Research Report 2007

ACEnet part of groundbreaking network

ACEnet, Atlantic Canada's Computational Excellence Network, received an investment of half-a-million dollars from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) late last month for the creation of the first ever pan-Canadian network of high performance computing (HPC) facilities, a national resource that will benefit the entire spectrum of research in Canada.

ACEnet, made up of Memorial University of Newfoundland, Saint Mary's University, University of New Brunswick, St. Francis Xavier University, Dalhousie University, Mount Allison University, Cape Breton University, Acadia University and the University of Prince Edward Island, will join a consortium of high performance computing networks from across the country, which received a groundbreaking total investment of $78 million.

The funding marked the first time that the CFI has identified a research area of strategic priority for the country and brought together all stakeholders - universities, provincial and federal funding agencies, and private sector partners - to collaborate on the development of a purposefully shared pan-Canadian resource.

"This funding will extend ACEnet's capabilities, enable sharing of facilities on a national level in support of 'big science,' and highlight the capabilities of researchers and research infrastructure in Atlantic Canada," said Dr. Christopher Loomis, chair of the ACEnet board of directors.

ACEnet will use the investment to build on initiatives such as the very successful Coast-to-Coast Mathematics Seminar in which mathematics researchers from Atlantic Canada and the western provinces video conference to collaborate on research on a bi-weekly basis. This will be aided by the addition of five new video conferencing sites to the Atlantic Canada Access Grid Network which will promote further inter-university collaboration.

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.

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

For more information on ACEnet, visit www.ace-net.ca.