPCS 2013 will also feature a Data Computing Job Fair, Data Journalism Workshop, Government Data Workshop, Birds-of-a-Feather Sessions, and multiple networking opportunities. Full program highlights can be found here.

There is still time to submit contributed works relating to the theme: “Big Data + Big Compute = Big Insights”. The program committee is particularly interested in policy-relevant work at the intersection of HPC and Big Data across all sectors:

  • Society (including topics such as Medicine, Privacy, and the Power grid)
  • Industry (including such topics such as Data mining, Oil and Gas, and business analytics)
  • Government (including such Traffic modelling, data mining for internal)
  • Academia (from the physical sciences to digital humanities)

For an added twist, HPCS2013 will have a “best visualization” prize for accepted technical submissions. Paper contributors are encouraged to submit along, with their paper or extended abstract, great visualizations or movies (max 3 per submission) resulting from the work, along with a caption and brief for-the-public blurb about the work, as part of their submission. The submissions deadline is Tuesday, April 2. Proceedings will be published in a refereed, indexed, venue. To view an example of past submissions, the published proceedings from HPCS 2012 can be viewed here

For more information on HPCS 2013 and to stay informed of updates, visit the event website or join the mailing list, or follow HPCS 2013 on Twitter.

NSERC Discovery Frontiers Calls for Proposals: Exploring Big Data in Genomics, Humanities and Social Sciences

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has announced two unique calls for proposals for funding opportunities under its Discovery Frontiers Program. These two calls will assist researchers from a variety of disciplines tackle major research challenges related to mining large volumes of data. A summary of each call is provided below.

Advancing Big Data in Genomics Research

The lack of efficient tools and methodologies available to effectively mine, rapidly access and efficiently analyse vast quantities of genomic information and integrate it with other data sets is a major challenge for the research community. To help position Canada as a leader in this global research challenge, NSERC, Genome Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) have established an unprecedented partnership that will see a variety of disciplines come together to tackle high volumes of data.

Compute Canada Calcul Canada is seeking a Director of Operations

Compute Canada Calcul Canada (CC) is seeking a Director of Operations. The Director of Operations will be responsible for the central operations of CC, which includes developing the necessary procedures, policies, contracts, and service agreements. The successful candidate will work closely with the appropriate operations representatives from the regions to develop and implement a cohesive operations plan for CC. The Director of Operations will also have a key role in supporting CC’s vision and strategic planning and expanding CC’s engagement with research institutes and industry. The Director of Operations reports directly to CC’s CEO, and is a member of the Senior Management Team which includes the Vice-President, Science and the Vice-President, Technology. The ideal candidate will bring extensive operational and coordination expertise, with technical experience in the research and academic sector.

The key selection criteria for the position are:

HPCS 2013 Seeking Workshops, Submissions, and Sponsors

Some important deadlines are coming up for HPCS 2013, Canada's foremost supercomputing conference taking place in Ottawa, ON on June 2 - 6, 2013.


The first two days of HPCS 2013 (Sunday, June 2 and Monday, June 3) will consist of tutorial workshops covering introductory and advanced tools for high performance computing. Submissions of half-day or full-day tutorial workshop proposals must be received by Monday, February 4. All submissions should include an outline of the proposed curriculum, list of instructors, and what facilities would be required. Workshops with strong hands-on component and connection to the themes of the conference are strongly preferred.

Papers / Abstracts

CFI Invests in Compute Canada Calcul Canada and other Major Science Initiatives

Compute Canada Calcul Canada is receiving more than $56 million from the Government of Canada, through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), as part of a national investment in maintenance and operating support for Canada's high-performing, internationally renowned research facilities. The Major Science Initiatives (MSI) fund will enable Canada’s best and brightest researchers to carry out internationally competitive research, which will benefit Canadian families and businesses.

“Canada is a world leader in innovation,” said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). “By investing in major research facilities, such as these, our Government is helping Canada’s research community reach new heights, address national priorities and meet global challenges.”

