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REF NO.: 291

SUBJECT: ACEnet launch heralds new era in high performance computing

DATE: May 15

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). Officials were in attendance at Memorial University today for the launch of ACEnet, the Pan-Atlantic High Performance Computing (HPC) network. 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 over $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 (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 launch of ACEnet is an impressive example of the type of partnerships that are essential to ensure Canada’s success in the knowledge-based economy,” said Eliot Philipson, president and CEO of the CFI. “This network will become a critical link in Atlantic Canada’s innovation chain and enable the world-class researchers in this part of the country to continue making important contributions to their various disciplines. The CFI is proud to be a part of it.”
“ACOA has long championed the power of collaboration as it relates to R&D,” said Peter MacKay, minister of Foreign Affairs and ACOA, in reference to the agency’s millions investment in the project. “The ACEnet initiative is a prime example of what can be achieved when our Atlantic Canadian universities and other partners in innovation work together towards a common goal.”
            "We are delighted to assist with projects that support Newfoundland and Labrador's advancements in research and development. Initiatives such as ACEnet are critical tools that academics require to advance their research and to develop the province as a destination of choice for scholars," said Education Minister Joan Burke. 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.

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For more information please contact:
Deborah Inkpen
communications co-ordinator (research)
Memorial University,
Angus McKinnon
media relations coordinator
Canada Foundation for Innovation
(613) 996-3160
Julie Afonso
senior communications officer
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
(709)772 -2984
Jacquelyn Howard
director of communications
Department of Education
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador


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