India goes for teraflop

India has made its bid to join the teraflop club, the select band of countries around the world that have developed a supercomputer capable of processing over 1 trillion calculations per second.

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By  Andrew Picken Published  April 7, 2003

India has made its bid to join the teraflop club, the select band of countries around the world that have developed a supercomputer capable of processing over 1 trillion calculations per second.

The powerful system is called PARAM Padma or ultimate lotus, and the Indian Minister for Information Technology, Arun Shourie, was last week quoted in a Hindu newspaper as saying: “PARAM Padma is our answer to the world.”

Only the United States, Japan, Israel and China are in possession of supercomputers that are capable of processing more than 1 trillion calculations per second, a unit known as a teraflop. Japan currently leads these 5 computing superpowers with its ‘Earth Simulator’ supercomputer, a system capable of running at over 35 teraflops.

The PARAM Padma was developed in Bangalore by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), a government initiative set up in 1988 with considerable financial backing.

India’s new supercomputer has a storage capacity of 10 terabytes that could be scaled up to 22 terabytes. The application of supercomputers varies from climate research to mapping the spread of a disease, such as the new SARS outbreak, across the world. The supercomputers’ calculating power also have significant military applications.

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