On this page we detail some of the free computing resources students can access. If you have any questions, or suggestions for additional services to list, email us here.
GitHub Student Developer Pack | Free
While not a cloud computing resource itself, the GitHub Student Developer Pack offers students access to a number of cloud computing resources, including DigitalOcean, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure.
Google Colab | Free Python Notebooks with GPUs
Google Colab allows students to run Python notebooks in the cloud for free, including with GPU resources. Some usage restrictions apply, including a 12-hour time limit on computations. Most Python packages are supported.
Google Cloud Platform | $300 credit for 90 days
Google Cloud Platform offers access to a number of cloud computing tools, including full virtual machines. GPU usage is restricted in the free tier, but the amount of credit offered will enable students to host a virtual machine for the entire 90 day trial period without issue.
Microsoft Azure | $100 credit plus extras
Microsoft Azure offers students $100 in credit on their platform with few restrictions. An additional $200 credit, which is time limited to 30 days, is also available here. GPU resources can be accessed using these credits.
Amazon Web Services | $100 credit
AWS offers students $100 to use on their platform (with many resource restrictions) when they sign up for the education program.
DigitalOcean | $50 credit
While DigitalOcean does not offer GPU resources, they do offer an unrestricted $50 credit through the GitHub Developer Pack.
Compute Canada and regional partner organizations
Compute Canada, in partnership with regional organizations ACENET, Calcul Québec, Compute Ontario and WestGrid, leads the acceleration of research and innovation by deploying state-of-the-art advanced research computing (ARC) systems, storage and software solutions.
Each research group, comprised of academic PIs and their sponsored users (Graduate Students, Non-Research Staff, Postdoctoral Fellows, Research Assistants, Researchers, Undergraduate Students, Visiting Faculty, and External Collaborators), is eligible to obtain a default allocation on any Compute Canada system.
Default allocations provide researchers with a sandbox for experimenting or an easy gateway for using ARC to support their research. For users who require resources in excess of the default amount, allocations are granted annually through the Resource Allocation Competition (RAC), a national competitive process. These resources are provided at no cost to academic researchers or to those collaborating with academic researchers. The infrastructure is primarily intended to be used for research and training purposes and not for education and teaching purposes. Account can be created here.
Within Ontario, Compute Ontario’s consortia (Centre for Advanced Computing , HPC4Health, SciNet, SHARCNET), which are all affiliated with Compute Canada, have state-of-the-art high performance computing facilities featuring advanced systems and have the capacity to provide researchers with the range of computing support they need.
The Ontario Health Data Platform (OHDP)
The Ontario Health Data Platform (OHDP) COVID-19 is a federated high-performance computing environment for secure, accurate, and privacy-protective linkage of large health data sets that are currently held across various organizations to allow for big data analytics, including machine learning, that will strengthen evidence for Ontario's ongoing response to COVID-19 and its related impacts.
OHDP offers High-performance computing to support big data analysis and machine-learning related to COVID-19, and expedited access to computing resources and data, including clinical and administrative data, with costs covered in full by the Ontario government, if certain requirements are fulfilled. Researchers can apply for access to OHDP here.
Smart Computing for Innovation (SOSCIP)
SOSCIP is a collaborative consortium that works with its member institutions (including Ontario’s research-intensive post-secondary institutions) and industry partners to drive the uptake of transformative technologies across all sectors in Ontario. SOSCIP supports collaborative R&D from a wide array of disciplines by providing access to advanced computing resources uniquely positioned to support academic-industry projects that address industry challenges and opportunities. As a member of the SOSCIP Consortium, University of Toronto-affiliated researchers are able to apply for access to SOSCIP’s computing infrastructure for R&D projects involving Southern Ontario-based industry partners.
SOSCIP can support projects that are already underway or can explore how to best work with projects that are in development. SOSCIP accepts applications for projects funded from any source (provincial or federal grants, foundations, fully industry-funded) and has a streamlined application process for Mitacs-funded projects. There is a small flat-rate project access fee (ranges from $1,250-$5,000 for 6-24 month projects) that is an eligible expense for most government funding programs and includes access to any platform(s) and any resource allocation that is approved by the SOSCIP technical team and Scientific Advisory Committee, as well as hands-on technical support.