Generous donation supports UWinnipeg computer revolution

Dr. Ezzat Ibrahim, ©UWinnipeg

Dr. Ezzat Ibrahim, ©UWinnipeg.

Today, UWinnipeg officially opened the Dr. Ezzat A. Ibrahim GPU Educational Lab, a new cutting-edge research space for applied parallel computing. This new lab is led by the dynamic duo of Dr. Christopher Henry (Applied Computer Science) and Dr. Christopher Bidinosti (Physics), who received a generous donation of $50,000 from Dr. Ezzat A. Ibrahim to help purchase the initial equipment for the learning lab. 

Computer gamers — with their constant desire for more realistic animation — spurred the development of high-end graphics processing units (GPUs) that ultimately evolved into massively parallel processors for general computation. A single GPU has thousands of computing cores — perfect for parallel processing, a technique where the same calculation is performed at the same time but on different data.

“This lab will provide space for our faculty and students to explore the edges of what is possible in high performance computing,” said UWinnipeg President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Annette Trimbee. “Our students will define the future and will have an impact beyond what we can imagine today. We are grateful to Dr. Ibrahim for his donation.”

The Dr. Ezzat A. Ibrahim GPU Educational Lab will be on the forefront of a technological revolution that is now poised to become the computational engine driving future innovation from machine learning to precision agriculture. Offloading parallel computations to GPUs allows for significant reductions in application runtimes, paving the way to tackle problems that were previously too complex. The advent of GPU computing is one of the most important advances in scientific and high performance computing.

“This lab will be a great asset in research and collaboration that will transcend disciplines,” says Ibrahim. “It will identify and develop novel solutions for challenging problems, and has the potential to improve the world around us. As a researcher, I recognize the value and potential of this lab that will be utilized by academics, students, industry and all levels of government for future progress.”

The lab was recently showcased last week at the University’s Networking Conference for Industry, Academic and GovernmentThis one-day conference and networking opportunity was the first of its kind in Manitoba. It brought industry, government, academics and students together to discuss how high power computers. This computer revolution can support Manitoba’s present and future in many research and industry sectors. This event helped identify  academic-industrial partnerships that can help local industry use this technolgy to help stream-line their products and operations.

“Dr. Ibrahim’s enthusiasm for this project is outstanding and on behalf of the Foundation Board of Directors, I am grateful for his generosity,” said Brian Daly, President and CEO, The University of Winnipeg Foundation. “The best part of my job is connecting people to University projects that parallel their philanthropic interests.”

About the donor

Dr. Ezzat A. Ibrahim is a retired professor, research scientist, nutritionist, entrepreneur and respected community leader. Throughout his life, he has championed social justice, is an ardent advocate for human rights, and contributes to his community.

Ibrahim arrived in Winnipeg from Egypt in 1966 to complete his PhD at the Department of Animal Science, University of Manitoba. During his studies, he utilized a computer to analyze his research data — the first in his department to use the new technology. As an early adopter himself, Ibrahim is drawn to the research possibilities of the UWinnipeg GPU computer Lab.

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