Monday, November 15, 2010
On the other hand, representatives of the international community attending a two-day Pakistan Development Forum asked the government and people of Pakistan to take the lead in reconstruction and rehabilitation of flood-hit areas.
Most of the foreign delegates repeatedly asked the authorities about steps they were taking to mobilise resources.
Two provinces – Sindh and Punjab – informed the meeting that despite facing opposition they were moving ahead on the RGST and planned to raise substantial resources through tax on agriculture and property.
Interior Minister Rahman Malik said that Pakistan was fighting terrorism as a frontline state and deserved that its $50 billion foreign debt was written off.
He said that besides the challenge of terrorism the country was also engaged in reconstruction and rehabilitation of flood-hit people.
He said that around 40,000 to 50,000 people crossed the Pak-Afghan border daily, but all of them were not Taliban. They also included drug smugglers and criminals and hence Pakistan wanted the Afghan government to install biometric checkpoints to stop illegal cross-border movement.
He said Pakistan had been fighting terrorism for almost 30 years and had broken the back of terrorists along its western borders. The fight would go on with or without the international community’s help.
At the conclusion of the first day’s PDF proceedings, US Special Envoy Richard Halbrooke said his government faced immense pressure at home because of high fiscal deficit, but it still wanted to contribute to reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in Pakistan. The lead, however, must be taken by the people of Pakistan because he would have to explain to the new Congress why Pakistan was so important for the international community.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was conspicuous by his absence.
Punjab’s Senior Minister Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa said floods had caused $3.2 billion losses in his province.
Mr Khosa said Punjab needed $900 million to set up model villages and his government was improving the system of taxing agricultural income and property tax. “Sindh believes in self-reliance and it is going to impose flood surcharge on agriculture crops and residential and commercial plots in urban areas,” said Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah.
Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister Kaiser Bengali said that progress had been made on the RGST and the provincial government would impose a flood tax for which a law would soon be tabled in the provincial assembly despite some opposition.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Owais Ghani said his province needed Rs107 billion over the next 18 months for reconstruction in social sector and infrastructure development.
Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti said the provincial government had suspended new development projects of Rs18 billion from a development plan of Rs69 billion.
Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that talks had just started with presentations by provincial and regional governments and the federal government would brief PDF participants on Monday on the impact of floods on national economy and ways of dealing with consequences of the devastation.
DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
Reinhart Foodservice, LLC, dba IJ, a division of Reinhart Foodservice, Valdosta, Ga., is being awarded a maximum $30,953,824 firm-fixed-price indefinite-quantity contract for full line food service distribution. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is the Navy. The original proposal was Web-solicited with three responses. The date of performance completion is Oct. 16, 2011. The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM300-11-D-3416).
BAE Systems, Totowa, N.J., is being awarded a minimum $30,140,979 firm-fixed-price, sole-source, foreign military sales contract for installation of advanced radar warning receiver sets. Other location of performance is New York. Using services are Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and government of Australia. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is Jan. 31, 2013. The Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (SPM4AX-08-D-9416-XE01).
Triumph Gear Systems, Inc., Park City, Utah, is being awarded a maximum $9,259,250 firm-fixed-price sole-source contract for mechanical actuators. There is no other location of performance. Using services are Navy and Air Force. The date of performance completion is June 30, 2013. The Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Strategic Acquisition, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPRPA1-11-C-W013).
Labatt Food Service, San Antonio, Texas, is being awarded a maximum $9,000,000 firm-fixed-price indefinite-quantity contract for full line food service distribution. There is no other location of performance. Using services are Army and Air Force. There were originally five proposals solicited with three responses. The date of performance completion is Nov. 12, 2011. The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM300-08-D-3212).
GDF Suez Energy NA, Inc., Houston, Texas, is being awarded a maximum $8,009,402 firm-fixed-price contract for electricity. Other location is performance is New York. Using services are federal civilian agencies. There were originally 67 proposals solicited with eight responses. The date of performance completion is Dec. 31, 2012. The Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-11-D-8100).
EG&G Technical Services, Inc., Stafford, Va., is being awarded a $22,090,818 modification to previously awarded time-and-material contract (M67854-10-F-5023) to exercise option year one for the procurement of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle contract support services. This contract will procure services to support the MRAP program in the following areas: program management, acquisition, systems engineering, test and evaluation, logistics, safety, quality, and administrative support. Work will be performed in Stafford, Va., and is expected to be completed May 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $22,090,818 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.
Vericor Power Systems, LLC, Alpharetta, Ga., is being awarded a $16,732,296 firm-fixed-price contract for the manufacture, testing and delivery of 12 ETF40B marine gas turbine engines for landing craft, air cushioned vessels. Work will be performed in Winnipeg, Canada, and is expected to be completed by July 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-11-C-4113).