The $145 million in funding will help sustain scientific excellence at three major facilities:

Compute Canada Allocates Nearly $72 Million Worth of Powerful Computing Resources To Support Canadian Researchers

Compute Canada Calcul Canada (CC), Canada’s national platform of High Performance Computing (HPC) resources and partners, today announced grants of nearly $72 million worth of state-of-the-art computing, storage, and support resources allocated to 212 leading edge Canadian research projects across the country.
These competitively-awarded grants will allocate nearly one billion processor hours and 10.4 petabytes of storage to the projects over the next year. Researchers will also have direct access to more than 40 programming and technical experts who are critical to enabling the efficient use of these state-of-the-art HPC systems. CC’s distributed resources represent close to two petaFLOPs of compute power, which is equal to two quadrillion calculations per second, and more than 20 petabytes of storage, equivalent to more than 400 million four drawer filing cabinets filled with text.
“Compute Canada’s extensive network of computing resources, data storage facilities, research tools and expertise is supporting projects that feed into a thriving Canadian R&D sector and contribute important socio-economic benefits to Canada,” said Bill Appelbe, CC's Incoming CEO. “This year’s allocations represent the diverse and leading-edge science taking place at research institutions across the country.”

For more details, click here.

Government of Canada invests in research-driven knowledge economy

Seven WestGrid partner institutions have received funding from the Government of Canada for advanced research infrastructure, helping them continue to compete in today’s global knowledge economy. The University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Calgary, the University of Alberta, the University of Regina, and the University of Saskatchewan were among 34 university campuses, research centres and hospitals announced as recipients of funds totalling more than $215 million by the Government of Canada through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for cutting-edge research infrastructure.

“Our government is committed to investing in science and technology to contribute to the creation of a stronger, more innovative economy and a more prosperous Canada,” said Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. “We understand that Canada’s research enterprise is critical to economic growth and job creation, and this announcement reinforces our government’s commitment to bolstering the country’s research success.”

The infrastructure investments at WestGrid partner institutions include:


University of Victoria

  • Biogeochemical Monitoring of Mid-Ocean Ridge Axis Processes Using the NEPTUNE Canada Cabled Observatory ($1,620,935)

Simon Fraser University

  • The Prometheus Project: BC's Multi-Institution Advanced Materials Science and Engineering Initiative ($7,715,700)
  • Upgrade to the ATLAS Tier-1 Data Analysis Centre ($1,000,000)

University of British Columbia

Compute Canada Calcul Canada Hiring VP Science and VP Technology

VP, Science

The VP, Research will report to the Compute Canada CEO and Research Advisory Committee, and advocate for research and innovation both within the organization and nationally. The successful candidate will develop a national strategy for advanced computing, which enables the organization to secure the funding necessary to create and sustain a world class advanced computing infrastructure. As an active researcher, the VP Research will have the opportunity to continue to be based out of his or her home university, but with frequent travel to meet with Compute Canada colleagues and others across the country. The ideal candidate will bring a strong academic research background, extensive experience with advanced computing, and a passion and commitment for scientific advancement in Canada. To review the complete job posting or to apply, please click here.


VP, Technology

The VP, Technology will coordinate and lead the deployment of advanced computing resources across Canada based on the needs of the research community and ensure that all eligible researchers in Canada can access the appropriate advanced computing facilities managed by Compute Canada. This role will also be responsible for promoting the successes and capabilities of the organization and its advanced computing resources nationally and internationally. The ideal candidate will bring extensive IT management experience, ideally coupled with a strong technical background in advanced computing. Experience in a geographically distributed environment is a definite asset. To review the complete job posting or to apply, please click here.

Bill Appelbe Joins Compute Canada - Calcul Canada As Inaugural CEO

Bill Appelbe, an international leader in advanced computing for research and development, has been named Chief Executive Officer of Compute Canada – Calcul Canada.

Appelbe will relocate to Toronto from Victoria, Australia, where he founded the Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing (VPAC) and established it as one of Australia’s top independent service providers of advanced computing services to the R&D sector. His position with Compute Canada – Calcul Canada will commence on January 7, 2013.

“Bill Applebe is our choice to become the inaugural CEO of Compute Canada and I am pleased to welcome him to the organization. He has demonstrated a deep understanding and appreciation of the role of research and innovation and his expertise in managing large national programs and collaborative projects was a key factor in seeking him out,” said Don Hathaway, Board Chair of Compute Canada – Calcul Canada. “I would also like to thank Jill Kowalchuk for her support as Interim Executive Director, which enabled Compute Canada – Calcul Canada to lay the groundwork for the phase following incorporation.”

For more details, click here.

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