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University of Waterloo Launches New National System to Fuel Big Data Research & Machine Learning

WATERLOO, ON (Friday, 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.

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.

Learn more about Graham, the new supercomputer at Waterloo.

 

Photo: The official ribbon cutting to commemorate the ceremonial launch of Graham, Compute Canada's newest national system.