How to Access the Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform

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The Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP) is a Canadian research and development consortium that enhances the capabilities of academic and industry researchers through big data and smart computing analytics. Led by a selection of Ontario’s top academic institutions, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), and IBM Canada, SOSCIP provides businesses an unparalleled access to advanced computing technologies and research assistance.

Businesses routinely access SOSCIP to solve big data problems, perform simulations, and construct models. These tasks are often too complex for businesses to solve with internal resources exclusively, so being able to receive research talent and computing equipment is a valuable resource. Ultimately, businesses should propose projects that create new products/services that can be commercialized in Ontario then sold globally.

Related Blog: SOSCIP Receives $20M in Grants – SOSCIP received up to $20 million through Ontario’s Investing in Commercialization Partnerships (ICP) Fund. This funding will help fuel SOSCIPS growth, attract additional investment from IBM Canada, and support new collaborative technology commercialization projects.

Objectives of the SOSCIP Smart Computing Collaboration

The Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP) aims to support businesses, academic institutions, and researchers by:

  • Generating industry-academic collaborations;
  • Providing opportunities to access high performance computing systems;
  • Addressing critical industry challenges; and
  • Helping the commercialization of new products/services that expands into new business opportunities.

Focus Areas: Industries Best Served by the SOSCIP Platform

Businesses should keep in mind that SOSCIP was created to commercialize new products or services. Due to this objective, projects should demonstrate an economic benefit for Ontario while addressing one of the following areas:

  • Digital Media;
  • Advanced manufacturing;
  • Mining;
  • Cybersecurity;
  • Agile Computing;
  • Water;
  • Health;
  • Energy; or
  • Cities.

Advanced Computing Platforms Available Through SOSCIP

Powered by IBM computing and data analytics, the Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform will enable advanced computing abilities through four components:

1. Agile Computing Platform

Agile computing is the use of reconfigurable hardware that can be adapted for unique computing tasks. By arranging systems to only incorporate necessary components, significant performance benefits can be achieved while also limiting the amount of computing power that is required. This provides an incredible advantage over CPU-only computing systems that cannot be reconfigured in the same way.

2. Blue Gene/Q Platform

IBM’s Blue Gene/Q is Canada’s fastest supercomputer and is well adapted for large-scale projects requiring a high volume of parallel processing power. Modelling and forecasting projects are especially targeted because of the system’s ability to compute large amounts of data at an incredibly accelerated pace.

3. Cloud Analytics Platform

As the first research-dedicated cloud environment in Canada, SOSCIP’s Cloud Analytics Platform provides access to a broad array of software and other tools that rapidly accelerate the pace of research and development. Users can combine personalized and open-source software to effectively analyze large or complex data sets.

4. Large Memory System Platform

SOSCIP’s Large Memory System (LMS) is a symmetric multiprocessor that virtually aggregates three IBM x86 servers into a single, more powerful system. The 64-core system provides up to 4.5 terabytes (TB) of RAM for optimal computing of data-intensive projects.

Consortium Research Institutions – Find an Academic Researcher

The Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform embraces a working relationship between academic and industry researchers in a collaborative environment. Therefore, businesses may hire a graduate student or PhD fellow to assist with their SOSCIP research project. Researchers are available from all of SOSCIP’s member institutions, including:

  • Carleton University;
  • Laurier University;
  • McMaster University;
  • OCAD University;
  • The University of Ontario Institute of Technology;
  • The University of Ottawa;
  • Queen’s University;
  • Ryerson University;
  • Seneca College;
  • The University of Toronto;
  • The University of Waterloo;
  • University of Windsor;
  • Western University; and
  • York University.

Canadian Government Grants to Hire an Academic Researcher

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)

Ontario Centres of Excellence works directly with academia and industry to develop novel ideas into innovative products and services. They are attentive to industry issues, then formulate a solution with accurate research from top universities across Ontario.

OCE’s R&D Project Hiring Grants program promotes industry-academic partnerships by connecting businesses to interns or post-doctoral fellows to complete research. Internships (up to 4 months) may be provided up to 50% of an intern’s wages to a maximum $10,000, while fellowships (up to 1 year) may be provided up to 50% of a fellow’s wages to a maximum $35,000.

Mitacs

Mitacs strives to solve critical industry problems through innovative research and development partnerships. Through their Mitacs Elevate program, industry applicants may receive up to $25,000 per year for up to 2 years to hire a post-doctoral fellow researcher.

Mitacs also administers another program, Accelerate, which maintains a shorter-term research term. Industry partners may hire a Masters or PhD student for up to four months and receive up to 50% of the researcher’s salary to a maximum $7,500. Businesses may request to continue using the graduate student for up to two terms per year.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Through their NSERC Engage program, this Canadian government funding body helps businesses complete short-term research and development projects through connections to university researchers. Businesses may hire researchers for up to 6 months; NSERC will provide up to $25,000 per researcher required with no limit on the amount of research grants that can be held.

Likewise, NSERC Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) grants provide small business funding for the hiring of academic researchers. CRD-eligible projects often follow an NSERC Engage project and focus on long-term projects that span between 1 and 5 years in length. Projects may be awarded up to $150,000 per year to pay for a team of academic researchers.

Related Blog: How to Qualify for NSERC Engage Academic – Business Research Grants – Discover if your business is qualified to receive up to $25,000 in research grants. Collaborate with a post-secondary research institution and solve technical challenges impairing your organization’s growth.

How to Apply for a SOSCIP Smart Computing Collaboration

To get started with the Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP), businesses will need to enter a Project Collaboration Agreement (PCA) and pay a one-time platform access fee of $5,000 + HST. Graduate and PhD researchers are not included in this fee. Businesses should seek Canadian government funding programs to offset the costs of hiring academic researchers.

Potential industry partners will need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form to SOSCIP in order to initiate their program entry. EOIs require businesses to state how they will use the SOCIP platform, in addition to stating how their results may address industry issues.

To receive government funding to offset the costs of SOSCIP research, businesses should start by developing a project budget that outlines their project’s expenses over the next 1-3 years. Using the Project Expense Planning & Funding Calculator, businesses can discover Canadian business grants to reduce the costs of researchers, materials, equipment, and other costs associated with conducting R&D.

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