Tata’s supercomputer, EKA, is making waves in the global IT industry. It was declared the 4th fastest computer in the world and the fastest in Asia at SC07, the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis at Reno, Nevada in the US. Read on to know what makes it so.
EKA, meaning ‘one’ is Sanskrit, is the supercomputer built at the Computational Research Laboratories (CRL) in Pune. The Tata Group’s CRL has developed the EKA as a wholly indigenous high-performance computing solution that will be used for the government’s scientific research and for the Tata Group’s own product research and development.
The EKA made its way to the Top 500 list at the international conference in Reno – the first time an Indian entry has been ranked so high. The EKA is based on the Hewlett Packard Cluster Platform 3000 BL46Oc system. It has a peak performance of 170 teraflops (Trillion floating point operations per second) and uses nearly 1,800 computing nodes. Its sustained performance of 120 teraflops cleared the performance benchmarks laid down by the worldwide community that ranks computers.
The EKA was built using a circular dense data center layout, unlike the typical densely-packed supercomputers, making it the first time a site has used this kind of architecture. It has been designed-based on the CLOS architecture with off-the-shelf servers and Infiniband interconnect technologies with the Linux Operating System. CRL is the first site in the world to use the Dual Data Rate Infiniband with fiber-optic cable technology to achieve high-performance solutions.
Built with the support of Tata Consultancy Service and partners like HP, Intel, and Mellanox at a cost of US$ 30 million in about 20 months, the EKA is considered Tata’s greatest contribution in placing India on the global IT map. The Tata Group retains the patent rights to develop the supercomputer. With this technology, the EKA can be used in the fields of drug discovery, nanotechnology, and automotive engineering.
The other less-talked-about entry from India is another supercomputer from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. This too has found its place at number 58 in the Top 500 list. 7 other supercomputers from India too have found a place in the Top 500.
Despite the brain drain that everyone is talking about, India seems to have made her mark. Does this mean that India is now a major name to reckon with in the world beyond software? Where do you think India will go from here?