Dated March 26, 2006
The Indian Express
Supercomputer being developed at
Pune, Bangalore will be ready in 6 months.
The supercomputing people are at it
again. Having pioneered the supercomputing movement
in the 90's and giving India her first indigenous
supercomputer in 1991 (PARAM 8000), the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing
is now busy developing the next generation supercomputer
with a peak computing power of five teraflops
capability to process five trillion floating points
operations per second.
Just so we know its scale operation,
India's fastest indigenous supercomputer PARAM
PADMA housed at C-DAC's Tera Scale Supercomputing
in Bangalore, has a peak computing power of one teraflop.
The new supercomputer is
being developed mainly at C-DAC's Pune and Bangalore
centres by our supercomputing group, says
S.C. Purohit, C-DAC Director. It should
be ready within the next six months.
architecture, testing as well as benchmarking parameters
of the new system is being developed in Pune while the
system software is being developed at our Bangalore
centre, Purohit said. C-DAC's other
centres are also contributing their expertise.
The new supercomputer hopes to silence C-DAC's
critics, who have long held that the exorbitant cost
of PADMA was why C-DAC couldn't find buyers for it.The new
system will be of the same cost as PADMA and yet have
much higher computing power, Purohit explained.
The cost factor has already been addressed
as PADMA was made using technology available four years ago.
In the current scenario, the cost benefits vis-a-vis
the cutting edge technology being used will be much
more, he added.
India was pushed into supercomputing in the late 80s
when the United States refused to supply the Cray supercomputer
to the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, for studies in weather forecasting.
C-DAC then took the lead in developing India's
first supercomputer, PARAM 8000, by 1991. Within the
decade, C-DAC went on to develop indigenous supercomputers
namely, PARAM 8000-600, PARAM 9000, PARAM open frame, PARAM 10000 and finally PARAM-PADMA in 2003.
Other's also joined in with supercomputers like
NAL's Flosolver (National
Aerospace Laboratory), Anupam (Bhabha
Atomic Research Centre), PACE (Advanced Numerical
Research Group) and CHIPPS (from the Centre
for Development of Telematics CDOT, Bangalore).
Of late, several national scientific institutes are
buying their supercomputing platforms from vendors,
instead of using C-DAC's PADMA. There are four
supercomputers in India, including one at the Institute
of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi,
which finds a place among the top
500 supercomputers of the world, but none of them
have been made indigenously.
Technologically, C-DAC's new system will also
be superior to PADMA as faster switches and new processors
are being used. This in turn will ensure faster inter-processor
communication and better efficiency.
According to analysts, the architecture of PADMA lead
to an average efficiency of 44 per cent. With the new
supercomputer, C-DAC will seek to put its name in the
top 500 list of computers as PADMA was displaced from
it by other powerful machines. PADMA's high-point
was in 2003, when it was ranked 171 in a list of the
world's most powerful supercomputers by Top 500,
a respected rating agency for the high-end computing
C-DAC';S NEW BABY
With five teraflop of computing power, C-DAC's
new supercomputer will address the need for a cheap
yet powerful high-end computing platform for Indian
scientists. The new machine will find use in areas like:
- Disaster Management
- Space Applications
By: Rituparna Bhuyan