Driving a provincial strategy for HPC and big data October 30, 2014 RICCentre Ontario Centres of Excellence is playing a vital role as the province moves to significantly up its game in the realm of high performance computing and big data. Today’s leading-edge researchers are increasingly dependent on advanced computing to process massive amounts of data and solve complex problems using highly sophisticated algorithms. Only a few years ago seen as the domain of a few high tech visionaries, high performance computing is now recognized as vital to global competitiveness. To ensure that Ontario is at the cutting-edge of one of the most important technological platforms of the 21st century, Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation is developing a high performance computing and big data strategy for the province. A new Ontario research computing institution called Compute Ontario will be instrumental in advancing a more strategic and holistic approach to the province’s HPC resources and capacity. Ron Van Holst, OCE’s director of research development in high performance computing, is on secondment to Compute Ontario to provide interim leadership during its start-up phase. “This is a very exciting development for the province and is in keeping with the Ontario government’s track record of leadership in the area of high performance computing,” says OCE President Dr. Tom Corr. Working together with OCE and all advanced research computing stakeholders in the province, Compute Ontario will implement an efficient big data and HPC investment strategy for Ontario through partnerships with universities and colleges, industry, hospitals and research institutes and provide a unified voice for Ontario at the national level and at international forums. The Ontario government demonstrated foresight a few years ago in partnering with IBM and Ontario universities to give researchers and industry access to Canada’s most powerful and versatile supercomputers for solving urgent social, technical, and economic challenges. OCE has been a key contributor to this initiative through the SOSCIP program, which provides access to supercomputer technology for small- and medium- sized businesses “Supercomputing and big data are reshaping our ideas about what’s possible and giving rise to a whole new genre of data-driven companies,” says Dr. Corr. OCE has also recently been part of creating an unprecedented opportunity for data-driven companies as a co-founder of OneEleven, along with OMERS Ventures and Ryerson University. OneEleven is Canada’s first organization focused on the business and technical needs of successful, visionary entrepreneurs who will benefit from access to collaboration with other data-driven start-up companies, and high-performance computing power. “We are removing barriers to entry for data-driven start-ups by having the expertise and infrastructure that they need in one place. At the same time we are helping to create an unparalleled source of high potential deal flow that creates a win-win situation for early investors and entrepreneurs,” says Dr. Corr. There are already 15 companies that are part of the OneEleven community. “OCE is committed to making high performance computing and big data a strategic program priority in the coming years.” says Dr. Corr.