OpenPOWER Helps India Advance National Supercomputing Mission with new Research Facility at IIT Bombay

By Professor P.S.V. Nataraj, Systems and Control Engineering Group, IIT Bombay

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During my visit to IBM, Bangalore in April 2014, the idea for having a collaboration between the OpenPOWER Foundation and IIT Bombay (IITB) was born. The OpenPOWER Foundation’s representative, Ganesan Narayanasamy, presented the genesis, objectives, and activities of the Foundation to Prof. Nataraj, and from this conversation IIT Bombay joined the Foundation as an academic member.

In collaboration with IBM, IIT Bombay developed a research proposal that was submitted for the IBM SUR award.  In Sept 2015, Prof. Paluri S. V. Nataraj received the IBM SUR award for his research project “Development of parallel algorithms and software library for constrained global optimization of polynomial problems using the Bernstein polynomial approach.” As a part of the SUR award, computing equipment was donated by OpenPOWER partners IBM, NVIDIA, and Mellanox to IITB. The OpenPOWER Research Facility (OPRF) comprising these equipment was setup, and hosted by an exclusive data centre in IITB.

The facility officially opened on August 17, 2016.

Building India’s National Supercomputing Mission through OpenPOWER Collaboration

The National Supercomputing Mission aims to build a culture of supercomputing for solving complex R&D problems and designing solutions addressing various country specific requirements for scientific, strategic and societal applications. To achieve this aim, it is important that various kind of supercomputing platforms be setup and made available to users across the country.

OPRF is the only OpenPOWER based supercomputing facility in India which gives access to researchers and academicians all over India. By providing this kind of access, efforts are directed towards ensuring that (a) researchers gain great speed-ups and other benefits of the POWER8 architecture, and (b) academicians experiment and gain insight into the open platform.

Furthermore, as OpenPOWER is a community-driven initiative, we at OPRF ensure that knowledge and infrastructure are not restricted to a few, but is made available to everyone who aims to contribute to make the society a better place.

The Equipment

 The OpenPOWER Research Facility at IIT Bombay is located in the Systems and Control Engineering Department.

It is placed in an IBM 42U Rack, and consists of:

2 x OpenPOWER based 8247-42L servers, each having:

  • 20 cores of 3.42 GHz each (POWER 8 )
  • 256 GB RAM
  • 8 TB raw capacity level SATA hard disks
  • 2 x Tesla K80 GPUs each with 2 x 2496 GPU cores and 2 x 12GB VRAM
  • 1 x Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface Cards

1 x OpenPOWER-based 8247-21L with

  • 10 cores of 3.75 GHz each (capable of creating 40 POWER threads)
  • 128 GB RAM
  • 8 x 1 TB raw capacity hard disks

These machines are interconnected with a Mellanox switch of 12 ports with 56 Gigabit throughput.

Get Involved

Academicians and researchers are welcome to avail the OpenPOWER Research Facility for their education and research activities. Access to this facility is currently given to users across India, on request. The registration form is available at http://oprfiitb.in/access_request_form


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Paluri S. V. Nataraj is a Professor of Systems and Control Engg Group at IIT Bombay. He obtained a Ph.D. from IIT Madras in process dynamics and control in 1987. He then worked in the CAD center at IIT Bombay, India for about one and half years before joining the faculty of the Systems and Control Engineering Group at IIT Bombay in 1988. He has been involved in teaching and research for about 28 years at IIT Bombay. His current research interests are in the areas of Global Optimization, Parallel Computing, Reliable Computing, and Robust Control.

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