IBM, universities launch supercomputing scheme

IBM and seven universities are teaming up to develop advanced computing and cloud platforms.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Funded by technology giant IBM, seven Canadian universities have joined a new Ontario-based research initiative aimed at the development of high-function computing.

The $210 million public-private research project is funded by the governmental bodies of Canada and Ontario as well as by IBM. The chip maker will contribute up to $175 million by 2014 in addition to federal and provincial funds, in order to form the IBM Canada Research and Development Centre. The Government of Ontario is planning to invest between $15 - 20 million.

The research collaboration is aimed at improving Canada's computing infrastructure -- developing and upgrading both supercomputing and cloud platforms to help researchers store and analyze vast quantities of data.

"No matter the industry, science and technology are driving the bottom line,” said Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology. "They are, in fact, what will build our future. Canada has what it takes to be an innovation leader."

The initiative is expected to create 145 new local jobs, and an improved computing infrastructure will allow researchers to try and solve challenges in industries including health care, sustainability, urban construction and energy use. Advanced smart grid technology, weather modelling, computing platforms and improving an ageing infrastructure are among the current priorities of the project.

Amit Chakma, president, Western University, commented on the university's participation:

"Western has long been at the forefront of Canadian research that capitalizes on high-performance computing, and we are excited about our role within this consortium to take the next step by using cloud computing to manage the staggering volume of digital data society creates on a daily basis.

From neuroscience and our environment, to other industrial applications, this field holds tremendous promise for helping us make complex research decisions more quickly, while mining data for better answers."

It is hoped that this initiative will not only improve existing infrastructures, but will encourage Canadian innovation in technological fields.

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