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Tatas build fastest supercomp in Asia

The supercomputer called EKA has been adjudged the fastest in Asia and fourth fastest in the world, reports Venkatesh Ganesh.

india Updated: Nov 14, 2007 03:17 IST
Venkatesh Ganesh

Weather forecasting, detecting tsunami, seismic analysis or even advanced financial modelling for the stock markets can now be performed by an Indian company.

Computational Research Laboratory (CRL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons has built the fastest supercomputer in Asia (according to top 500.org, an industry body that ranks performance of supercomputers globally) in Pune. Christened EKA, derived from the word one in Sanskrit, the computer, which can also be used in the areas of Neural and molecular simulation and computational fluid dynamics, was built at a cost of $30 million.

<b1>Talking about the supercomputing initiative S Ramadorai, chairman of CRL said, "We will tap the supercomputer market, which is about $31 billion." The idea for this supercomputer germinated two years back when Ratan Tata in a meeting with S Ramadorai, the CEO of TCS talked about the need to make a major contribution to India's scientific and technological initiatives.

As a result, the blueprint for a supercomputer that could be built or assembled out of India, which could match up with global supercomputer makers like IBM and Cray was made.

In February 2006, Computational Research Lab was born and Ramadorai headed the project with 20 other PhDs and scientists. CRL partnered with Hewlett Packard and Intel for building this supercomputer.

Eka has the capacity to perform 1,000 times faster than a home PC and can perform trillions of calculations per second.

While the company has not yet firmed up business models, officials say that a supercomputer can be custom-built or can be rented out to whoever needs it.

Supercomputers are not new to India. Computer for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) came out with India's first supercomputer called 'Param' in the 90s. Following Param, Kabru another supercomputer was built by Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), Chennai.

A few weeks back, software major Wipro made a foray into supercomputers by partnering with US-based Z Research.