GPU Hackathons provide exciting opportunities for scientists to accelerate their AI research or HPC codes under the guidance of expert mentors from National Labs, Universities and Industry leaders in a collaborative environment. The SFU GPU Hackathon is a multi-day event designed to help teams of three to six developers accelerate their own codes on GPUs using a programming model, or machine learning framework of their choice. Each team is assigned mentors for the duration of the event. 

This event is open to all students and is an opportunity to explore SFU’s Supercomputer Cedar infrastructure. Learn how SFU’s world leading experts can help guide you on your big data journey and harness Cedar for your own research breakthroughs.

Supercomputer Cedar is Canada’s greenest supercomputer for its power efficiency and is in the top 100 in the world for the most powerful GPUs. Cedar is one of five national systems Compute Canada has deployed as part of one of the biggest advanced research computing renewals in Canada’s history.

Simon Fraser University is Canada’s top comprehensive university according to Maclean’s Magazine’s 2021 university rankings. This distinction reflects SFU’s commitment to innovative education, world class research, and deep engagement with our communities, locally and internationally. As Canada’s engaged university, SFU invites international collaboration to address global problems using advances in big data and AI to create innovative and equitable solutions.


  • Teams are expected to be fluent with the code or project they bring to the event and motivated to make progress during the hackathon. 
  • No advanced GPU skills required, but teams are expected to know the basics of GPU programming and profiling at the event. A collection of GPU lectures, tutorials, and labs are available for all participants at no fee. Please contact organizers for more information to help you prepare for the hackathon. 

Event Format

SFU GPU Hackathon will be hosted online with all times Eastern Standard Time. Each team will be assigned to a virtual breakout room to work with mentors on their codes and will present reports (SCRUMS) on their progress to all participants in the main virtual meeting space daily. 

Attending the Hackathon

If your team is accepted for the hackathon, registration information will be provided along with mentor introductions and computational resource access. Accepted teams should:

  • Register all team members for the event.
  • Review the attendee guide

To get a better idea of what the virtual GPU Hackathon will be like, check out this blog post on the first virtual hackathon in the series hosted by San Diego Supercomputer Center. 

Compute Resources

Participants will have access to Simon Fraser University's Supercomputer Cedar which is one of the most powerful academic supercomputers in Canada. Cedar provides the scale and capacity that is paving the way for new research breakthroughs.

Cedar provides the computing power Canadian researchers need to achieve transformational innovations that directly benefit Canadians. Just some of these include personalized medicine for better patient care, green technologies to help fight climate change and artificial intelligence research that will contribute to the Canadian economy. 

Cedar is one of five national systems Compute Canada has deployed as part of one of the biggest advanced research computing renewals in Canada’s history. 

Event Focus

Important Event Dates

  • SFU GPU Hackathon Application Deadline
  • SFU GPU Hackathon Day 1
  • SFU GPU Hackathon Day 2
  • SFU GPU Hackathon Day 3
  • SFU GPU Hackathon Day 4