Kathmandu University (KU) has installed a supercomputer at Information Technology (IT) Park situated between Banepa and Panauti of Kavrepalanchowk District. This is the first time that a supercomputer has operated in Nepal. This Supercomputer is expected to significantly help in the analysis of databases in health and administrative sector of Nepal.
On 28 June, 200 servers from the CERN computing center were donated to KU. A total of 184 CPU servers, 16 disk servers, and 12 network switches were shipped from CERN to Nepal. These are some equipment which are no longer needed by CERN. They will contribute towards a new high-performance computing facility for research and educational purposes in Nepal.
KU is the second largest university in Nepal. But it lacks the infrastructure and resources for carrying out research. It can’t even match much smaller institutes in the US or Europe. One sad example is that the KU school of medicine is forced to delete medical imaging data sometimes because disk storage space runs out, thus making it difficult to screen diseases, or to conduct population health studies.
Similarly, R&D projects in the schools of science and engineering have to borrow their computing time abroad, either through online data transfer, which is inevitably slow for large data transfers, or by physically taking data tapes to institutes abroad for analysis.
The supercomputer made using the donation from CERN will have a fundamental impact on the research and development sector in Nepal. This supercomputer can be used in analyzing data of earthquake modeling, climate change, control of H1N1 virus, genetic diseases, among other subjects. It can greatly help in tracking pollution, identifying the hydro-electric potential of different rivers, and much more.
This is not the first time CERN has donated its equipments to other countries. CERN has regularly donated computing equipment that no longer meets its highly specific requirements but is still more than adequate for less exacting environments since 2012.
According to CERN, a total of 2079 servers and 123 network switches have been donated to countries and international organisations, namely Algeria, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal, Serbia, the SESAME laboratory in Jordan, and now Nepal.
Thanks to their generosity, we have a supercomputer in Nepal that is deemed as the fastest supercomputer in South Asia excluding India.