Look Who`s Doing Big Data in Nova Scotia: ACEnet

What kind of data are you working with?
ACEnet is a regional consortia of nine universities in Atlantic Canada and the Atlantic Canadian regional partner of Compute Canada, the national umbrella organization responsible for advanced computing in Canada. We provide advanced computing resources and expertise to researchers in the region and in so doing have been a catalyst for collaboration among researchers, institutions and industry in Atlantic Canada. We facilitate pure and applied research, accelerating discovery, innovation, commercialization and regional development, while keeping Atlantic Canada at the forefront of scientific research and furthering our intellectual economy.
What kinds of analytics are you using?
ACEnet provides researchers with access nationally to 182,000 cores, 500 GPUs, 16 PBs of storage and a staff of experts in applying advanced computing to scientific research. Our tools help researchers undertake analysis that would either be impossible or painfully slow on their desktop. From performing high speed computations in chemistry and physics to running simulations with data and creating models in mathematics and oceanography, ACEnet’s resources enable a variety of research.

What are the problems your group is interested in solving?
As technology progresses and accelerates, researchers are able to tackle more complex problems, including ones whose answers are found through analysis of Big Data. ACEnet is committed to standing alongside our Atlantic Canadian researchers, working to develop and access the tools and capabilities to take on this next generation of research. We see a great deal of opportunity to impact research and the resulting societal benefits in health and life sciences, the digital humanities and social sciences.
How did ACEnet evolve?
ACEnet grew from a handful of researchers in Atlantic Canada some 10 years ago, who decided that working together to ensure shared access to computational research tools and expertise was the best route to accelerate their discoveries in Atlantic Canada. We have now grown to almost 900 researchers using our resources and expertise.

What are you most proud of in your work?
Being part of some of the incredible discoveries and innovations being done by researchers in Atlantic Canada is a humbling experience and one that ACEnet is honoured to be part of.

What are the biggest challenges in your line of analytics?
As with any organization involved in technology, the biggest challenge is sustained funding to invest in rapidly changing hardware, software and the expertise needed.

What’s the best advice you can give someone interested in getting involved in a career in Big Data?
We are only limited by the openness of our minds.

What’s the best thing about doing Big Data in Nova Scotia that you want to share with the world?
Nova Scotia has a great deal of talent, but more than that, it is committed and passionate about always taking research and innovation to the next level. It’s not afraid to tackle the hard questions.

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