Supercomputing
for Humanities &
Social Sciences

We provide the power of digital research tools to support researchers and their groups working in the humanities, arts and social sciences.

Do you want to use cloud to build a tool to mine and analyze texts, do visual analytics, integrate different data sets?

Do you want to build a portal for a community database or repository, or create a MediaWiki?

Do you want to set up a platform in the cloud to use software that gathers data from the web?

We offer access to digital research tools, storage, expertise and ongoing support, and skills development to humanities, arts and social sciences researchers and their teams in Atlantic Canada. 

Funded federally and by the provinces, our resources are free of charge to researchers at post-secondary institutions in Canada. Your data stays in Canada, and we don’t look at, touch or use it or any purpose whatsoever.

Our resources can be used to:

  • Do large scale image rendering
  • Model immense audio and video projection
  • Parse large quantities of data
  • Mine historical journals, newspapers, books or election data
  • Analyze qualitative and quantitative data
  • Process and visualize data

Digital Research Tools

Cloud Computing & Development Space

The Compute Canada Federation manages over 40,000 virtual CPUs across the country, with a team of system administrators ensuring that your data remains in Canada within a managed, secure environment.  Attributes include a centralized software stack and specialized data portals such as Jupyter Hub. Humanities, arts and social science communities use our cloud environments for a variety of applications.  

  • Create a tool or platform to enable data mining and analysis, visual analytics, integrate different data sets
  • Create interactive maps
  • Create a MediaWiki, a community database or a repository on any subject matter
  • Gather data from the web (web scraping)
  • Develop a mobile application hosted in the cloud

High Performance Computing

With 240,000 CPUs across five national systems and an extensive range of software, humanities, arts and social sciences researchers can carry out a variety of activities.

  • Data processing 
  • Data mining
  • Machine learning

Globus:

Use the high-speed, fire-and-forget, secure and easy to use Globus platform to access your data from anywhere, or to securely share TBs of data with national or international collaborators. 

Globus maximizes bandwidth usage, manages security configurations, provides automatic fault recovery and notifies you of completion or any difficulties along the way. 

You can also choose to transfer the data using CANARIE, so that they stay in Canada. Your passwords protect the data as it moves through the internet.

More information

Database as a Service

Compute Canada provides Databases as a Service. This offers several advantages for researchers, including professional database management, secure backups and easy simultaneous access by you and your collaborators. Currently, Compute Canada does not provide a web interface for databases as a service; they are accessed via the Command Line. If your database requires a web interface, you can make use of the Compute Canada cloud to host it, but you will be in charge of the building and management of your project. 

More information 

Research Data Management and Accessibility

For many researchers, storage is their biggest challenge. We can help. 

  • Store data via the Compute Canada Federation’s 95 petabytes of storage across its national systems. 
  • Create a virtual machine in the cloud to store, analyze and share data.
  • Develop a data management plan.
  • The Federated Research Data Repository, FRDR, (see below)

Research data management (RDM) is supported nationally through the Portage Network, originally launched in 2015 by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), and now under the auspices of NDRIO

The Portage Network has grown to over 140 experts from 60 institutions across Canada. Portage collaborates with a broad range of stakeholders and partners locally, nationally, and internationally to build capacity and develop services and infrastructure so that all academic researchers in Canada have access to the support they need for research data management.

Our infrastructure is entirely owned and based in Canada, so your data stays here. Furthermore, we do not use your data for any purpose whatsoever, and do not access it without first seeking your permission.

The Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR)

The Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR) addresses a long-standing gap in Canada’s research infrastructure by providing a single platform from which research data can be ingested, curated, preserved, discovered, cited and shared. FRDR was developed through the partnership of the Compute Canada Federation, Portage, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, and Globus. 

Services

ACENET has a dedicated Research Consultant with a background in social science to address the needs of our humanities, arts and social sciences communities. 

We can help you:

  • Determine the most appropriate digital resources
  • Obtain a Compute Canada Federation account and establish a cloud project
  • Get set up in the cloud, create your virtual machine and install your software 
  • Get started using the high performance computing clusters
  • Get started with Globus

Grant Support Services

We can help with grant applications requiring digital research tools. 

  • Digital tools needs assessment
  • Develop the technical specifications, budget and RFP
  • Provide letters of support to granting agencies
  • Establish a partnership with in-kind contributions attached to usage
  • Host, manage and maintain shared equipment 
    • This creates a win-win situation where you obtain the digital resources you need, while we maximize the financial investment through greater usage efficiency. 

Tools of the Trade

Join us monthly at lunch time for this forum specifically designed for humanities, arts and social sciences researchers. The series focuses on discussions, demonstration and applications of digital tools for the humanities, arts and social sciences community. Each session will include a short presentation on a current topic, followed by questions and discussion. For more information, click here.

Other Resources

Here are some additional resources you may find useful.

Compute Canada Federation HSS Working Group

This group meets regularly to discuss ways in which access to digital tools can be improved for the humanities, arts and social sciences community. It also advocates for the community within the Compute Canada Federation. It is also a forum whereby researchers can request help on their project. Contact hss@computecanada.ca 

Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI)

The Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) is an annual digital scholarship training institute that takes place at the University of Victoria. Approximately 800-900 participants attend DHSI, and its extended pedagogical partnership includes some 30 institutions and academic organizations, plus an expanding international training network. DHSI is a community-based environment for discussing and learning about new technologies and how they influence teaching, research, creation, and preservation in different disciplines. DHSI is a Canadian Social Knowledge Institute (C-SKI; c-ski.ca) training institute.

Digital Humanities Summer Institute East (DHSI-East)

DHSI-East is part of the international DH Training Network and takes its name from DHSI, the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (University of Victoria). Its purpose is to provide a forum that is more geographically accessible to humanities and social sciences researchers on the east coast. 

St. Francis Xavier University Digital Humanities Centre

The St. Francis Xavier University Digital Humanities Center is located in 408 Nicholson Tower and supports faculty and student digital humanities research. The space is available to be booked for teleconferencing and collaborative projects. There are tablets and laptops available for check out. Contact them at digitalhumanities@stfx.ca to book space or equipment.

Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences promotes research and teaching for the advancement of an inclusive, democratic and prosperous society. With a membership now comprising over 160 universities, colleges and scholarly associations, the Federation represents a diverse community of 91,000 researchers and graduate students across Canada. The Federation organizes Canada’s largest academic gathering, the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, bringing together more than 8000 participants each year. 

Data Management

Resources

Help

Compute Canada Federation Humanities and Social Sciences Working Group: hss@computecanada.ca

ACENET Research Consultant in Humanities and Social Sciences: lydia.vermeyden@ace-net.ca

Learn New Skills

Our training includes novice to advanced levels, both scheduled events and custom training for groups, online and in-person.

We teach people who’ve never used digital research tools how to get up and running. 

A variety of topics are available, both specific to humanities and social sciences, and more general. 

Many of our courses have slide decks and videos available, and we have an extensive Wiki.