The new WestGrid Collaboration and Visualization Facility (WGCVF) aids just that – collaboration and visualization.
The $300,000 project, funded by the university and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) through the National Platforms Fund, is intended to facilitate networking between researchers at the University of Saskatchewan and their research colleagues around the world, explained Jason Hlady, high performance computing analyst and co-ordinator with Information Technology Services.
The WGCVF, which has been up and running for several weeks, offers many features, he said. Videoconferencing using AccessGrid software allows for “many-to-many collaborations” by using dozens of video streams in the same virtual room. A recent seminar delivered from the University of Alberta was attended by 22 different universities in Canada, including the U of S, using AccessGrid.
For one-to-one or “few-to-few collaborations”, high-definition video conferencing is available, said Hlady. The 3D visualization component allows for the creation and sharing of 3D models of items such as molecules, bone density samples and biomedical images.
Educational Media Access and Production (EMAP) helped with the set up of three cameras, five projectors, a 19-foot screen and a technician room in the WGCVF. Similar facilities exist across Canada, but the one at the U of S has “a high level of finish. We have a bookable resource that enables researchers to work with people all over the planet. It’s about lowering the barrier to face-to-face collaboration, making it less about geography and more about ideas.”
The facility is part of WestGrid, a collection of high performance computing institutions in Western Canada that includes the U of S. Previous funding from CFI helped the university set up a high performance data storage system for WestGrid.
The WGCVF is available to all researchers on campus. More information about the facility is available on the ITS website under services, research computing.