Economists studying the stock market model the global effects of capital flow. Atmospheric scientists analyze global weather patterns. Psychologists model the brain and human memory. Biotechnologists and computational chemists design complex molecules for innovative new drugs. Engineers model blood flow in artificial hearts. Such research requires the analysis of terabytes of data and intricate mathematical calculations that would take years to perform on even the most sophisticated desktop computer. Using HPCVL, researchers can do it in weeks, days or hours.
The High Performance Computing Virtual Laboratory (HPCVL) is a cluster of fast and powerful computers at four Ontario universities and colleges - Queen's University and Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston and Carleton University and the University of Ottawa in Ottawa. In addition to reliable, secure computing, HPCVL has been successful in delivering a world-class research high performance computing environment, storage resources, and support to over 350 Canadian research groups, comprising some 1600 researchers working in a variety of fields. Many of these research groups are headed by internationally recognized researchers, some of whom are Canada Research Chairs.
More and more, high-performance computing (HPC) is playing an indispensable role in the cultivation of scientific knowledge and technological development, and this trend will only increase in the future. HPCVL is currently one of Canada's leading secure HPC environments.
HPCVL also runs the "The Virtual Lab" Outreach Program, an online resource for Ontario educators teaching math and sciences in the upper elementary and secondary grades. The website provides great resources matched to the Ontario curriculum.
Why is HPCVL a Canadian success story in public/private collaboration?
HPCVL is a $300 million public/private collaboration for research and innovation. Public funding is provided by the Government of Ontario, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the federal Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and various other hosted sources.
Oracle Canada, IBM, and others are key partners in HPCVL. HPCVL was the ranked as one of the Top 10 Canadian research facilities by Backbone magazine in 2013. Much more than a big computer, HPCVL is composed of Research Chairs in multiple disciplines, over 1400 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows trained in advanced parallel programming techniques, with over $800K in graduate scholarships and expert user support.
HPCVL has been designed, built and is run in a secure virtual manner. It is accessible from anywhere in Canada providing researchers with the secure HPC resources they need to do innovative research that will help build Canada's economy while providing high return on capital investment for government and industry.
HPVCL's administrative offices and large central compute and storage clusters are based in Kingston. Workup servers are located at at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University in Ottawa.
HPCVL has a Board of Trustees with members appointed from member institutions and non-academic sectors. Responsibility for the formulation and implementation of policy and all operations rests with the Executive Director who reports to the Board. The Executive Director obtains advice on scientific and technical matters from the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). TAC members are appointed by the Board from both the academic and the private sector. Please see the associated diagram of the governance structure.