What is ACEnet?

Over the last five years, universities across Canada have been organizing themselves into regional groups to acquire and operate large-scale high performance computing (HPC) facilities for research. Several of these "HPC consortia" now exist and each has received tens of millions of dollars in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), provincial matching funds, and corporate partners.

ACEnet ("Atlantic Computational Excellence Network") is Atlantic Canada’s entry into this national fabric of HPC facilities. It is a partnership of seven institutions, including Memorial University of Newfoundland, University of New Brunswick, Saint Mary’s University, St. Francis Xavier University, Dalhousie University, Mount Allison University, and the University of Prince Edward Island.

ACEnet was awarded $9.9M by the CFI in March 2004. When provincial and private sector contributions are finalized, the project will be worth nearly $28M, including $3M from the CFI Infrastructure Operating Fund. ACEnet also expects to secure funding to support students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty through a collaboration facility called the ACEnet Institutes. The institutes are geographically dispersed teams of researchers, with common topics of study, whose work will be facilitated by ACEnet’s communications and high-performance computing capabilities. Initially, three ACEnet Institutes will be established in computer science, computational chemistry, and materials modeling.

All infrastructure will be installed at the four "host institutions", namely MUN, UNB, SMU, and StFX, and available to researchers at all seven partner universities. Indeed, researchers from all universities in the region will have access to ACEnet facilities.

What will ACEnet do?

ACEnet will create and operate HPC facilities to rival the best in Canada and the world. These facilities will be interconnected by high-speed networks, allowing them to behave as a single, regionally distributed "computational power grid" of enormous capacity. ACEnet will also create and operate sophisticated video-teleconferencing facilities to bind together our geographically dispersed research communities.

Why does ACEnet matter to Atlantic Canada?

  • ACEnet’s world-class research computing facilities will allow researchers to realize their full potential and to allow regional universities to attract and retain the best faculty and students to Atlantic Canada.
  • Through ACEnet, researchers will have the tools to attract partnerships with private enterprise that otherwise would go to universities outside the region.
  • ACEnet "Access Grid" communication will revolutionize interactions between researchers from the partner institutions and beyond. Barriers raised by our region’s complex geography and dispersed institutions can be overcome via this technology.
  • ACEnet facilities will provide a technology showcase spanning the region. Private firms and other research institutions will be able to assess how these technologies can improve their own operations.
  • Building on success and pan-regional coordination, ACEnet will attract additional financial support to create new faculty positions, student fellowships and scholarships and expanded opportunities for training and innovation.

For further information on ACEnet, please contact:

Ray Miller
Executive Director
(709) 864-3302

Greg Lukeman
Chief Technology Officer
(902) 867-2476

Dianne O'Leary
Admin Staff Specialist
(709) 864-3675
Cathy Perry
Manager of Finance
(709) 864-3280

Research Directorate:

Russell Boyd
ACEnet Research Director, Alexander McLeod Professor of Chemistry
Dalhousie University
Ian Short
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Astronomy and Physics
Saint Mary's University
Ronald Haynes
Associate Professor of Mathematics
Memorial University
Virendra Bhavsar
Professor, Faculty of Computer Science, and Director, Advanced Computational Research Laboratory
University of New Brunswick
Andrew Rutenberg
Associate Professor of Physics
Dalhousie University
Keith De'Bell
Associate Vice-President Research
St. Francis Xavier University