Capital Investment in advanced research computing infrastructure

Date posted:Sep 17, 2018

As a leading global research institution, UBC needs to meet the continually developing digital infrastructure requirements of its research community. To address immediate needs surrounding data storage and computing power, and issues surrounding health data access, UBC is making a $7.9m capital investment in advanced research computing infrastructure. This funding will enable UBC researchers to bridge to enhanced national platforms expected from the implementation of a federal digital research infrastructure strategy (as announced in the 2018 Budget).

The capital investment will complement the work of the Advanced Research Computing (ARC) team and has three main objectives:

  1. Provide access to local advanced research computing resources
  2. Provide dedicated resources and local capacity for health researchers to address health research data access challenges at UBC
  3. Accelerate investigation into and support for commercial cloud computing

The capital investment will provide local shared compute and storage capabilities for all UBC researchers. It will provide greater flexibility in accessing resources and will be particularly valuable for early-career researchers and new recruits who require “bridge” access to resources to establish their research at UBC. It will also provide increased support for critical research areas such as machine learning, real-time image processing and interactive processing. Increased research data management resources such as data repositories, archives, secure file transfers and data management plans will facilitate research using sensitive or confidential data.

The investment will also address the specific needs for secure and compliant storage and compute platforms for health researchers, facilitating greater collaboration.

It is anticipated that the new infrastructure will be available to researchers in the spring of 2019. Resources are open to all UBC researchers, and will be allocated quarterly through a new resource allocation committee consisting of faculty members, ARC staff and a member from the UBC Research Ethics Board. Further details and the first call for allocations will be announced in the coming months.    

This investment focuses on meeting the general UBC research community need. Future investments are being planned, and we invite your feedback below to help shape the balance of investments across storage, compute, network and advanced software needs.

The advanced research computing infrastructure strategy is governed by the VP, Research & Innovation and the Associate Vice President Information Technology & CIO, who are advised by the Advanced Research Computing Advisory Committee (ARCAC), which consists of members from multiple faculties.