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Accessing Resources

The Alliance is dedicated to providing an Advanced Research Computing (ARC) platform that meets the needs of our diverse user community. In addition to existing support for large-scale research projects, Canada’s national ARC platform is capable of sustaining robust research for mid- and smaller-scale data-intensive projects, in any discipline.

Each year, the Federation allocated an average 80% of its compute and storage resources through the Resource Allocation Competition (RAC) and leaves roughly 20% for non-competitive requests. Users can access these non-competitive resources via our Rapid Access Service. (These percentages may change according to the demand.)

Please consult the Technical Glossary if you have questions about any of the terminology below. General questions can be emailed to

How to access Compute Canada resources

1. Create an account: To access any of our ARC resources, you must first obtain an account.

  • Access to cloud resources, via RAS or RAC, also requires access to a cloud project. For more details on gaining access to a cloud project, see the cloud documentation on our technical wiki.

2. Default access: All users get access to a basic amount of resources upon the activation of their account. This allows users to experiment and start working right away.

  • Storage: see default storage quotas available.
  • Compute: CPU and GPU resources are available for opportunistic use (no priority).

3. Rapid Access Service (RAS): Principal Investigators can request additional storage and cloud resources without having to apply to the Resource Allocation Competition (RAC), but compute priority can only be increased through RAC.

Many research groups can meet their needs through RAS alone. For more information, please visit our Rapid Access Service page.

4. Resource Allocation Competition (RAC): These are peer-reviewed competitions for projects that need resources beyond what is available via RAS. There are two main competitions:

  • Research Platforms and Portals (RPP): Resources for the development of scientific gateways built primarily using Cloud Services. For more details, see the user documentation on our technical wiki. The normal application round opens every fall.
  • Resources for Research Groups (RRG): Intended for individual faculty members from all disciplines, and their sponsored users. The normal application round opens every fall. There is also a Fast Track application process for those that have an active allocation and meet the Fast Track eligibility criteria.