U of T supercomputing centre receives boost in Ontario budget

The University of Toronto’s SciNet supercomputing consortium, which provides researchers across Ontario with high-powered computational resources, will receive a further boost thanks to funding in the province’s latest budget.

The 2020 budget, released Thursday, calls for a $3.5-million investment into advanced research computing, a key strategic priority of Compute Ontario, a non-profit organization devoted to supporting, streamlining and growing advanced computing projects in in the province. 

That includes support for SciNet, which is home to Canada's most powerful research computer – a machine that accelerates cutting-edge research in fields ranging from medical research and climate science to astrophysics and aerospace engineering. 

“Today’s provincial budget investment in the foundations of research and commercialization recognizes the essential role of post-secondary institutions in making Ontario a magnet for highly qualified, hard-working talent who drive innovation and growth,” said University Professor Ted Sargent, U of T’s vice-president, research and innovation, and strategic initiatives.

The investments come as institutions such as U of T lead the way on research that will help end the pandemic and bring renewed prosperity and growth to Ontario. In the case of advanced research computing, that includes continued capacity for essential training of highly qualified personnel who use computational methods to address pressing questions facing society.

Sargent said investments in SciNet benefit a wide variety of sectors, noting the consortium’s new partnership with processor giant AMD to launch SciNet4Health, a supercomputing platform dedicated to powering health research, including on COVID-19.

By Rahul Kalvapalle

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A $3.5-million investment by the province into advanced research computing, a key strategic priority of Compute Ontario, is expected to benefit U of T's SciNet, home to Canada's most powerful research computer (Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images)