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Frequently Asked Questions

WestGrid resources support research that depends on access to computing resources beyond the means of the local resources of the individual researcher. This also serves to relieve the researcher of the burden of maintaining his or her own machine room.

You should consider using WestGrid if your local computing environment presents fundamental barriers to advancement of your projects, due to such factors as limited numbers of machines, limited memory, inadequate disk space etc. Another reason to use WestGrid is for the access it provides to parallel processing for faster turnaround...

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There is currently no charge for routine use of the WestGrid facilities by Canadian researchers or those collaborating on Canadian research projects. Charges may apply for backup tapes, or specialized software requests.

WestGrid recognizes the value of collaboration with industry and can accommodate commercial use of our services and resources for a fee (to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis).

For more information, or if you have additional questions, please contact

There is a core of common software on WestGrid's systems, but due to user requirements or limitations of licensing or architecture, there are some differences in the programs offered at the various WestGrid sites. System software, compilers, mathematical and other libraries, and application software are listed and searchable on the main WestGrid software page. Software for each system can be accessed through the computing facilities page, by clicking on the name of the specific system from the...

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There are many variables involved, including which system is being used, whether you have a small number of large runs or a large number of small runs, whether your project requires an allocation greater than the default, etc.

For an active user without unusually large memory or processor requirements, 10-30 processors may be obtained on a fairly regular basis. This generally falls within the "default" allocation size on our systems, which is available to any Canadian academic researcher after they have registered with the ...

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All the WestGrid computers use a UNIX variant or Linux operating system. Work such as job preparation, compilation, testing and debugging may be done interactively, but, the majority of the WestGrid computing resources are available only for production batch-oriented computing. A job script to run your program is written using a UNIX shell scripting language and submitted to the batch job handling system for assignment to a machine for running.     

The tutorial video, ...

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Although some of the WestGrid computers are reserved for parallel computing, there are legitimate reasons to run serial jobs. You are welcome to run serial code on those systems where it is permitted. An overview of programming on WestGrid systems, including basic usage instructions for compilers and the debugging and optimization tools available on the WestGrid systems, can be found in our Using WestGrid section of the website.

Please contact WestGrid Support staff for...

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As a shared high-performance computing environment, researchers have a certain responsibility to use the WestGrid systems effectively. You are expected to learn the basics of UNIX file handling, how to transfer files, submit and monitor batch jobs, monitor your disk storage, etc. You should also be aware of the memory requirements of your job and be able to estimate such things as how long a job will take and how much disk space it will require.

If you are developing code yourself, you are expected to optimize your code through appropriate choice of algorithm, compiler flags, and,...

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As one of Compute Canada’s largest regional divisions, WestGrid works closely with 15 partner institutions across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Many of these institutions house WestGrid computing or data storage resources and employ technical staff to assist with WestGrid user support and infrastructure operations across the Compute Canada national platform. Collaboration facilities at these partner institutions are also used to deliver...

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Vidyo is an easy-to-use HD quality videoconferencing technology that is available for many different platforms and devices. WestGrid has purchased a Vidyo Portal and Gateway and is using it for video collaboration between desktops (Windows, Mac, Linux), devices (IOS, Android) and h.323 systems. Vidyo accounts are available to researchers upon request to support their research collaboration needs.

Below are a list of tips that may be useful if you have a WestGrid Vidyo account:

Audio Considerations

  • For best...
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Jabber is an open, secure, ad-free alternative to consumer instant messaging (IM) services like AIM, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo. WestGrid uses Jabber to provide IM capabilities to researchers and collaborators.

To connect to the WestGrid Jabber server requires Jabber software, and a WestGrid Jabber account.

Jabber Software

There are many Jabber clients available for all platforms. Which client you choose depends on which platform you are running on, whether you would like to have a client that is capable of...

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