Friday, April 27, 2012

India’s fastest supercomputer set to land in Bangalore soon

Bangalore: India’s fastest supercomputer will be soon housed in Bangalore. Sources with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and CSIR Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation (CSIR C-MMACS) confirmed to Express on the eve of National Science Day that, the yet-to-be-named high performance computing (HPC) system will be used for genome informatics (gene sequencing), geo-science informatics (earth, ocean and atmosphere) and engineering sciences (aerodynamics of planes, development of smart materials and computer-aided drug design).
The supercomputer, when operational, is expected to deliver a sustained performance in excess of 250 teraflops (T-Flops). “The system would be capable of performing 250 x 1012 Floating Point Operations (FLOPS) per second – more than 10,000 times faster than a normal computer with dual core processor. The complex problems generally associated with advanced scientific research would all now get a huge boost with the arrival of the supercomputer,” says Prof P Seshu, Head, C-MMACS.
As per the Top-500 list of supercomputers in the world published in November 2011, the biggest system in India is Eka presently with Tata Computational Research Laboratory, Pune. This system installed in 2007 is roughly around 133 T-Flops of sustained performance.
Supercomputers in scientific research can be utilised for modelling earthquakes, ocean currents, quantum chemistry and Astrophysics.  In the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-’17), the central government has decided to pump in funds to tune of Rs 6,000 crore to propel India into the elite supercomputing club.
“CSIR-CMMACS presently has 24 T-Flops system, which is listed among the top in the country. Over the next few years, CSIR plans to upgrade their supercomputing capacity to 10 petaflops (10 x 1015 ),” says R P Thangavelu, Coordinator, HPC Group, C-MMACS. A state-of-the-art data centre is being planned at the CMMACS facility in Belur, near Old Bangalore Airport.
A visualisation hyperwall is also being established to facilitate compute and data intensive scientific research. “Present high-fidelity computer simulations as well as the vast array of sensors spew out huge data (terabytes to petabytes). Thus, efficient data analytics and visualisation tools immensely aid the researcher to infer knowledge from data,” says Prof Seshu.
Prof Samir K Brahmachari, Director-General CSIR told Express that such a facility would play a crucial role in empowering data intensive scientific discovery in the fourth paradigm of science. “Today all the 40 CSIR labs in India are interconnected using the National Knowledge Network (NKN) which enables all the scientists to access the supercomputing facility remotely. The new system would enhance the capabilities in areas such as genome analysis, weather modelling, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and the like,” Prof Bramachari said

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Agni-V successfully test-fired

India's indigenously developed nuclear capable Agni V ballistic missile takes off from Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast on Thursday. Photo: DRDO

 India demonstrated its Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capability on Thursday by successfully launching its most powerful and longest range missile, Agni-V, from the Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast.

The 17-metre-long surface-to-surface ballistic missile lifted off majestically from a rail mobile launcher at 8.04 a.m. After a flight time of 20 minutes, the missile re-entry vehicle impacted the pre-designated target point more than 5,000 kms away in the Indian Ocean with a high degree of accuracy.
V. K. Sarawat, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister told  immediately after the success of the mission, “With this missile launch, India has emerged as a major missile power. We have joined a select group of countries possessing technology to design, develop, build and manufacture long range missiles of this class and technological complexity.”
It was a flawless flight and the three stages jettisoned on time. The third stage fired the re-entry vehicle into the atmosphere at perfect angle at an altitude of 100 kms. The pay load withstood the searing temperatures of around 3000 degree Celsius.
This is the first time India has test fired a three-stage, all solid-fuelled missile. Many new technologies including the state of art navigation system and carbon composite rocket motor casings were tested in the missile. All the radar telemetry and electro optical stations along the coast besides three ships tracked the flight trajectory of the missile and final terminal event at the impact point.
The fireball that erupted when the dummy payload hit the waters of the Indian Ocean was recorded by the cameras on board the ships stationed around the impact point. The missile weighed 50 tonnes and is capable of carrying a nuclear war head weighing 1.1 tonne. However, in this mission, a dummy payload simulating the weight of war head was carried.
Defence Minister A. K. Antony congratulated all the scientists in the mission for the great achievement. Avinash Chander Chief Controller (Missiles and Strategic Systems), DRDO called it a major achievement and said no other missile in India has achieved more than 5,000 km range. V.G. Sekaran, Director, Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), which designed and developed Agni-V, described it an overwhelming success.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Dr. Saraswat and Mr. Avinash Chander, and congratulated all the DRDO scientists and other employees involved in the mission. “You made the nation proud,” Dr. Singh told Dr. Saraswat.