The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), which pioneered supercomputing in India, is now assisting the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in establishing a national agricultural bioinformatics grid.
This initiative, the first of its kind here, will help scientists enhance agricultural productivity and also address problems like food security. As part of the project, a three-day training-cum-workshop programme on ‘Parallel and High Performance Computing’ began on Monday.
The workshop will provide an insight into the different aspects of high performance computing (HPC) with the goal of capability building in solving complex problems in agriculture and biotechnology. Speaking to DNA, Goldi Misra, group coordinator and head, HPC Solutions Group, C-DAC, said the use of HPC would help scientists address the problem of food scarcity at the grass-root level.
“Now scientists have to wait for a production cycle to get over to analyse various issues like quality of seed, produce, and weather pattern. But with HPC, the same can be done using simulation. This is the first time in the country that a national agricultural bioinformatics grid is going to be started,” he said.
In the first phase, the World Bank-funded project will connect the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, New Delhi, National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources Karnal, Haryana, National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources, Lucknow, National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Microorganisms, and National Bureau of Agriultural Important Insects, Bangalore.
“These institutions will be connected with high-speed networks. Agricultural universities and research centres across the country can also be added to the grid. Researchers will be able to perform complex analytical processes,” said Misra.
Anil Rai, principal scientist, Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute, New Delhi, said the establishment of such a grid would provide computational support for high-quality research in areas of agricultural and biotechnological research.
“This will lead to the development of superior varieties seeds, the right fertilisers, and will help various other processes to enhance agricultural productivity on sustainable basis. This will help the scientific community to meet food security challenges in the country,” he said.