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Sharcnet (Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network) was established June 2001 as a joint initiative between McMaster University, The University of Western Ontario, and the University of Guelph and was funded upon grant applications to the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Ontario Innovation Trust (OIT) and the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund (ORDCF). It is a consortium of Canadian academic institutions sharing a network of high performance computers (HPC) towards the goal of accelerating computational academic research. SHARCNET's aim is to attract the brightest in the field to SHARCNET's partner institutions by providing expertise in hardware and to link academic researchers to corporate partners looking for new business opportunities. SHARCNET aims to directly target researchers with large problems that could not otherwise be contemplated outside of the use of HPC.

The original seven institutions of SHARCNET consortium included McMaster University, The University of Western Ontario, University of Guelph, University of Windsor, Wilfrid Laurier University, Fanshawe College and Sheridan College.

Mission & Vision

The mission of SHARCNET is "To promote and facilitate the use of high performance computational techniques among researchers in all fields and to train a new generation of computationally-skilled individuals.” Their vision is "To become a world-leading high performance computing consortium promoting forefront research and innovation.”

History & Expansion

Formally established in June, 2001, SHARCNET is the culmination of the vision of several faculty from McMaster University, The University of Western Ontario, and the University of Guelph.

In 2003, SHARCNET expanded to include:

University of Waterloo, Brock University, York University and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

In 2005, SHARCNET expanded to include:

Trent University, Laurentian University and Lakehead University.

In 2006, SHARCNET expanded to include:

Perimeter Institute and the Ontario College of Art & Design

In 2008, SHARCNET expanded to include:

Nipissing University

Today SHARCNET consists of 17 academic partners (14 universities, 2 colleges and a research institute). With Sharcnet’s expansion, all but one of Ontario's 21 universities now belong to the HPC consortium.


HPC (High Performance Computing) is the use of high-end computing resources to help solve highly complex problems that can’t be solved using today's best desktop systems. The high-performance computing network is linked by fibre optics, allowing across the board access to very powerful computers. This provides researchers the ability to accelerate their research in a cost-effective manner. SHARCNET partner institutions house the computer clusters and run the network.

Compute Canada

SHARCNET is one of seven Compute Canada HPC organizations. Compute Canada spearheads the creation of the HPC consortium through the integration of High Performance Computing (HPC) resources at the seven partner organizations across the Canada to create the network resource, including academic centres, high-performance computers, resources for data. Through this partnership, Compute Canada works alongside the university-based consortium to operate and maintain the network.


Compute Canada Susan Baldwin Executive Director 1200 Montreal Road Building M-50 IPF 226B Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R6

Phone: 613-488-3788 or 613-294-1223 (cell) Fax: 613-594-3947 Email:

Sharcnet Home Office Western Science Centre The University of Western Ontario London, Ontario, N6A 5B7 Phone: (519) 661-4000 Fax: (519) 850-2500 E-mail:

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