Volume 93, Issue 93

Fridday, March 24, 2000


Compaq Centre targets brain-drain

No more lazy days of summer

Cancer centre hires 11 new radiation therapists

Eastern university caps tuition

Chatting with a hockey legend

Smokers get a breather

Crib notes for the desperate


Bass Ackwards

Caught on campus

Compaq Centre targets brain-drain

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

Computer giant Compaq Canada left a huge footprint on campus yesterday when it officially opened a $1.6 million research centre with supercomputer capability.

The unveiling of the Compaq Centre for Computational Research at the Western Science Centre marked the start of a five year partnership between Compaq Canada and Western, said Peter Ciceri, president and managing director of Compaq Canada.

Western president Paul Davenport said the new resource would help attract students interested in the high-tech field. "We can fight the brain–drain by providing better opportunities," he said, adding top-notch researchers from across the country and overseas would also see Western as a better option in light of the new technology.

"This is going to put Western on the cutting edge of super-computing in Ontario, the best in the country and among the top five in North America," he said. "We've said for some years at Western that to be a great university, we will need help from our friends."

He said while Western's traditional reliance on alumni was essential, forging new alliances with private industries was also key. "This is a wonderful example of what that partnership can do," he said.

Peter Ciceri, president of Compaq Canada, said the company had a two-fold interest in the new centre. Creating skilled future employees was a high priority, as well as advancing Canada's technology sector, he said. "We need to grow if [Canada] is going to be a competitor. We want to play a real role in that."

Dianne Cunningham, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, also on hand to celebrate the opening of the centre, said she was glad to see the new alliance was being sown on Canadian soil and agreed stemming the brain-drain was a top priority.

"These are the partnerships that are driving the post-secondary sector in the [European Union]," she explained.

Cunningham added she was glad to see the new centre would cross a number of disciplines, including math, computer sciences and engineering.

"This is the beginning of even bigger things," said Bill Bridger, Western's VP-research, who agreed the new system would benefit researchers by giving them state-of-the-art resources.

Peter Poole, an applied mathematics professor at Western who helped spawn the initiative for the new centre two years ago, explained the new system would enable researchers to drastically reduce the time usually required to solve a problem.

"We'll be able to compress years of research into weeks or even days," he said. "[The new centre] is a clear example of a positive, symbiotic relationship. This can work – this proves it."

Poole said the next step would be to forge a consortium of super-computer capable schools in Ontario, further increasing Canada's international technology profile.

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