U of S Unveils New Resources to Support Data-Intensive Research
Posted April 01, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 1, 2009
New data storage resources at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) will help science, math and engineering faculty uncover more accurate results in a faster timeframe for their large-scale and data-intensive research challenges.
Installation of the new IBM storage system – a $3.2-million investment among WestGrid, the U of S, the Province of Saskatchewan, IBM and the Canada Foundation for Innovation – is the newest addition to WestGrid’s inter-institutional pool of storage and computing facilities. WestGrid is a user-driven organization that provides high-performance computing (HPC), collaboration and visualization infrastructure to researchers across Canada. The U of S is one of 14 partner institutions that support and use WestGrid resources.
“It is clear that robust, high-performing storage is something that is becoming increasingly important for many researchers,” said Raymond Spiteri, U of S professor of computer science and WestGrid’s U of S representative. “There are a number of research projects across Canada, including those related to the Canadian Light Source that can make use of large data storage.”
One of those researchers is John Tse, a Canada Research Chair and professor with the university’s department of physics and engineering physics. Tse uses WestGrid resources to model structures and properties of new materials under extreme conditions.
“It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to continue my research without the high-performance computing and storage facilities available at WestGrid,” says Tse. “The availability of a very large storage facility opens a new area of research for me.”
The new WestGrid storage resources will alleviate an existing lack of data storage capacity in Western Canada, as well as increase the size, resolution and depth of researcher analysis and calculations. Researchers in Humanities departments, who often deal with large sets of research data, are expected to take advantage of the extra storage capabilities for archiving purposes.
“Data storage, retrieval, and organization are key challenges for supporting new research and the U of S is pleased to contribute to the national HPC plan,” says Jason Hlady, U of S HPC coordinator and WestGrid site lead. “This facility lets researchers share their data nationally and globally by providing a home for data repositories, data collections and scientific portals.”
This equipment installation is part of a larger national strategy, spearheaded by Compute Canada and initiated by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, to build and integrate a shared distributed High-Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure across the country.
“Compute Canada is pleased to work with WestGrid and all the consortia partners to provide the HPC access and storage that allows Canadian researchers to work in a highly productive and competitive research environment, to focus on accelerating their research, and to remain among world leaders in their field,” said Susan Baldwin, Executive Director of Compute Canada. “I also wish to acknowledge the Government of Canada, the provincial governments and the Canada Foundation for Innovation for their funding of these essential HPC resources.”
SRnet, Saskatchewan’s provincial research network, and the CANARIE network, Canada’s national advanced research and education network, will be used to connect these new data storage resources to the rest of WestGrid’s resource pool.
Located in the heart of Saskatoon, the University of Saskatchewan is one of the leading medical doctoral universities in Canada. With 58 degrees, diplomas and certificates in over 100 areas of study, the University is uniquely positioned in the areas of human, animal and plant studies. World-class research facilities, renowned faculty and award winning students make the U of S a leader in post-secondary education.
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University of Saskatchewan