www.westgrid.caWestGrid News: July 2018

User Training Needs Continue to Grow 

Year-round, WestGrid runs training events that help researchers get started with Compute Canada systems. These training efforts and the resulting knowledge transfer is extremely valuable for the research community, as it strengthens Canada's pool of highly qualified personnel (HQP) and enables those HQP to easily migrate between disciplines and sectors.
Over the last 12 months, WestGrid has delivered nearly 300 hours of training at more than 40 different events. We've had 800+ people register for our sessions, with 42% of them being new users. In addition, we delivered 24 Software Carpentry workshops, and hosted 11 Community Town Halls. In June, we wrapped up our training season with two big efforts – our Research Computing Summer Schools at the University of British Columbia and the University of Manitoba. Both events sold out more than a week in advance! Thank you to the organizers, instructors, and attendees for your support in making these so successful!
Feedback from these events and our user survey indicates the demand for training continues to increase. Users say they want more training in parallel programming, data visualization, using GPUs, and research data management best practices. As we develop our next round of training offerings, we will consider this feedback. For now, our training team is taking a well-deserved summer break. Watch our website for new training events this fall. 

Lindsay Sill, Chief Executive Officer, WestGrid

Cloud Upgrade &
User Migration

Later this year, Arbutus will undergo an upgrade and expansion to provide additional cloud storage, compute and network capacity. The changes will enhance Arbutus' stability and scalability, allowing us to deploy new cloud services next year. Existing cloud users will need to migrate to the new cloud service once it is available, likely in mid-September. Further instructions and support contacts will be posted on the Compute Canada Documentation Wiki. If you have questions or need support, please contact the Cloud Team.


Compute Canada Awards of Excellence

Congratulations to Kamil Marcinkowski and Masao Fujinaga, two WestGrid team members at the University of Alberta (UofA) who were among this year's winners of Compute Canada Awards of Excellence. Kamil won the Team Choice Award, and Masao received the Career Achievement Award. Masao retired earlier this year, capping a 17-year career at the UofA. During that time, Masao answered hundreds of user queries, delivered numerous HPC training sessions, and helped carry WestGrid Support through key times of growth and evolution.


Webinars & Events

Tsunami brought to Virtual Reality

At the University of Victoria, Computer Science Professor Dr. Yvonne Coady and her research team are taking a new spin on studying tsunamis. Working with Dr. Tania L. Insua at Oceans Network Canada (ONC) with support from IBM and NSERC, they have created a virtual reality (VR) game that gives a more compelling way to experience the research. Dr. Coady and her team are showing their research to the public using a VR headset that immerses users in an interactive game-like simulation that accurately portrays a tsunami that hit Port Alberni in 1700. This provides a way for the public to interact with scientific data and raise awareness about tsunamis and preparedness.
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