From U Waterloo: “University of Waterloo launches new national supercomputer to fuel big data research and machine learning”

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University of Waterloo

May 5, 2017

The University of Waterloo, Compute Canada and Compute Ontario today unveiled the largest supercomputer at any Canadian university. Located at Waterloo, it will provide expanded resources for researchers across the country working on a broad range of topics, including artificial intelligence, genomics and advanced manufacturing.

U Waterloo Graham Supercomputer

Named Graham, the supercomputer can handle more simultaneous computational jobs than any other academic supercomputer in Canada, ultimately generating more research results at one time. With its extraordinary computing power and a storage system of more than 50 petabytes — or 50 million gigabytes — Graham can support researchers who are collecting, analyzing, or sharing immense volumes of data.

“Research and innovation have helped define the University of Waterloo, and will remain important priorities for our future,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of Waterloo. ”Graham allows us to increase our capacity to be a global leader in advanced computing. Thanks to the support of both the federal and provincial governments, CFI, Compute Canada and Compute Ontario we will be even closer to realizing this vision.”

Graham is the result of an investment worth $17 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Government of Ontario. It is one of four new supercomputing and data centres that are part of a national initiative valued at $75 million that involves CFI, and various provincial and industry partners. Compute Canada, in collaboration with its member institutions and partners, is implementing the improvements to facilities across the country. SHARCNET, a multi-university consortium in Ontario, led the implementation at Waterloo in partnership with Compute Ontario.

“Research today is increasingly data intensive. For the community of over 11,000 Canadian researchers that we serve today, Graham will give Canadian researchers and innovators the ability to compete and excel globally using big data and big compute tools,” said Mark Dietrich, president and CEO of Compute Canada. “We are honoured to collaborate with our partners at the University of Waterloo and Compute Ontario in this achievement.”

Supercomputers are a fundamental part of advanced research computing (ARC), which plays an essential role in scientific discovery, innovation and national competitiveness. Graham is the third of four new national systems at universities across Canada.

“We are excited to announce the launch of Graham for the benefit of the research community,” said Nizar Ladak, president and CEO of Compute Ontario. “With such a strong reputation for innovation, the University of Waterloo makes an excellent host site. Compute Ontario proudly supports this system, which will ensure Ontario is well positioned as a global leader in advanced computing and a global focal point for highly qualified personnel.”

Waterloo’s supercomputer takes its name from J. Wesley (Wes) Graham, a former professor at the University. His many contributions to the development of software and hardware have had a major impact on the computing industry, and he played a significant role in establishing the University’s international reputation for teaching and research in information technology.

About Compute Canada

Compute Canada, in partnership with regional organizations ACENET, Calcul Québec, Compute Ontario and WestGrid, leads the acceleration of research and innovation by deploying state-of-the-art advanced research computing (ARC) systems, storage and software solutions. Together we provide essential ARC services and infrastructure for Canadian researchers and their collaborators in all academic and industrial sectors. Our world-class team of more than 200 experts employed by 37 partner universities and research institutions across the country provide direct support to research teams. Compute Canada is a proud ambassador for Canadian excellence in advanced research computing nationally and internationally.

About Compute Ontario

Compute Ontario is the provincial agency that coordinates access to advanced research computing and Ontario’s Big Data Strategy. Access to this critical technology happens through our four consortia (SciNet, SHARCNET, Centre for Advanced Computing, and HPC4Health). Nationally, it partners with Compute Canada and regional organizations ACENET, Calcul Quebec and Westgrid, to plan and coordinate the supply of advanced computing for Canadian academic researchers.

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In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s technology hub, has become a leading comprehensive university with nearly 36,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

Consistently ranked Canada’s most innovative university, Waterloo is home to advanced research and teaching in science and engineering, mathematics and computer science, health, environment, arts and social sciences. From quantum computing and nanotechnology to clinical psychology and health sciences research, Waterloo brings ideas and brilliant minds together, inspiring innovations with real impact today and in the future.

As home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, Waterloo embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research, and commercialization. With campuses and education centres on four continents, and academic partnerships spanning the globe, Waterloo is shaping the future of the planet.

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