Advanced Computing

Through ACENET and Compute Canada, Atlantic Canadian researchers, post-secondary students and regional industry have access to advanced computing resources including:

  • state-of-the-art High Performance Computing (HPC) and storage systems
  • big data and data analytics tools and environments
  • a cloud computing and development environment
  • leading edge Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) computing systems
  • high speed, secure file transfer through Compute Canada’s Globus Portal
  • Compute Canada’s extensive software library
  • the Genetics and Genomics Analysis Platform (GenAP)
  • stable and secure data storage and back-up options accessed via desktop

Siku: the Atlantic Regional System

Installed in late 2019, Siku (meaning “sea ice” in Inuktitut) was funded, in large part, by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) with the intention of generating regional economic benefits through industry engagement, while recognizing the important work that ACENET does for academic research in the region. The system is to be used in a manner which leads it to be financially self-sustaining.

Siku gives preferential access to paid industry usage. We encourage companies to try out Siku to see if it fits with their R&D through our Free Trial program. The program provides 3 months or 2000 compute hours (or 60 GPU hours), whichever comes first, along with 1 TB of storage.

We are also eager to support our Atlantic Canadian startup community. If you are a registered member of an incubator or accelerator organization, you are invited to participate in our Jump Start for Start-ups program. Through Jump Start, companies can access 10,000 compute hours (of 285 GPU hours) and 20 hours of technical consulting over 12 months, along with 6 months of free access to any of ACENET’s scheduled training sessions – a total value of $5000! Just email for details and registration.

While giving preference to paying industry clients, we do offer surplus capacity to academic researchers, at no cost. The pay-for-use model serving regional industry is also available to academic researchers seeking comparable access to Siku.


Located at Memorial University, Siku is a 2300 core computing cluster dedicated to industry engagement and advancing regional research priorities. Siku incorporates Intel Cascade Lake CPUs, a high-throughput, low-latency EDR Infiniband interconnect, AI-capable NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs, a 1.5 PB parallel filesystem, tape back-up, and offers both batch and cloud-computing interfaces.

Technical help   Technical specifications

Siku is not intended to divert academic researchers from the national infrastructure, but rather to address needs and priorities that cannot be readily accommodated by Béluga, Graham, Niagara, Cedar or Arbutus. To find out whether Siku is the right fit for your academic research, submit the light-weight Access Request Form linked below. Access is reviewed annually in April.


National Systems

These national systems, installed between 2016 and 2018, feature cutting-edge technology, and are available, free of charge, to researchers from post-secondary institutions. 


Located at the University of Victoria, Arbutus is an OpenStack cloud, hosting virtual machines and other cloud workloads. The system, provided by Lenovo, has 14,968 CPU cores across 456 nodes, 146,944 GBs of RAM and accesses 5.7 PBs of persistent Ceph storage. Note that other cloud resources are available for a combined total of 17,272 cores nationally.

Technical help   Technical specifications


Located at the École de technologie supérieure in Montreal, Béluga is a general purpose cluster with 34,880 cores. Béluga, composed of a variety of nodes – including large memory nodes and GPU nodes with Turbo Boost activated – is designed to accommodate a broad range of workloads. 

Technical help   Technical specifications


Located at Simon Fraser University, the Cedar system is a heterogeneous cluster (CPUs and GPUs), with 94,528 CPU cores, suitable for a variety of workloads. 

Technical help   Technical specifications


Located at the University of Waterloo, Graham is a heterogeneous cluster, suitable for a variety of workloads. It has a small OpenStack partition, and includes local storage on nodes. Specifications include 41,548 CPU cores across a diverse set of node types, including GPU nodes. The Graham system is entirely liquid cooled, using rear-door heat exchangers.  

Technical help.   Technical specifications 


Located at the University of Toronto, Niagara has 80,640 CPU cores. This system has 202 GBs (188 GiB) of RAM per node and offers 7 PBs of scratch and 2 PBs of project storage space. Mellanox EDR InfiniBand is used to create a Dragonfly+ network topology featuring adaptive routing to provide the high-speed low-latency communications necessary for large-scale full-system simulations. A 256 TB Burst-buffer in this cluster helps improve performance for data-intensive work loads.   

Technical help   Technical specifications