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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 1 April, 2003, 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK
India unveils huge supercomputer
By Habib Beary
BBC correspondent in Bangalore

India has launched an advanced supercomputer known as Param Padma.

IT professionals in Bangalore
India's IT industry is highly respected
The move places India in a leading position in the field of supercomputing, normally led by the US and Japan.

There are plans to market the supercomputer internationally and build on existing markets in Europe, North America and the Far East.

India began developing supercomputers in the late 1980s after being refused one by the US.

Arun Shourie, the information technology minister, said the development of the Param Padma at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) showed India's technological capabilities.

Huge power

The advanced supercomputer was launched in the southern city of Bangalore on Tuesday.

The Param Padma has 1 teraflop of power, which means it can make 1 trillion processes per second.

Infosys headquarters
Computer technology is one of India's fastest growing industries
Such power has previously only been available to countries such as the USA and Japan.

Mr Shourie, said there was a great sense of pride that the Param Padma had been developed locally at the C-DAC.

The Param Padma has been developed at a cost of $10 million and has a storage capacity of 5 terabytes which can be increased to 22 terabytes.

Mr Shourie added: "The development of Param Padma would address India's security concerns enhancing the security preparedness.

"It could also be used for defence and space applications."

The thrust of India's supercomputing work, however, will be in areas such as bio-technology, nanotechnology, weather forecasting, climate modelling, seismic data processing and structural mechanics.

Increasing market

Professor N Balakrishnan of the Indian Institute of Science said the Param Padma had put India into a leading position in supercomputing in the world.

India plans to market the Param Padma internationally and officials predict that the domestic market for supercomputers will triple from $0.5 billion to $1.6 billion by 2006.

India's earlier version of the supercomputer 'Param 10,000' with 100 gigaflop (floating point operations per second) memory has been sold to 8 countries including Russia, Canada, Singapore, and Germany.

India began developing a supercomputer after being denied a Cray supercomputer by the United States in 1987.

The US decision was based on fears that it could be used for military purposes.

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