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Posted: July 25, 2008
Eka to reach out with tech applications
(Nanowerk News) From nanotechnology to weather modeling, drug design to aerospace — Eka, the super computer built by Computational Research Laboratories (CRL), a subsidiary of Tata Sons, is set to cater to global customers.
After achieving the status of fastest supercomputer in Asia and the eighth fastest in the world, Eka is going for a paradigm shift. “Having achieved the milestone of building one of the world’s fastest supercomputers, CRL is now working to create meaningful applications that can solve future challenges in the areas of engineering, nanotechnology and drug design,” said S Ramadorai, chairman, CRL.
The performance of Eka was recently upgraded to 132.8 Teraflops (TP) from 117.9 TP through software enhancements and is already used in various application domains that CRL is working on. Even when Ramadorai said that as of now the focus would be on research and proving its capability, he did not rule out the commercial implications of Eka. “It will be used for both technical and commercial purposes,’’ he said.
The various application domains that scientist and engineers in CRL are currently working on include computational fluid dynamics for aerospace and automotive engineering, weather modeling, nanotechnology and drug design. The company is already in talks with various players in these sectors. “We now have the strength of 80 experts and it will be soon raised to 200,’’ Ramadorai added.
“Using Eka in nanotechnology, we have already simulated the behaviour of gold nanoparticles. CRL will develop simulation packages, which can simulate the properties of any nanostructure given its chemical composition, molecular structure and shape. In the domain of drug design on Eka, CRL is in the process of designing a drug in silico for an ailment that is fairly common among the aged,’’ said Dr Rajendra Lagu of CRL.
The process of drug design in silico involves simulating the effect of the drug before it is tested on animals and humans. Virtual simulation application on Eka using computational fluid dynamics can help address the limitation of testing environment in understanding the impact of design on the aerodynamic abilities of aeroplanes and automobiles.
If the Eka is being readied for the simulation of entire aircraft, in automotive it will be creating virtual crash simulations that map out the impact on car bodies during a car crash. ‘‘We have already carried out detailed simulation for sedan cars and Formula-1 racing cars with results that closely match real experiments,’’ said Lagu.
In weather modelling, a team of experts is working to refine the weather prediction including cloud formation and effect of oceans. Using the supercomputer CRL has implemented public-domain software for weather modelling.
CRL built the supercomputer in November 2007 and it was then the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world.