[Ilugc] Applications for Clusters
ramanraj at md4.vsnl.net.in
Sat Oct 30 18:56:40 IST 2004
Sivasankar Chander wrote:
>>Can we please have a super computer like Thunder for our country ?
>>AFAIK, that question has not even been debated in our Parliament yet.
> I don't think there's any really pressing need for a large clustered
> machine in India ...
Whether it is needed or not, the fact that _we_ can debate it this way,
is revolutionary. "Representative" form of democracy was thought of as
the most suitable for those times, but now Gandhian style of direct
decentralised, community based democracies are workable and possible,
but more on this down below. GNU mailman for public services may make
their functioning easier, to begin with. I do not have hard data that
supports the need for a Super Computer like Thunder, but many at the
india-egov list readily agreed, and it seems there is a pressing need
for smaller clusters with 4-10 nodes. Every legislative Act has a bunch
of tables that are expected to be kept public and updated, and taking
them to the Internet in meaningful ways, keeping their ends in mind,
could easily use a super computer well. Data for India's 100 crore
population in conjunction with the many public registers etc. may be one
of the most complex tasks where it could be used well. Much of the data
may remain in local intranets, and may be queried by others, but for
effective decisions, a central server would be be a must, if the present
org style remains as it is.
More importantly, archiac procedures neet to be streamlined to avoid
GIGO disasters. Without any discussion about the architecture, we have a
lot of talk on implementations. Now is the time to do serious
rethinking based on philosophy and normative ideals. If we manage to get
that right, every thing else should be fairly easy.
> Those resources would be better spent on infrastructure -
> backbone fibre, core and edge routers, metro ethernet,
> last-mile connectivity, etc. which would leverage Metcalfe's law to
> bring the benefits of connectivity to a larger proportion of the
> population (i.e. a large number of roads, US-style,
> instead of one rusting power plant in the middle of nowhere,
Powers/Functions get split between Central|Federal, State and People,
and the networking between them is generally peer-to-peer.
There are important architectural differences between US and India:
US Style: Encapsulation of Federal & State Functions.
Residue remains with the People
[vide IX & X Amendments of the US Const.]
Indian Style: Mainly Central without strict encapsulation, and any
residue remains with the Parliament at the Centre.
[vide Art. 248 of the Indian Const.]
Much data under our system naturally gets centralised, and India
therefore needs and has more use for Thunder like super computers. The
infrastructural network looks like getting done, and a strong central
super computer is missing to make good use of the nervous network
falling into place. Of course, wearing a watch does not automatically
mean punctuality, but if we desire punctuality as a virtue, a watch
could be of great help. So too, HPC could help to take us places. HTH.
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