DEFENSE INFORMATION SYSTEMS AGENCY
On Nov. 10, the AT&T Corp., Government Solutions/National Information Systems, Columbia, Md., was awarded a $13,713,739.20 firm-fixed-price contract for new service/equipment that provides maintenance of Northstar communications network Special Government Operations Center equipment and managed service. The estimated period of performance is from Nov. 10, 2010 to Nov. 10, 2015. Performance will be at AT&T facility in Waldorf, Md. The solicitation was issued as an "other than full and open competitive action pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1)," and published on the Federal Business Opportunities website as required by FAR 5.2, and no offers were received. AT&T is a large business. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization/PL8211, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., is the contracting activity (HC1013-08-H-0545; TSR JA12FEB105181).
On Nov. 10, AT&T Corp., Government Solutions/National Information Systems, Columbia, Md., was awarded a $6,735,880.20 firm-fixed-price contract for reaward of existing service/equipment that provides maintenance of Northstar communications network Ground Entry Point equipment and managed service. The estimated period of performance is from Nov. 10, 2010 to Nov. 10, 2015. Performance will be in Omaha, Neb. The solicitation was issued as an "other than full and open competitive action pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1)," and published on the Federal Business Opportunities website as required by FAR 5.2, and no offers were received. AT&T is a large business. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., is the contracting activity (HC1013-08-H-0545; TSR JA01OCT095547).
Defense Support Services, Greenville, S.C., was awarded a $7,549,441 contract which will procure services for the installation of the large aircraft infrared countermeasure system onto eight C-5 aircraft, Models B and M. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. ASX/WLSK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8625-10-D-6501; Task Order 0002).
Journalists were allowed a preshow visit Nov. 15.
There were several detailed artist renderings of anti-ship cruise missiles destroying a U.S. aircraft carrier. Two displays by the China Aerospace and Science and Technology Corp. demonstrated how using aerial reconnaissance from UAVs and Beidou satellite communication and navigation satellites could coordinate an anti-ship cruise missile assault from aircraft, surface ships, submarines and land-based coastal batteries.
The show is operated by the government-owned, commercially run Zhuhai Airshow Co. and sponsored by the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), Civil Aviation Administration, China Aviation Industry Corp. (AVIC) and a variety of defense and commercial aviation industries and supporters.
Foreign commercial aviation and defense companies exhibiting this year include Airbus, AgustaWestland, Bombardier, GE Aviation, Irkut, Pratt and Whitney, Rolls-Royce, Rosoboronexport, Sikorsky, Sukhoi Aviation and Thales.
A new U.S. exhibitor this year is Moog, and Honeywell is returning to the show after a long absence, show officials said.
Asian exhibitors are low-keyed at the show, but include the Society of Japanese Aerospace Companies and Korea Aerospace Industries Assoc.
Among the new exhibitions are a variety of UAVs, including models of AVIC's Warrior Eagle combat UAV and an armed CH-3 UAV being produced by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. A new air-to-ground missile for the CH-3 dubbed the AR-1, which resembles the U.S.-built AGM-114 Hellfire, also is on display.
The PLAAF is showcasing a wide range of aircraft, including the Kongjing-200 advanced warning and control system aircraft, H-6 medium-range bomber and JH-7 and J-10 fighters. The service's August 1st aerobatics team will be flying six J-10s.
AVIC will show off the new L-15 advanced jet trainer. Sources at the show indicate that a new supersonic version of the L-15 has been developed.
The Pakistan Air Force will participate with flying displays of the JF-17 Thunder fighter and K-8 jet fighter trainer.
The JF-17 is a joint development program between the Chinese and Pakistan governments. The Pakistan Air Force's Sherdils aerobatic team will make its show debut with nine K-8s.
There are a number of seminars and conferences, mostly dealing with commercial aviation issues. The Military Flight Training Conference, jointly sponsored by the PLAAF and AVIC, ran from Nov. 14-15, with attendance from various countries, according to a show press release, but journalists were not allowed to attend.
"The main themes of the conference will concentrate on the pilot training from a future perspective," the release stated.
When the Top 500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers is released today, the Cray XT5 system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and run by the University of Tennessee, called "Jaguar," will drop to No. 2 after a year of eating the lunch of every other supercomputer in the world. In its place will stand Tianhe-1A, a system built by China's National University of Defense Technology, located at the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin.
Tianhe-1A achieved a performance level of 2.67 petaflop/s (quadrillions of calculations per second). Jaguar achieved 1.75 petaflop/s. Third place went to another Chinese-built system, called Nebulae, which achieved 1.27 petaflop/s.
And while the news of China's achievement is not exactly a surprise, the supercomputing community in the U.S. is looking at it two ways: as both as an assurance that U.S. software and components are still elite in their field, and a wake-up call that the country's prestige in high-performance computing is not a given.
