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Dr Pradeep Dubey, who leads Intel's Parallel Computing Lab in the US, is Fellow-in-Residence for the company's India-based Labs, some of whose engineers are seen ( top right). India is a key centre for innovation around the Intel Xeon processor family. ( Photos: Intel)
 
 
Super Troopers: Indian engineers are helping craft the chips that fuel bulk of world's super-computers

India may host a tiny fraction of the world's fastest   computers, but her engineers are tops at building the bricks of a supercomputer.  Ask Intel!
IndiaTechOnline  Special Report.  By Anand Parthasarathy

Bangalore, August 10 2015: Here's a high-tech irony! In spite of pumping  thousands of crores of rupees  into  multiple government agencies in defence, atomic energy and civilian science for decades,  India remains a scant presence in the list of the world's  top 500 supercomputers: The latest list released last month,   has just 11 India-based systems, representing  just  2  percent of the total compute power.  And only two of these can be said to be 'Made in India'.
Irony number 2: This country is the base where the number-crunching technology of almost every  single supercomputer  used anywhere in the world  today  is designed, honed and developed.
Why?  Because  Intel's Xeon family of chips  is the most favoured processor  for  supercomputing:Intel-based system account for 86 percent of all supercomputers in the list of 500 systems:  And  is one of Intel's primary centres for Xeon  design and development.  In fact when  I filtered out the India-based supercomputers in the July  2015 Top 500,  11 systems popped up and all of them had 'Intel  Inside'.  
" Every supercomputer in India has an Intel component, and the brains of  hundreds of  Intel High Performance Computing (HPC)  engineers from India are making them tick", says  Raj Hazra, Vice-President, Data Centre Group and General Manager, Technical Computing Group at Intel.
Pradeep Dubey,  Intel Fellow and Director of Intel's Parallel Computing Lab , at Santa Clara, California (US) agrees: "Indians are uniquely qualified with the necessary analytical skills required,  to address the challenges of high performance computing. I would go so far as  to say,  Intel's India-based research team   holds a very key  position  when it comes to supercomputing skills  like extreme-scale solvers, large-scale machine learning and inferencing algorithms."
Dr Dubey,  a product of  the Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra  (Ranchi) -- and the University of  Massachusetts at Amherst  and Purdue University in the US -- is an Intel veteran  of over 20 and the holder of over 30 patents, who was recently honored with Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineer Award from Purdue University. I met him,   when he came to Bengaluru, last month,  soon after he took on a new responsibility of Fellow-in-Residence for  Intel  India.  This means he  visits regularly to mentor and guide Intel engineers in the India Development Centre and  buckles their work into the global development efforts of Intel.   
His lab  always presents a record number of papers at  peer events. At the  last International Conference for HPC (SC '14, New Orleans), an Intel  paper  on the application of supercomputing structures  for studying genome networks  was a best paper nominee. Of the 8 co-authors,  6 were Indians; including the lead author, Sanchit Misra,   4  were based in India ( from  IIT Mumbai and Intel India).  
Another key paper   and a finalist for the coveted Gordon Bell award, on peta-flop computing to  simulate earthquakes  was co-authored by Dr Dubey and another Indian -- Karthikeyan  Vaidyanathan.  Both Karthik and Sanchit are based in Intel India.
'Era of Tera'
The large number of Indians who contribute to cutting edge research in  critical computing is nothing new.   In 2007, Intel  astonished the tech world by announcing that its engineers had  ushered in the 'Era of Tera' with a tera flop  processor  with 80 cores on a single slab of silicon.( teraflop  means  1 million  compute operations in a second).
We are still at  4,  8 ... up to 18 cores today   -- an 80-core practical chip is some years away. But 8 of the 12 engineers  in the team who developed  the futuristic prototype were Indians, half of  them based in Bengaluru, led by  a woman, Vasantha Erraguntla.
If so much of Indian talent  in just one company,   is focused on supercomputing skills, why is this huge talent not being   dovetailed into  India's own National Supercomputing Mission  which earlier this year was given a 7 year target and a kitty of Rs 45 billion ( Rs 4500 crores)? 
It is beginning to happen. Dr Dubey's mandate    may soon touch   a new   initiative:  an Intel India Maker Lab, in its Bengaluru  campus to accelerate hardware design innovation by boosting product innovation and enhance maker capability for innovators and startups in India. Intel India would work closely with India’s startup ecosystem including Central/State Government incubation initiatives. “We  are committed to the Government’s Digital India vision", says Intel India President, Kumud Srinivasan
In a connected  techno-commercial world it no longer matters  who pays your monthly salary.   And  as Intel's Bengaluru-based engineers brainstorm  with their mentor, Pradeep Dubey  to  take on new supercomputing challenges,  to finalize their presentations for the upcoming SC conference in  November, they are already India Makers, one and all. (additional reporting for this   piece came from Vishnu Anand)

  • See Image of the Day  feature on the latest iteration of the Intel Xeon --E 7-version 3.
  • See   our story on India in the  latest ( June) Top 500 list.
  • See  our interview with  Intel's Raj Hazra



    


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Super Troopers: Indian engineers are helping craft the chips that fuel bulk of world's super-computers
by Tak on October  22,  2015
  "Hey, kilelr job on that one you guys!"