The Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore, will have the fastest supercomputer in the field of materials science in the country. Working at a speed of 80 teraflops, the new supercomputer will be eight times faster and more advanced than the present one at the Centre. The supercomputer will have the capacity to calculate one trillion floating-point operations per second. The new supercomputer will examine materials at the atomic, nano and molecular scale, map their properties and predict how materials at the nano scale can be utilised in everyday life. The new equipment will enable theorists and analysts to investigate the relationship between the structure of materials at a nano or molecular scale and their macroscopic properties. It will also help in forensic engineering – where materials, products, structures or components will be examined to understand why they failed or did not function as per the defined objectives. Another field it will aid is failure analysis – typically this subject looks at why aviation accidents happen, the cause of fractures in aircraft wings, fuselage analysis and the like. An endeavour for scientists at JNCASR would also be to discover new materials – and the most prolific scientist in India, Prof C N R Rao, is working precisely on new materials and is also on course to discover some. Prof Rao told Deccan Herald: “Work on the new supercomputer will begin soon. We expect it to deliver very good results given that it is faster than what we have now. Setting up a supercomputer is a huge task and plenty of variables have to be taken care of. I am personally happy that we will get a more powerful machine. The department of science and technology is reaching out very well.” Nano materials have wide variety of applications – right from the Gorilla glass on the cell phone to the thermal shield of space shuttle. Certain nano materials are being used to test water cleanliness, toxicity and other harmful properties.
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