Data stored at the CADC is continually collected by major astronomical facilities, including the Hubble Space Telescope, the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, and the twin 8-m telescopes of the Gemini Observatory.
"This data is critical; it is helping us answer questions about our Earth and space", stated Chris Pritchet, Principal Investigator for CANFAR and Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Victoria. "By maintaining a copy of this data in a completely different region, we are reducing risk of loss due to a possible earthquake, or other disaster, in British Columbia."
The CANFAR project, led by the University of Victoria, promotes space exploration and advances knowledge of the universe through effectively delivering, processing, storing, analyzing, and distributing massive datasets produced by astronomical surveys. The project leverages the high-speed CANARIE Network, Compute Canada - a national platform that integrates high performance computing resources of seven regional consortia across the country - and WestGrid's compute and storage resources, and the NRC-HIA's expertise. Through customized virtual compute and storage Clouds, CANFAR provides astronomers with access to these datasets and other resources previously unavailable to them.
CANFAR is one of a number of projects across Canada that CANARIE has funded under its Network-Enabled
Platforms Programme. These projects help Canadian researchers leverage the ultra-high capacity research network by adopting advanced digital methods and fostering collaboration, with a goal of accelerating research outcomes.
"In addition to being able to utilize cloud resources, having this data available and securely backed up on Compute Canada/WestGrid infrastructure at the University of Saskatchewan ensures that astronomical researchers around the world will have faster and more reliable access to the research data CANFAR provides", stated Rob Simmonds, Chief Technology Officer for WestGrid.
The data storage system at the University of Saskatchewan is a $3.2 million investment by the university, the province of Saskatchewan, IBM and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. It is part of an inter-institutional pool of storage and computing facilities managed by Compute Canada/WestGrid.
"Compute Canada and WestGrid are pleased to provide the computing capability and scientific support which enable astronomical researchers to turn data into knowledge and to advance our understanding of the implications of that knowledge for our world and our civilization", stated Susan Baldwin, Executive Director of Compute Canada. "Secure storage of the CANFAR data means discoveries will continue to occur over time."
The data travels from the West Coast to the prairies over multiple advanced networks, including BCNET, CyberaNet, SRnet and the CANARIE Network.
"CANARIE is proud to see CANFAR continue to deliver such value to the research community", stated Jim Roche, President and Chief Executive Officer for CANARIE. "It demonstrates that the CANARIE network and its funding programmes meet a real need in Canada's research community, and together with our partners at BCNET, CyberaNet, SRnet and Compute Canada, supports Canadians who are exploring and making exciting discoveries about the universe."