New computer research project could make Kingston the world leader

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KINGSTON – A new downtown computing research project promises to make Kingston a world leader in the development of new computing resources.

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Funded by a $ 3.1 million grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and $ 750,000 from start-up Kings Distributed Systems, the four-year program aims to increase ‘peak’ computing power .

Unlike centralized data centers and cloud computing systems, edge computing is designed to operate computers that are idle much of the day.

“Right now there’s just this insatiable demand on planet Earth for computing resources, that’s kind of why I’m saying it’s the oil of the future,” said Douglas Stewart, director of special projects for Kings. Distributed Systems. “It is extremely valuable and there is an insatiable demand for it.”

There are thousands of computers in universities, hospitals and offices that are not used overnight and could provide much needed computing resources.

Like many businesses during the pandemic, most of Kings Distributed Systems’ employees have worked from home in recent months, and as IT experts have adapted well to online and virtual communications, Stewart said the new office of the research project in Lasalle Mews will be a key to its success.

“It’s important to have a fair office so that we can coordinate things,” said Stewart.

“We are very excited about what is being built here in Kingston,” said company CEO Dan Desjardins.

It has been estimated that less than 40 percent of accredited and approved researchers receive the computing resources they request, and while they are extensive, data centers and cloud computing systems are expensive and cannot meet the demands of Requirement.

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Edge computing could help meet this unmet need.

The newly renovated Kings Distributed Systems office will be central to a leading edge computing research project in Kingston. (Elliot Ferguson / The Whig-Standard) Photo by Elliot Ferguson /Elliot Ferguson / Whig-Standard

“We’re not just the only one in Canada doing this, we’re the only one in the world with this type of lead in space,” said Stewart.

Over the summer, the company received a $ 2.2 million grant for the Digital Technology Supercluster to create a platform that would use predictive modeling to analyze and determine COVID-19 pandemic policies. which are the most effective.

“Our vision is nothing less that our distributed computing protocol is the global standard for distributed and edge computing,” said Stewart, adding that this project will raise Kingston’s profile as a technology hub and help to attract the best talent. “As it becomes more and more ubiquitous, it will become a global standard and we will be at the center of it. “

The project, named Democratizing Edge Computing, is expected to involve around 50 people, including 21 students from Queen’s University School of Computing.

“The average business or the average person does not have the same access to advanced IT services,” said Hossam Hassanein, director of the Queen’s University School of Computing and principal investigator of the project. “This project, using the power of edge devices, allows us the average person to access these services.”

“We are delighted to undertake this cutting-edge project and proud to be able to offer our students and researchers new knowledge and training in this important area,” added Hassanein. “It is also gratifying as a researcher to see the direct commercial application of our discoveries in pure science. “

Dan Desjardins, KC Erb and Douglas Stewart of Kings Distributed Systems present a donation of $ 740,000 to Hossam Hassanein and Sameh Sorour of Queen's University School of Computing at the launch of a technology research program in Kingston.  (Elliot Ferguson / The Whig-Standard)
Dan Desjardins, KC Erb and Douglas Stewart of Kings Distributed Systems present a donation of $ 740,000 to Hossam Hassanein and Sameh Sorour of Queen’s University School of Computing at the launch of a technology research program in Kingston. (Elliot Ferguson / The Whig-Standard) Photo by Elliot Ferguson /Elliot Ferguson / Whig-Standard
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