The Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network (SHARCNET) is the culmination of the vision of several researchers in Ontario who sought to build a world-class high performance computing (HPC) environment to meet growing, and often unmet, HPC demands. With its unique blend of infrastructure and research programs, SHARCNET aims to:
- Facilitate the rapidly growing range of disciplines that must have access to HPC to be competitive
- Establish an environment for truly world-class computations
- Enable academic-industry partnerships for the benefit of research and to help develop new business opportunities
- Provide an HPC environment that will help institutions attract and retain the best students and researchers
- Encourage and generate a cadre of highly skilled personnel who can leverage HPC for the benefit of Ontario and Canada
SHARCNET includes a total of 18 academic partner institutions covering a geographical span of about 1,800 km from Windsor to Peterborough and from St. Catharines to Thunder Bay making it the largest HPC consortium in Canada by number of institutions, and ranks it alongside WestGrid, which covers the four Western provinces, as supporting the largest number of users and range of research in Canada.
SHARCNET resources are equally available to all partners irrespective of the location of the researcher or the resource. By coming together as a partnership or consortium of institutions, SHARCNET is able to leverage the combined intellectual capital of its members researchers and support staff collectively to provide a level of HPC resources that would be far beyond the capability of any single institution.
As a result of successful government grants, SHARCNET has installed ~40,000 processors and 20Pb of storage in a variety of equipment; we have established the protocols and software to make it readily accessible to the research community; we have deployed the dedicated network in conjunction with ORION that tie all the components together into a single coordinated resource to enable forefront research; and we have expanded the essential staff resources which support the systems and services.
The potential impact that SHARCNET can have on the HPC community is enormous! Over the years, there has been a dramatic increase in what is possible with SHARCNET and we urge users to utilize the range of resources available to advance their research.