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CRL Solving Grand-Challenge Problems on its Supercomputer EKA


Pune, India, July 26, 2008: Eka, the fastest supercomputer in Asia and among the top 10 supercomputers globally, has further upgraded its performance from 117.9 Teraflops (TF) to 132.8 Teraflops through software enhancements and tuning. Eka has been built by Computational Research Laboratories (CRL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons.

Having achieved high speeds, CRL is now focused on developing and delivering high performance applications for global customers in various areas like weather modelling, aerospace and automotive engineering, drug design and nanotechnology.

Mr. S. Ramadorai, chairman, CRL said: “Having achieved the milestone of building one of the world’s fastest supercomputers and the fastest one in Asia, CRL is now working to create meaningful applications that can solve tomorrow’s grand -challenge problems in areas of engineering, nanotechnology and drug design that are of interest to our global customers, India and for society at large”.

The various application domains where CRL is working on include:

Computational Fluid Dynamics for Aerospace and Automotive Engineering

Virtual simulation applications on Eka using Computational Fluid Dynamics can help address the limitations of a testing environment in understanding the impact of design on the aerodynamic abilities of aeroplanes and automobiles.

Aerodynamics, for instance, are tested using an aircraft body model and placing it in a wind tunnel and measuring pressure at various points by mounting sensors on the body. The limitations of wind tunnel experiments are the high cost of such experiments and length of time taken to perform them as well as instrumentation errors and the limitations on the amount of information that can be gathered.  Eka is also being readied for simulating of an entire aircraft along with Multi-Disciplinary Optimisation using multi-physics modelling and co-simulation of fluid dynamics, aero-acoustics, control systems and structural mechanics.

In the automotive sector, simulation of non-linear structural mechanics is needed to evaluate the behaviour of cars in a collision by creating virtual crash simulations that map out the impact on car bodies during an accident on car crash. Using Eka, CRL has carried out detailed CFD simulation for sedan cars and Formula-1 racing cars with results that closely match real experiments. Going ahead, Eka will be used for detailed CFD simulation for all types of cars and also for crash simulation.

Weather Modelling

The challenge with weather prediction is that weather is an inherently chaotic system and such systems require exponential computational power as the time duration over which the prediction is to be made increases. This need to analyse millions of possible permutations requires the use of supercomputers.

Weather modelling and simulation has always been a globally cooperative activity and application software is in the public domain. Using Eka, CRL has implemented public-domain software and has been able to simulate the deluge that occurred over Mumbai two years ago with reasonable accuracy. CRL is working to refine the weather prediction models including cloud formation and effects of the oceans.


Nanotechnology involves operating at the nanometre scale to get better control of material properties and to create new properties [1]. This enables development of newer and better materials and devices. Applications span the entire range from corrosion-resistant coatings to nanoelectronic devices to targeted drug delivery.

Using Eka, CRL has simulated the behaviour of gold nanoparticles and predicted their behaviour accurately and simulated a self-assembly process. Looking ahead, CRL will develop simulation packages which can simulate the properties of any nanostructure given its chemical composition, molecular structure and shape and to simulate any self-assembly process given its parameters. This will enable rapid and cost-effective design of new materials and devices as also their manufacturing processes.

Drug Design

The process of drug design in silico involves simulating the effect of the drug before it is tested on animals and humans. Besides reducing cost and time, this minimises ethical concerns. On Eka, CRL is in the process of designing a drug in silico for an ailment that is fairly common among the aged. Our collaborator has a list of about 10,000 molecules which are potential drugs for this disease. On Eka, we are simulating each drug and the target receptor and hope to shortlist about 100 of these molecules for subsequent ‘wet lab’ experiments.

About Computational Research Laboratories

Computational Research Laboratories (CRL) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Limited and is engaged in cutting edge research and development in the area of high performance computing. CRL’s mission is to be among the top research, technology, and business leaders in the world, in high performance computing systems, software, applications, and services. CRL is headquartered in Pune, India.

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