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2014 Allocations

Compute Canada’s 2014 Resource Allocations Announced - 106 Projects Based At WestGrid Partner Institutions

 Message from the Interim Executive Director

At Compute Canada and WestGrid, the start of a new calendar year means the start of a new round of major allocations on our computing and data storage systems across the country. This year, grants of more than $134 million worth of state-of-the-art computing, storage, and support resources were allocated to 271 leading-edge Canadian research projects across the country, 106 of those based at WestGrid partner institutions. The projects range from aerospace design and climate modeling to medical imaging and nanotechnology, with many producing results and breakthroughs that simply wouldn’t be possible without access to advanced computing resources.

That includes George Kirczenow, a Professor with Simon Fraser University’s Physics Department, who is using WestGrid’s Grex cluster to calculate the electrical, magnetic and structural properties of nanostructures (allocated 2,630,000 processor hours / market value: $262,800). Also, at the University of Calgary, Associate Professor Sergei Noskov’s team in the Department of Biological Sciences, who rely on access to multiple HPC systems across Canada to run their simulations of complex thermodynamics of ion and solute binding and transport across cellular membranes (allocated 25,320,000 processor hours and 150 TB storage / market value: $2,715,960). In Saskatchewan, Physics Professor Doug Degenstein is using Orcinus to process data extremely important for the study of atmospheric processes as well as the monitoring of long term weather forecasting trends (allocated 2,630,000 processor hours / market value: $262,800). In Manitoba, Michelle XiaoQing Liu, Assistant Professor with the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, relies on Silo and Bugaboo storage resources to support her research on gene mapping of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) (allocation: 28 TB storage / market value: $33,792).

It is worth noting, these 271 grants are for above-average computing requirements on Compute Canada systems. At the same time, thousands of other researchers across the country regularly use default allocations of CC resources to support their work.

I’d also like to thank WestGrid’s technical team members for their expertise and the extra time dedicated over the last few months to support this annual resource allocation process. Your efforts, often behind-the-scenes, are critical to our users’ ability to conduct leading-edge research.

Award recipients, if you have questions about your 2014 allocation or have feedback on the Compute Canada resource allocation process, please contact

 Lindsay Sill

Interim Executive Director


Compute Canada 2014 National Resource Allocation Committee Members

Compute Canada Resource Allocation Committee

Alain Rochefort
Polytechnique Montréal

Astronomy & Subatomic Physics
Harald Pfeiffer
University of Toronto

Earth & Environment
Pierre Gauthier
L'Université du Québec à Montréal
Nanotechnolgy, Materials, Condensed Matter
Irina Paci
University of Victoria

Engineering & Mathematical & Computer Sciences
Clinton Groth
University of Toronto

Humanities & Social Science

Stéfan Sinclair
McGill University

Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biophysics
Peter Kusalik
University of Calgary

Bioinformatics, Neuroscience & Medical Imaging
Tomáš Paus
University of Toronto (Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care)


Compute Canada Resource Allocation - 2014 Call for Proposals

(Issued September 2013)

Principal Investigators (PIs) at Canadian academic institutions who require access to High Performance Computing (HPC) resources on Compute Canada systems are hereby invited to submit proposals requesting allocations of CPU time and storage on Compute Canada systems.

This year again, the scientific justification has to be done based on the provided template. Note that scaling tests are required for any parallel job using more than 256 cores. Please review the form and the template well in advance to make sure you are able to provide all the information required.

In addition to offering access to computing resources with an aggregate peak of well over 1 PetaFlops of compute power and more than 10 PetaBytes of storage, Compute Canada offers applications-enabling assistance from HPC experts at the regional consortia.

Allocations will be valid for one year, beginning January 2014. Under exceptional circumstances, such as in the case of long-term national and international projects, an extended timeframe may be granted. Allocations of longer than one year will be subject to RAC (Resource Allocation Committee) approval and will require the submission of an annual progress report.

Submission of a Proposal

This call for proposals is aimed at PIs who require greater than the default usage level on any system. All applicants must complete the online application form in the Compute Canada Database (CCDB).

This year, in order to reduce the amount of work required to apply for the same allocation that was awarded in 2013, we have introduced a new process: the Fast-Track Application. This process will be available for PIs with moderate-sized allocations, whose applications received better than average reviews from the RAC and who used their allocation consistently with the award made. If this applies to your group, you will receive a letter explaining how to proceed. Note that if you need an increase of resources, you will have the possibility to submit a proposal following the regular process.

Applications requesting less than the default usage level will not be reviewed unless large bursts of usage are expected during the year (in which case planning with Compute Canada is necessary). The size of default usage levels varies by system; please consult the List of Resources page for more details. PIs who are not sure if their request requires a RAC allocation should contact prior to submitting a request.

Any individual who is eligible to apply to national granting councils for funding is eligible to apply for an allocation. Typically, this means that regular faculties are eligible to apply while postdoctoral fellows and graduate students are not. Individuals who have adjunct status may apply for an allocation if the project for which the allocation is requested is eligible for funding from CFI or the granting councils. A lead PI cannot submit more than one individual application but can be a participant in other submissions.

Note that a proposal is not required in order to get access to Compute Canada systems. Any Canadian academic researcher may obtain the “default usage level” on any Compute Canada system at any time by registering with the CCDB and then requesting accounts at one or more consortia.

Technical Aspects

It is strongly recommended that all applicants consult with Compute Canada technical staff responsible for the systems they intend to use well before completing their proposal. This ensures that the technical aspects of the proposals match well with the requested systems, to the PI’s benefit. PIs who have not previously used Compute Canada systems MUST discuss their proposal with Compute Canada technical staff before submission.

Please contact Compute Canada technical staff before October 1 so that we have time to help you.

All applications will undergo a technical review. PIs must respond to requests from the Compute Canada technical team in a timely manner regarding their application. If a PI does not respond to such requests, this could negatively affect the review of the proposal.

If you do not know how to contact the appropriate technical team, please write to

Submission Date

Proposals must be submitted electronically to Compute Canada on or before October 16, 2013 at 3pm (Eastern).

Evaluation of Proposals

Both scientific and technical experts will review applications. Proposals will be evaluated according to the quality of the proposed science, the excellence of the PI and the technical merits of the proposal (e.g. code efficiency, size of request, past usage by PI etc). As a result of the technical review, PIs may be contacted for additional information or clarification before final decisions are made.

Applicants will be notified of decisions by email in December.

Privacy Policy

Confidentiality of Information

Compute Canada will safeguard the information that it receives from applicants. It instructs reviewers to keep all information confidential and to use it only for review purposes. All proposals will be available for review by all RAC members.

Use of Personal Information

All personal information collected by Compute Canada is used to review applications. Such information may be shared with relevant officials in the relevant consortium and/or with their research institution.

Public Information

Compute Canada will post the following information on its website for allocations provided:

  • Name
  • Department/Institution
  • Project
  • Title
  • Research Summary
  • Allocation

Questions regarding any aspect of this call can be addressed to Jill Kowalchuk, President, Compute Canada, at