President's Report 2006 | Research

New era in high performance computing

Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research)

Researchers in Atlantic Canada can now communicate with ease, share large amounts of information and model and visualize data simultaneously, thanks to the Atlantic Computational Excellence Network (ACEnet). The official launch of ACEnet, the Pan-Atlantic High Performance Computing (HPC) network, took place in May. Memorial University is the lead institution of the partnership between the University of New Brunswick, Saint Mary's University, St. Francis Xavier University, Dalhousie University, Mount Allison University and the University of Prince Edward Island.

“ACEnet represents an unprecedented advancement in the capacity, competitiveness and impact of R&D in Atlantic Canada,” said Dr. Christopher Loomis, chair of ACEnet and vice-president (research) of Memorial University. “This joint infrastructure initiative will connect researchers across the region making it possible to build clusters of expertise in strategic sectors and strengthening knowledge creation and innovation in Atlantic Canada.”

Funding for ACEnet is worth more than $23 million and infrastructure will be built over the next two years with significant contributions from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), and the provincial innovation funds of Newfoundland and Labrador – the Industrial Research and Innovation fund(IRIF), Nova Scotia - Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust Fund (NSRIT) and New Brunswick - the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF). ACEnet is also strongly supported by Sun Microsystems which has entered a partnership to provide hardware, joint research and support a variety of innovation projects at the ACEnet member institutes.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has committed a total of $1.5 million over three years through the Industrial Research and Innovation Fund, a program of the departments of Education and Innovation, Trade and Rural Development, to support ACEnet's goals.

ACEnet will create and operate high performance computing (HPC) facilities to rival the best in Canada and the world. All infrastructure will be installed at the four host institutions, Memorial, UNB, St. Francis Xavier and St. Mary's and will be available to qualified researchers from public and private organizations across Atlantic Canada. These institutions will be connected by Canarie's CA*Net 4 research network, allowing them to behave as a single, regionally distributed “computational power grid” of enormous capacity. ACEnet will also create and operate sophisticated collaboration facilities to bind together our geographically dispersed research communities.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI's mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians.