Press Releases

Ontario participates in the fastest, long-distance academic big data transfer in Canada

For Immediate Release

Salt Lake City, November 17, 2016 – Today, ORION joined several leading Canadian and international organizations in successfully testing a next-generation, ultra-fast data transfer at SC16, the world’s largest supercomputing conference.

In partnership with Compute Canada, Compute Ontario, CANARIE and other partners, this demonstration is the fastest, long-distance academic data transfer known in Canada. Data-intensive research in sectors like genomics and personalized medicine, environmental science and advanced manufacturing require stable, dedicated, high bandwidth connections for data exchange, analysis and visualization. This demonstration was a direct end-to-end data transfer over high speed networks.

“Today’s successful next-generation data transfer test is a sign of our technologically advanced times. Not only do we have sophisticated, high-capacity advanced research computing facilities available, but a collaborative environment in which great discovery and learning happens. ORION is proud to partner with leading Canadian organizations to support this demo because we realize that the complex problems of our modern economy cannot be solved alone. We need each other to create a better future. Together, we’re all partners in making Ontario and Canada a global leader in innovation,” says Alfonso Licata, President and CEO, ORION

“The successful large data transfer further proves the strength and capacity of Ontario and Canada’s advanced research computing community. In response to the rapidly changing nature of the modern, competitive marketplace, this test demonstrates the innovative technology that allows researchers to be agile and adaptable. Compute Ontario is dedicated to continually supporting Ontario’s researchers in their pursuit of quality research, bolstered by next-gen digital infrastructure,” says Nizar Ladak, President and CEO, Compute Ontario

For this demonstration, scientific datasets were transported over a dedicated 100Gbps network from Toronto and Montréal to the StarLight International/National Communications Exchange Facility in Chicago and then to the final destination at the SC16 venue in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“Advanced research computing enables us to envision a better, environmentally sustainable future. The collaborative community of climate scientists seeks to better understand the biological, chemical and physical processes that govern the evolution of the planetary environment through the development and use of sophisticated numerical models. Given a future greenhouse gas scenario, the knowledge obtained through this computationally intensive process enables us to project future climate conditions with greater accuracy. Effectively responding to greenhouse warming has become one of the most significant global policy challenges of our time, and robust digital infrastructure enables us to make evidence-based decisions.” says Dr. Richard Peltier, Director of the Centre for Global Change Science (University of Toronto), Principal Investigator, Polar Climate Stability Network, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

“If we want to make inroads against cancer, we must share genomic and molecular data with the scientific community. Due to the complexity of the disease, collaboration is essential. And because of the huge size of the data sets, effective research requires advanced computing and high-capacity infrastructure that can support intensive data transit. The collaboration among biomedical researchers, computer scientists, and software engineers, supported by advanced infrastructure, isn’t just an organizational goal — it is imperative if we are to save lives. It’s that simple,” says Lincoln Stein, Interim Scientific Director, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

The collaboration included Calcul QuébecCANARIECienaCompute CanadaCompute Ontario, ETS, GlobusGTAnetJuniper NetworksMcGill UniversityMellanox TechnologiesNokiaNorthwestern UniversityOntario Institute for Cancer ResearchOpen Commons ConsortiumORIONRISQSAK DataSmartOpticsSeagate TechnologyStarLight International/National Communications Exchange FacilityUniversité Laval, and the University of Toronto.



As Ontario’s backbone of innovation, the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) is one of the largest Research, Education and Innovation (RE&I) networks in the world. ORION connects all of Ontario’s universities, most colleges, several teaching hospitals, public research facilities, and a growing number of Ontario’s school boards to one another and to a global network of RE&I connections. In addition to providing one of the world’s fastest broadband connections, ORION is a research and innovation partner for our users. Through our technology and support, ORION constantly strives to keep Ontario on the leading edge of innovation.


Cathy Bogaart

Director, Marketing and Communications, ORION