"This is what everybody expected. What the Chinese have done is they're exploiting the power of GPUs (graphic processing unit) which are...awfully close to being uniquely suited to this particular benchmark," said Bill Gropp, computer science professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne, and co-principal investigator of the Blue Waters project, another supercomputer in the works.
The benchmark he's speaking of is the Linpack, which tests the performance of a system for solving a dense system of linear equations. It's measured in calculations or floating point operations per second, hence flop/s. Not everyone in this field agrees it's the best possible way to compare machines, but it is one way.
By using GPUs to accelerate the performance of the Tianhe-1A, the machine can achieve more floating point operations per second.
"The way most of us look at the Chinese machine, is it's very good at this particular problem (the Linpack benchmark), but not problems the user community is interested in," said Gropp.
For those worried that this is a blow to the United States' leadership in supercomputing, it's actually not a huge cause for alarm if you consider the provenance of the pieces of the Chinese system. Tianhe-1A is a Linux computer built from components from Intel and Nvidia, points out Charlie Zender, professor of Earth Systems Science at the University of California at Irvine.
"So we find ourselves admiring an achievement that certainly couldn't have been done without the know-how of Silicon Valley...and an operating system designed mostly by the United States and Europe," Zender said. "It's a time for reflection that we are now at a stage where a country that's motivated and has the resources can take off-the-shelf components and assemble the world's fastest supercomputer."
Supercomputers will likely get faster every year, points out Jeremy Smith, director of the Center for Molecular Biophysics at the University of Tennessee, so China's rise to the top this month isn't the end of the story. The list will likely be reordered again in June, when the next edition of the Top500 is released.
"What you find historically with these supercomputers is they become the normal machines five or 10 years later that everybody uses," said Smith, who oversees some projects run on Jaguar. "The Jaguar machine that we're so amazed at right now, it could be every university or company has one" eventually.
And of course these high-performance computer systems aren't just made to race each other, most scientists in the field would argue. They're made to solve complex problems, with eventual real-world consequences like climate change and alternative fuel production.
Smith argues that research like what's being done on Jaguar to solve the problem of superconductivity at high temperatures couldn't necessarily be done on Tianhe-1A effectively because it requires very efficient computing and coming up with the software on a computer to do that well is difficult.
But what China has accomplished is still important for supercomputing, argues Gropp, who called the number of flop/s Tianhe-1A achieved "remarkable."
"I don't want to downplay what they've done," he said. "It's like pooh-poohing the original Toyota. The first Toyota was a pile of junk. But a few years later they were eating our lunch."
It's not the first time that a non-U.S. machine has topped the rankings--the Japanese NEC Earth Simulator did it in 2004. The U.S. of course bounced back, and as of today has 275, or more than half of the systems, on the Top 500 list. China is next with 42 systems, and Japan and Germany are tied with 26 each. Still, there is concern that China's focused concentration of resources on supercomputing is fomenting a threat to the U.S.' long-term dominance there. But just trying to score the highest on the Linpack benchmark--something that any group of researchers with enough money could do fairly easily--is short-sighted.
"What we should be focusing on is not losing our leadership and being able to apply computing to a broad range of science and engineering problems," said Gropp, who is also deputy director of research at UI's Institute for Advanced Computing Applications and Technologies.
The Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is currently working on a report that addresses this exact topic, and didn't have a comment when contacted. Recently PCAST did release a draft of a document that calls for more funding for scientific computing very soon after news of Tianhe-1A's speed began to spread. And President Barack Obama weighed in briefly on the topic in a speech two weeks ago, calling for increased science funding specifically for high-performance computing.
But it's not as if the supercomputing community in the U.S has been sitting still while China sneaked up behind them. There are other projects in the works at U.S. labs that are planning on blowing Jaguar and Tianhe-1A out of the water in terms of speed.
Currently the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne and the National Science Foundation is building Blue Waters, a supercomputer that researchers say will be the fastest in the world when it is turned on sometime next year.
The Department of Energy, which owns Oak Ridge's Jaguar supercomputer, is already looking at moving from the current peta-scale computing (a quadrillion floating point operations per second) to exa-scale computing (a quintillion floating point operations per second), a speed a thousand times faster than Jaguar is currently capable of processing at. It's a goal that's still a ways out there, but the work is under way.
"To get there in the next five to 10 years, to get to 10 million cores in one room, is a major technical challenge," noted University of Tennessee's Jeremy Smith. "It's going to be fundamentally different than before. It's a hardware problem, and getting the software working is a major challenge indeed."
For more statistics on the systems in the Top500 list, please see Top500.org.Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-20022731-260.html#ixzz15MMhkoFZ
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