History of the MACI Project

In 1990, a study by Canada's Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council concluded that an advanced communication and computation infrastructure was essential to the future health of Canadian research and, indeed, the Canadian economy.

Over the next decade, the infrastructure began to emerge. Provincial and federal governments, educational institutions and industry realized the importance of infrastructure for an information society. A number of collaborative efforts flourished to meet the needs of the expanding knowledge-based economy.

MACI has been at the leading edge of these developments. Initiated in 1997 by a group of researchers at the Universities of Alberta and Calgary, it was among the first advanced computational infrastructure projects  launched in Canada.

The first phase of MACI (MACI-1) established the foundation infrastructure with a $2 million investment in core computational and multimedia resources at the Universities of Alberta and Calgary. These resources became fully operational over the summer of 1998 and provided impressive early results.

The second phase, called MACI-2, was then launched to invest a further $18 million in advanced computing infrastructure. The first portion of funding was confirmed in November 1998, with a $4.36 million award from the Province of Alberta's Intellectual Infrastructure Partnership Program (IIPP). In June 1999, full funding for MAC-2 was in place when the Canada Foundation for Innovation announced $5.8 million for MACI-2.. Investment by participating universities and private industry brought the total project value to $18 million over three years (1999-2002).

Plans are now being made for follow-on funding for further expansion under MACI-3.