The Ontario government is telling scientific researchers that its got their back, and they’re proving it with a $75 million investment into advanced research computing and big data strategy.

With this strategy the Ontario government seeks to boost scientific discovery and innovation for researchers using advanced computing in fields such as genomics, neuroscience, astrophysics, clean water technologies, energy, climate change, and the humanities. The investment will help researchers involved with the process of gathering, processing, and disseminating data and translating it into usable information.

The Advanced Research Computing and Big Data Strategy will be coordinated by non-profit Compute Ontario. The initial focus will be to upgrade infrastructure at Ontario’s advanced research computing sites and develop new talent in those areas.

To support this five-year investment, the provincial government is focusing on four contributions:

  1. Installing two new hardware platforms at the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo with a $20.5 million investment through the Ontario Research Fund. This will be the first major upgrade to Ontario’s advanced research computing infrastructure since 2007.
  2. Supporting the operating costs of advanced research computing across the province with a $34 million investment. This will provide Ontario’s advanced research computing centres with the steady funding they need for efficient multi-year planning.
  3. Investing in projects that bring together groups of researchers to develop tailored, shared and integrated data resources capable of data analytics and large scale computational modelling with a $12 million investment through the Ontario Research Fund-Research Data Infrastructure initiative.
  4. Supporting Compute Ontario in co-ordinating advanced research computing with an  $8.5 million-investment.

“Ontario researchers are using advanced computing to model wind turbulence, simulate regional climate change, and the impact of global warming on watersheds, and study neutrinos and the physics of dark matter. But there is more work to be done,” said Arthur B. McDonald, professor emeritus at Queen’s University in the report released by the Ontario government announcing the investment. McDonald was co-awarded the Noble Prize in Physics in 2015.

Additionally, the province’s support will aim to generate benefits in several key areas including giving Ontario companies the opportunity for advanced technology collaborations to increase their share in global markets. It also will educate and train the next generation of talented people working towards these industries.

“That is why Ontario is moving forward with a new strategy. It will support Ontario’s world leading researchers and help transform their discoveries into innovations that our entrepreneurs and companies can bring to global markets,” said McDonald.