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Compute Canada announces RAC 2018 results: Demand for ARC resources outstrips supply

Compute Canada has announced its 2018 Resource Allocation Competitions (RAC) results and recipients. This year's RAC received the highest number of submissions in its history with 469 projects applying for an allocation — an increase of 15% over requests made in 2017. In Western Canada, 151 projects at WestGrid member and partner institutions received RAC allocations for 2018.

"Congratulations to all of the recipients. Each year that we have provided national advanced computing resources and regional expert support to researchers, we’ve seen them achieve great things," said WestGrid Chief Executive Officer, Lindsay Sill. "Whether they're developing improved methods for disease diagnosis and treatment, discovering new applications for machine learning, or helping our country contribute to major global research initiatives, Canadian researchers rely on WestGrid and Compute Canada to achieve their research goals and the RAC is a key part of the equation."

Recent investments have enabled a renewal of Canada’s national ARC platform — the incorporation of the new Stage 1 systems, Cedar (SFU), Graham (Waterloo), and Niagara (Toronto), yielded approximately 60PB of new raw storage capacity and 133,552 core years. However, the dual challenge of the retirement of legacy systems and an ongoing growth in researcher demand for resources meant that demand continued to outstrip supply. As a result, this year’s RAC was only able to award 55.1% of the total compute requested, 73% of the total storage requested, and 20.5% of the total GPUs requested. 

"Compute Canada and WestGrid continue to advocate on behalf of the research community to ensure adequate resources are available to enable our researchers to excel in their scientific discoveries," said Sill. "We are pleased by the recent federal budget announcement and the government’s commitment to Digital Research Infrastructure, but more work is needed to ensure the supply matches the growing demand."

In general, 80% of resources are reserved for the RAC, leaving 20% for use via the Rapid Access Service (RAS). Those with RAC awards will have a higher priority on the clusters; however, all users have access to modest quantities of compute, storage and cloud resources via RAS as soon as they register for a Compute Canada account.

If you have questions about Compute Canada's annual RAC, visit its Frequently Asked Questions page or email rac@computecanada.ca.