$16.4M reboot elevates cloud computing performance and energy efficiency

Engineering, Science, Medical Sciences

UVic professor and Canada Research Chair Marie-Ève Tremblay uses AI in her globally recognized research on microglia.

Research requires more secure, faster computing power. It’s even better if the system can also deliver energy efficiency.

Deployed and operated by the Research Computing Services team at the University of Victoria, Arbutus Cloud has revolutionized how scientists process, share and store massive data sets. With processing speeds thousands of times faster than a desktop computer, it serves as the cornerstone for more than 1,000 research teams across Canada and more than three million end-users worldwide.  

On June 3, the federal and provincial governments signaled the importance of the Arbutus Cloud infrastructure to Canadian research. The Digital Research Alliance of Canada announced $10.28 million to renew the Arbutus cloud infrastructure one of five National Host Sites, and the largest research cloud in the country. At the same time, the Government of British Columbia announced an additional investment of up to $6.14 million to support the Arbutus Cloud renewal. 

Randall Sobie stands in front of a computer switch board.

Randall Sobie uses Arbutus Cloud to understand fundamental properties of the universe.


“Cloud computing accelerates the speed of research and streamlines collaboration across countries and continents,” says UVic’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation Lisa Kalynchuk. “We’re very grateful for this investment, which will support both fundamental science and applied research discoveries that impact our everyday lives - from unlocking secrets of the brain, to understanding the cosmos, to modelling solutions for a healthier, more sustainable future.”

The Arbutus investment will add powerful storage and compute capabilities to UVic’s cloud infrastructure, increasing stability and support for researchers when processing, sharing and storing massive data sets. The upgrade will also enable the next generation of supercomputers to be cooled more quietly and efficiently using water instead of air. The warm water expelled during the cooling process can be re-purposed for secondary uses like heating a building, contributing to UVic’s goal of becoming a climate-positive campus by 2050.

The infrastructure itself supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of climate action (SDG 13). As well, the research that it makes possible supports SDGs including good health and well-being (SDG 3), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11).


Read the Government of Canada news release

Read the Province of B.C. news release

Learn more about the research projects supported by the Arbutus Cloud



In this story

Keywords: People Place Planet, sustainability, climate, environment, health, partnerships, funding, SDGs, SDG3, good health and well-being, SDG13, climate action, SDG11, sustainable cities and communities, research, science, physics, electrical and computer engineering, civil engineering

People: Randall Sobie, Robert McPherson, Michel Lefebvre, Heather Russell, Robert Kowalewski, Justin Albert, Richard Keeler, Madeleine McPherson, Marie-Ève Tremblay, Xiaodai Dong, Lisa Kalynchuk

Related stories