Supercomputing in Pakistan
Supercomputing is a recent area of technology in which Pakistan has made progress, driven in part by the growth of the information technology age in the country. The fastest supercomputer currently in use in Pakistan is developed and hosted by the National University of Sciences and Technology at its modeling and simulation research centre. As of November 2012, there are no supercomputers from Pakistan on the Top500 list.
|“||But what about supercomputer exports to India or Pakistan? Will they be used to advance the nations' economies or to speed development of nuclear weapons?||”|
—A passage in Fundamentals of International Business, p. 78 discussing U.S. technological export policy.
The initial interests of Pakistan in the research and development of supercomputing began during the early 1980s, at several high-powered institutions of the country. During this time, senior scientists at the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) were the first to engage in research on high performance computing, while calculating and determining exact values involving fast-neutron calculations. According to one scientist involved in the development of the supercomputer, a team of the leading scientists at PAEC developed powerful computrized electronic codes, acquired powerful high performance computers to design this system and came up with the first design that was to be manufactured, as part of the atomic bomb project. However, the most productive and pioneering research was carried out by physicist M.S. Zubairy at the Institute of Physics of Quaid-e-Azam University. Zubairy published two important books on Quantum Computers and high-proformance computing throughout his career that are presently taught worldwide. In 1980s and 1990s, the scientific research and mathematical work on the supercomputers was also carried out by mathematician Dr. Tasneem Shah at the Kahuta Research Laboratories while trying to solve additive problems in Computational mathematics and the Statistical physics using the Monte Carlo method. During the most of the 1990s era, the technological import in supercomputers were denied to Pakistan, as well as India, due to an arms embargo placed on, as the foreign powers feared that the imports and enhancement to the supercomputing development was a dual use of technology and could be used for developing nuclear weapons .
During the Bush administration, in an effort to help US-based companies gain competitive ground in developing information technology-based markets, the U.S. government eased regulations that applied to exporting high-performance computers to Pakistan and four other technologically developing countries. The new regulations allowed these countries to import supercomputer systems that were capable of processing information at a speed of 190,000 million theoretical operations per second (MTOPS); the previous limit had been 85,000 MTOPS.
HPC platform has been established by Dr. Masroor Hussain, FCSE, GIK Institute. This facility has been funded by Directorate of Science and Technology (DoST) KPK Pakistan. It is a compute intensive platform and comprises following hardware components:
- Front Node: Dell R815 with 64 CPU cores, 256GB RAM, 1.8TB Secondary Memory
- 3 Compute Nodes: Dell R175 each with 32 CPU cores/ compute node (96 in total), 128GB RAM/ compute node (384GB in total), 600GB Secondary Memory/ compute node (1.8TB in total)
- NVIDIA Tesla M2090 Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) with 1024 GPU cores: This facility may be used for an emerging paradigm of parallel computing which uses GPUs as computing units
- Dell Power Connect 8024F layer-3 manageable switch: Front Node and the Compute Nodes are connected to each other using this switch. It provides an anormous data transfer rate of 10Gbit/s among the connected entities using fibre channels.
- To make the hardware layer parallel-computation-capable, Rocks Cluster 6.1 (Emerald Boa) over CentOS http://www.rocksclusters.org/wordpress/ has been installed and configured.
The COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) has been actively involved in research in the areas of parallel computing and computer cluster systems. In 2004, CIIT built a cluster-based supercomputer for research purposes. The project was funded by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. The Linux-based computing cluster, which was tested and configured for optimization, achieved a performance of 158 GFLOPS per second. The packaging of the cluster was locally designed.
The National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in Islamabad has developed the fastest supercomputing facility in Pakistan till date. The supercomputer, which operates at the university's Research Centre for Modeling and Simulation (RCMS), was inaugurated in September 2012. The supercomputer has parallel computation abilities and has a performance of 132 teraflops per second (i.e. 132 trillion floating point operations per second), making it the fastest graphics processing unit (GPU) parallel computing system currently in operation in Pakistan. It has multi-core processors and graphics co-processors, with an inter-process communication speed of 40 gigabits per second. According to specifications available of the system, the cluster consists of a "66 NODE supercomputer with 30,992 processor cores, 2 head nodes (16 processor cores), 32 dual quad core computer nodes (256 processor cores) and 32 Nvidia computing processors. Each processor has 960 processor cores (30,720 processor cores), QDR InfiniBand interconnection and 21.6 TB SAN storage."
Specifications of Cluster deployed at Kohat University of Science and Technology.
|Number of CPUs||104|
|CPU Clock||2.00 GHz|
|Peak Performance||416 GFLOPS|
|Location||Kohat, N-W.F.P, Pakistan.|
- "Top500 November 2012". Retrieved February 14, 2013.
- Fundamentals of International Business. Wessex Publishing. 2008. p. 78. ISBN 978-0979734427.
- Rizvi, Aftab A.; Shakil-Ur-Rehman; Zubairy, M.S. (NaN undefined NaN). "Binary Logic by Grating Structure". Journal of Modern Optics 35 (10): 1591–1594. doi:10.1080/09500348814551701. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
- "M. Suhail Zubairy". Department of Physics and Astronomy. Texas A&M University (TAME). Retrieved 8 October 2012.
- Shah, Tasneem M.; Zafar U. Koreshi, Sadaf Siddiq,. "Monte Carlo Simulation in Thermal Radiative Transfer: Method Review, Validation and Parameter Sensitivity". International Journal of Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering (Islamabad: International Journal of Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering) 9 (9): 221–228.
- Hussain, Masroor Hussain. "Faculty Profile of Dr. Masroor Hussain".
- Webteam, GIKI. "GIKI IT Facilities". The GIKI Webteam. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- Ishaq, A Faiz M; Khan, Majid Iqbal. "Supercomputing: A Roadmap for the OIC Member States". COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (Islamabad). Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- "Fastest supercomputer is out". Daily Times (Pakistan). 19 September 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- Supercomputing Research and Education Facility, NUST
- Zubairy, M.S. (March 26–30, 2007). "Quantum Computers" (PDF). Dr. Prof. M. S. Zubiary at the National Center for Physics (in English (Pakistan)). National Center for Physics. p. 72. Retrieved 19 January 2013. More than one of