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Simon Fraser University national host site (Cedar)

SFU’s supercomputer Cedar serves a diverse range of research projects and enables discoveries that previously may not have been possible because the tools were simply not there.

Other projects supported by SFU’s Cedar site include:

  • health science professor Caroline Colijn leading a pan-Canadian team to improve Canada’s pandemic preparedness by creating the support to rapidly develop and deploy new vaccines;
  • research leading to the creation of Ionomr, a Canadian company accelerating decarbonization pathways and growing BC’s hydrogen sector to meet increasing demand; and,
  • sequencing of the DNA of disease-causing microbes in a secure environment to identify and track infectious disease agents.

Cedar is a multi-purpose facility, providing multiple types of computation, cloud and storage services. It was originally built in three phases between 2016 and 2019. When first deployed, Cedar was one of the top 100 supercomputers in the world.

Cedar references the western red cedar, British Columbia’s official tree, and is of great spiritual significance to First Nations. The cedar tree also symbolizes inspiration and can represent data structures.

University of Victoria national host site (Arbutus)

The Arbutus system is the largest research cloud in Canada. It is an OpenStack cloud system that hosts virtual machines and cloud computing workloads.

Arbutus is one of the Digital Research Alliance of Canada’s national platforms and is available for researchers across the country. Arbutus was originally built in two phases from 2016 until early 2020.

More than 1,000 research teams across Canada have depended on Arbutus for research support.

Other projects supported by UVic’s Arbutus supercomputer include:

  • aiding research to test decarbonization scenarios allowing policymakers to how best transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources, including wind and solar;
  • developing a secure cloud-based ECG heart monitor that transmits real-time, life-saving data from patient to physician
  • processing vast amounts of data to understand the fundamental properties of the universe, energy and dark matter.

The name Arbutus, given to the supercomputer at UVic, represents integrity, strength, creativity, and resilience. The arbutus, commonly referred to as the “tree of knowledge,” is highly adaptable – its branches twist and turn to find the sunlight, resulting in its distinctive shape.