High Performance Computing - Information Services and Technology

High Performance Computing

Clustered here are some of the High Performance Computing (HPC) resources of Compute Canada.  The University of Alberta, as part of the WestGrid consortium under Compute Canada, offers all researchers—from across the country—free access to linux based, high-performance shared computing services.  All you need is an account with Compute Canada. Please visit the WestGrid website for information on how to get an account with Compute Canada.

WestGrid/Compute Canada resources include clusters suitable for running programs that use only a single thread, or that are parallelized with MPI (Message Passing Interface). WestGrid also has computer clusters containing nodes with more memory and cores available, which are suitable for running threaded programs using the OpenMP (Open Multi-Processing) API. These computers all run linux in a 64 bit environment and have a variety of software installed. Cluster descriptions and installed software can be found on the WestGrid website.


The HPC Computing Group has partnered with Research Data Management Week (May 4-8, 2015) to offer a workshop series designed to provide users of all levels with an overview of Compute Canada and WestGrid functions and opportunities.

More information is available on the workshops page.

University of Alberta Resources

A Compute Canada account will allow you to access any of its HPC resources across Canada.  Here at the U of A, we house WestGrid’s Hungabee, Checkers, and Jasper.

SGI UV1000 Xeon E7-8837 SMP

Hungabee comprises an SGI UV100 login node and an SGI UV1000 computational node.  The UV1000  is a large non-uniform memory access (NUMA) shared-memory multiprocessor machine with 2048 cores (Intel Xeon E7 cpu family) and 16TB of RAM.

SGI Xeon Cluster

Checkers is an SGI Altix XE320-based cluster with 1280 cores connected with Infiniband, running the Scientific Linux operating system. The Checkers facility is comprised of a login node, storage server, and 160 compute nodes providing 1280 processor cores.

SGI Xeon X5675 Cluster

The Jasper cluster is intended for general purpose serial and MPI-based parallel computing. Jasper is an SGI Altix XE cluster consisting of 240 nodes. Each node has 12 cores and 24 GB of RAM, resulting in 2880 cores in total.

High Performance Computing (HPC) is redefining the way research is done. As a consequence, research in all disciplines is delivering new knowledge and innovation, resulting in wealth creation, social advantage and well-being for all Canadians. Compute Canada’s goal is to build on the significant successes achieved to date and to address the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

WestGrid resources have contributed to big national projects. Canadian researchers are addressing the following opportunities and challenges:

On-demand, advanced research and development environment that supports Canada’s tech innovators and entrepreneurs in designing, prototyping, validating, and demonstrating their new technology, apps, products, and services.

Words move. The Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC) has been funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Leading Edge Fund to establish an online infrastructure for literary research in and about Canada.

A particle physics experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. ATLAS learns about basic forces that have shaped our Universe and determine its fate: the origin of mass, extra dimensions of space, evidence for dark matter candidates, and more.

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