Series 3 - Ontario Centre for Large Scale Computation

Identity area

Reference code

UTA 1318-B1994-0022-3

Title

Ontario Centre for Large Scale Computation

Date(s)

  • 1986-1993 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

0.72 m of textual records

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(1921-2016)

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In 1986 the Ontario Centre for Large Scale Computation was established at the University of Toronto, the centrepiece of which was a CRAY X/MP computer. The Centre was closed on 31 March, 1992 when the Government of Ontario withdrew its subsidy. The records in this series document the life of the Centre through the activities of the University groups associated with it. These were the Research Board's Standing Committee on Computing, the Vice-Presidential Task Force on Large Scale Computation, the Parallel Computing Facility Task Group, the Supercomputer Users' Group, and the Advisory Forum on Parallel Computing.

The Research Board, through its Supercomputer Review Committee, which was chaired by Dr. Gotlieb, played a major role in the Supercomputer initiative. To monitor further the activities resulting the acquisition of the CRAY X/MP computer, the Board created, in May, 1986, a Standing Committee on Computing, which Dr. Gotlieb chaired until 1990. In 1991 the Committee was restructured as the Committee (also known as the Sub-Committee) on Computing, and Dr. Gotlieb was invited to chair it.

The minutes, correspondence, notes and reports in 1994-0022/002(01)-(03) document the role played by the Committee for the years 1986-1992. 1994-0022/002(04) contains E-mail, correspondence, notes, and reports on the allocation of CRAY user time for research from 1987, when the computer was installed, until 1991 when it was removed.

In January, 1989 the Vice-President--Research established a Task Force on Large Scale Computation "to provide the essential assessments that will inform and guide future decisions with regard to large scale computing for research", and Dr. Gotlieb was invited to be a member. The Task Force, chaired by Professor K. C. Sevcik, produced a report the following November.

B1994-0022/002(05)-(08) contain the records of the activities of the Task Force, including minutes, notes, correspondence, memoranda, and supporting documents , along with drafts of the report itself.

B1994-0022/003(01)-(02) contain correspondence, memoranda, and reports documenting the proposal for renewal of the Ontario Centre for Large Scale Computation during the course of 1991 when reports on its future were being prepared. Also included is an operational review of the Centre prepared in 1988 by John Leppik and others.

The Supercomputer Users' Group at the University of Toronto was formed in 1987 to promote the use of the Centre by researchers. Chaired by Philipp Kronberg, it lobbied the Research Board and other bodies both for continued funding and other forms of support, brought in speakers, and generally helped the project maintain a high profile during its existence. Representatives of the Research Board other than Dr. Gotlieb occasionally attended its meetings. B1994-0022/003(03)-(04) contain correspondence, minutes, press releases, and a profile of CRAY X/MP users.

The Parallel Computing Facility Task Group was created in the fall of 1990 by James Keffer, Vice-President, Research, and David Sadlier, Vice-President, Computing and Communications to make recommendations about a parallel computing facility at the University. The Task Group, chaired by Professor Gotlieb, responded to the the events of the previous year, especially the report of the Task Force. It issued a report on 29 November, to which Professor Sadlier responded the following March.

B1994-0022/003(05)-(08) contain the files on the Task Force Group, including correspondence, minutes, memoranda, notes, drafts of the survey, supporting documents, and E-mail for 1991-1992.

By 1992 three committees of the Research Board, the two chaired by Professor Gotlieb and the one chaired by Professor Sevcik, had reported that the University of Toronto should acquire a parallel computer. The Advisory Committee (later Forum) on Parallel Computing was established in the spring of 1992 to identify short and medium term (for the remainder of 1992) computing requirements at the University, and to make recommendations on the acquisition of a new, high performance parallel computing facility. It held meeting from May, 1992 through October, 1993, by which time the purchase of a KSRI Highly Parallel Computer had been made and it had been installed. The Forum was then dissolved.

The files in this last section (B1994-0022/003(09)-(11), /004(05)-(06)) contain minutes, notes, correspondence of the Forum and submissions, with covering correspondence, by companies vying for the contract. There is also a large volume of E-mail (in B1994-0022/004) relating to high performance and parallel computers, covering the years 1990-1993.

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B1994-0022/002-/003, /004(05)-(06)

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