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High Performance Computing

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Grad Students, Faculty & Staff

High performance computing cycles (available through the WestGrid project) enable researchers at the University of Calgary to choose the most appropriate architecture for their specific applications. 

Researchers requiring computing resources that go beyond the resources available in their department, or the IT general purpose Linux cluster, are invited to contact to discuss their requirements.



Submitted by sdweir on Wed, 12/17/2014 - 1:07pm

What is the WestGrid project?

WestGrid offers a High Performance Computing environment distributed among several universities in Western Canada. It is comprised of several types of computing architecture, including:

  • shared-memory machines
  • clusters with high speed and low latency interconnects
  • commodity clusters
  • specialized accelerator hardware (FPGAs) to substantially speed up certain types of calculations.

Accordingly, you can choose the most appropriate architectures for your code. Other advantages of using WestGrid include:

  • dedicated access to fast processors
  • large memory machines with high memory bandwidth
  • parallel program execution (MPI or OpenMP) facilitated by low-latency, high bandwidth interconnects
  • users can run multiple jobs simultaneously
  • fast network between sites for data movement to storage, backup and visualization sites
  • technical support offered through a multi-site mailing list and local analysts.

Further information about obtaining accounts for these systems is available on the WestGrid web site at

What are the newest WestGrid acquisitions?

The newest WestGrid acquisitions include a 128 node (256 processor) HP Opteron cluster in Calgary, dual 64 cpu IBM Power 5s in Edmonton, an 8 processor Cray XD-1 and a 56 processor IBM JS20 Blade Center at Simon Fraser University.

These machines supplement the existing IBM Linux cluster of 1658 Xeon processors at the University of British Columbia, the University of Alberta's 256-processor large shared memory SGI Origin 3900, and the University of Calgary's hosted Hewlett-Packard 144-processor Alphaserver SC45. The SFU storage facility (30TB disk, 200TB tape) is also available for researchers' storage needs. To learn more see: and

Research computing cycles are also available on CampusGrid, an initiative with the "Lab Group", to make better use of available cycles on the workstations/PCs located in the various labs on campus. A small Opteron cluster is also available via CampusGrid for those who would like to use it.

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