Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) applauds the announcement of a new $20 million investment from the federal government in the Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP) consortium to add new areas of focus such as advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity to its research projects.
The announcement was made at OCE’s Discovery conference on April 28.
“This is truly great news,” says OCE President and CEO Dr. Tom Corr. “It is partnerships like those fostered through OCE that are helping make Ontario and Canada forces to be reckoned with on a global scale. One of the initiatives that we are particularly proud to be part of is SOSCIP.”
When SOSCIP was formed, OCE was given the role of bringing SMEs to the SOSCIP table. This was an important milestone, as access to HPC technology for research purposes has been outside the reach of small businesses. Since then, we’ve seen the movement towards empowering SMEs with supercomputing capabilities become a worldwide trend.
“The business case for investing in high performance computing has become increasingly obvious. As simulation and modeling replace the need to construct prototypes, companies are seeing cost savings, a faster pace of development, and a speedier time to market.”
OCE’s role in SOSCIP is a natural extension of our core mandate, which is connecting academic researchers and industry partners to identify and foster the innovative breakthroughs that can drive global competitiveness.
In addition to the FedDev funding, IBM Canada Ltd., as the lead industrial partner of the consortium, will contribute $65 million of agile, advanced computing infrastructure and big data analytics as well as related support through research, IT and business expertise.
The funding comes from FedDev Ontario, a federal agency established in 2009 with $1 billion to work with southern Ontario’s communities, businesses and not-for-profits to address regional and global economic challenges.
“This investment will open the doors for a number of small- and medium-sized businesses, who can benefit from access to smart computing platforms. These new partnerships will lead to the discovery and development of innovative new technologies and will help build a healthy information infrastructure here in southern Ontario,” said Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for FedDev Ontario.
SOSCIP was founded with a focus on research into five core areas – cities, health, energy, water and advanced computing. The consortium uses state-of-the art technology, such as the IBM BlueGene/Q, the fastest supercomputer in Canada.
SOSCIP’s founding partners include Western University, University of Toronto, McMaster University, Queen’s University, University of Ottawa, University of Waterloo, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, IBM Canada Ltd., and OCE. Carleton, Ryerson, York and Wilfrid Laurier universities joined SOSCIP in April 2014.
“SOSCIP has made important progress over the past three years in these important areas. This new investment will enable the consortium to support collaborative projects in the additional areas of mining, advanced manufacturing, digital media and cybersecurity,” said Professor Vivek Goel, U of T’s Vice President, Research and Innovation.
He added that the new projects will include at least eight medium-sized businesses and are expected to create or maintain about 100 jobs including training and skills development opportunities for students and postdoctoral fellows.