A networking conference with industry, academic, and government participants, Manitoba’s Future in High Performance Computing was held on Thursday, June 21st2018 at Eckhardt Gramatté Hall at the University of Winnipeg.

The use of High Performance Computing (HPC) in modeling complex physical phenomena such as weather, fluid dynamics, molecular interactions, astronomical calculations and engineering design is well known to researchers and technology leaders in those fields.

HPC is being used by industry to improve products, reduce production costs and decrease the time it takes to develop new products by virtue of developing a virtual product and reducing the number of physical designs that follow.

The Organizing Committee for this networking workshop is committed to the deployment of HPC in Manitoba. For these developments to take place a combination of technology implementation and student/client training needs to be developed.

The intention for the conference was to introduce more people to the possibilities of using HPC in their enterprise, by providing a cross section of examples and methods on how this technology can be used in their field of application.

The conference featured presentations by Dr. Annette Trimbee (President, U of W), Dr. Stefi Baum (Dean of Sciemce, U of M), Dr. Parimala Thulasiraman (Comp Sci., U of M), Dr. Christopher Henry (ACS, U of W), Mark Abotossaway (Boeing Seattle), Bob Hastings (Manitoba Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing), Erin Trifunov (WestGrid), Riley Pickerl (SkiptheDishes), Dr. Sherif Sherif (Elect. & Comp. Eng., U of M), Ken Zorinak (CEO, President, and Producer at Tangent Animation), Dr. Jeff Diamond (International Institute for Sustainable Development), Mehdi Bozzo-Rey (IBM – Quantum Computing), Haider Al-Saidi (Chair, Applied Computer Education, RRC), Brian McKinnon (Technology Manager, Ubisoft), Dr. Mark Alexiuk (CTO, Sightline Innovation), Dr. Craig Milligan (CEO, MicroTraffic Inc.), Kevin Quiring (President and Founder, Arclabs), and students from the U of W, U of M, and Red River College.

The conference also featured a panel of experts, moderated by David Simpson. The well-received conference was co-chaired by EnviroTREC’s Alfonz Koncan, who was also a participant at this event.

The conference was sponsored by the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, Red River College, Ade & Company Inc. Patent Agents, EnviroTREC, ICTAM, and IEEE.

As outcomes from this conference, what was seen is that a number of Manitoba Small and Medium Enterprises are using HPC already. Some are using purpose-built (i.e. self built) computing hardware while others are using web services. Several Large Enterprises were also in attendance and indicated that they were well aware of this technology and saw a pressing need to begin to use HPC in their enterprises.

So, the answer to” What is Manitoba’s Future in HPC?“

It is very bright and we will have a wide range of companies and sectors which are engaged in this technology.  What we currently need are more hardware assets to support the training of a large cohort of students which will seed a range of upcoming developments in this industry.

Our IBM presenter supplemented his presentation with a series of links to quantum computing. These links were distributed to several Physics researchers in this province.  Furthermore, EnviroTREC sees the opportunity that HPC can help drive Industry 4.0 implementation in Manitoba and accordingly will begin to map out a process with several related stakeholders this fall to help build that capability.