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March 17, 1999


National Param Supercomputing Facility ready

Email this story to a friend. The Pune based Centre for Development of Advanced Computing will dedicate to the nation tomorrow the National Param Supercomputing Facility and the National Multimedia Resource Centre as it has moved into its third mission.

The second mission of CDAC culminated in the design and development of 100 giga FLOPS parallel processing supercomputer, dubbed Param 10000.

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Param 10000 is based on workstation processing elements and incorporates the Enterprise 450 node of Sun Microsystems as its basic processing element.

The NPSF houses the open-frame architecture Param 10000 machine that has a number of user terminals with open environment.

Through this facility, users could come and interact with scientists for work on their various areas of applications and could use the machine.

Significantly, users like research and academic institutions could access the supercomputing facility from their remote sites.

They could also develop their parallel applications, using this facility in their own areas of interest such as computational fluid dynamics, finite element modelling, genetic algorithms, seismic data processing and molecular dynamics.

The other reason to establish the NPSF is to make available to users the research facility that requires high-end machine of this kind. Such facilities are not commonly available to most research groups that cannot afford it at their own premises.

As part of this initiative, the CDAC is building collaborative programmes with key academic institutions in the country.

The collaboration will involve using a smaller configuration of Param 10000 on the institution's own premises for developing parallel applications. These applications could then be scaled up on Param 10000 at NPSF.

CDAC has also developed Param 10000/p. This is based on off-the-shelf, low-cost Intel Pentium processor based machines, providing identical environment and features available with UltraSparc based Param 10000.

The Param 10000/p, which is under trial, supports a cluster of microprocessors on a high-bandwidth 'system area network' and has a wide range of applications.

Param 10000/p that could ultimately be integrated into the NPSF, will be shown to the public tomorrow when CDAC celebrates its twelfth foundation day.

The NPSF would be dedicated to the nation tomorrow by Department of Electronics Secretary Ravindra Gupta in the presence of senior scientist Professor C N R Rao, CDAC Executive Director R K Arora told reports in Pune today.

Gupta will also inaugurate the National Multimedia Resource Centre at the Agricultural College campus, Arora said.

The centre has been set up to propagate multimedia among masses, he said, adding that new applications are being identified that are suitable in the Indian context.

New libraries of multimedia components and enabling tools are also being developed in this effort. A repository of prefabricated multimedia components would be developed and hosted on Internet for open access, he promised.

Low cost multimedia solutions, Arora said, would be spread across by deferring various multimedia and computer art training programmes for people, students and professionals from different fields.

Arora said the centre would also offer consultancy for multimedia CD title authoring, Web page designing and computer animation.

CDAC, he said, is also working on setting up a repository server in the Centre on which clip arts, ready-to-use multimedia components and authoring templates that could help users build multimedia titles quickly would be provided.

Commenting on CDAC's third mission, Arora said the Centre proposes to maintain and further build capability that could help absorb state-of-the-art technology, address vulnerability to export control and technology denials.

CDAC would also address requirement in key economic sectors and mission-critical applications and supplement the country's efforts towards establishing high-performance computing and communications technology.

In the third mission, CDAC would develop a high-performance parallel processing supercomputer technology based on commodity PC elements such as the emerging Intel chips and other advanced processors.

The focus of the mission, the executive director said, would be to ''build technology to build supercomputers'' for any institution or industry so as to enable assembly of their own supercomputers depending on their needs.

"We will provide the know-how of the technology for use by academic institutions, industries or any other users," he said.

Replying to a question, Arora said the third mission, which began from January, has a total outlay of Rs 495 million. This includes a government funding of Rs 395 million. The rest would be put up by CDAC itself.

The mission would last for three-and-half years and ''We expect to complete the mission by June, 2003'', he said.

CDAC did a business of Rs 250 million during 1997-98 and hopes to increase the figure by 50-60 per cent during 1998-99, he said.

CDAC has been operating from leased premises located at five places in Pune, apart from their offices in Bangalore, Delhi and now in Hyderabad, Arora said. Now the Centre has decided to build its own facility at Pashan in Pune.


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