Double High-Tech

Joint research gets profitable not only in space
The other day “Minsk Times” reporter managed to “get beyond the clouds” to make sure yet again that Belarus is a space power. The Minsk-based aerial assembly, which gave me a chance to travel around the world, weighs 14 tonnes and has an impressive 9-meter dish. You are just one click away from flying over St. Louis — its streets, the airport, the Mississippi…
The Belarusian space system of earth remote sensing (the full name of the facility) receives data from a Russian satellite and produces pictures with a resolution of eight meters. After the first Belarusian satellite BelKA has been launched, pictures will be even more detailed, with resolution up to two meters. So far Belarus has not have access to this information, as it is too costly. Speaking of which, BelKA is fully compatible with the existing Russian space infrastructure, which makes the system considerably cheaper. Moreover, BelKA is expected to become a very profitable project, as it may sense the surface of the planet outside Belarus and take pictures of absolutely everything absolutely anywhere.
Space information appears essential for numerous projects now.
— We monitor the flooding situation, fires in forests, says the general director of the company “Geoinformation Systems” with the National Academy of Sciences Sergei Zolotoi.
He shows me how it is possible. The station has a fast connection to the Ministry of Emergencies, Meteorological Center, Forestry Ministry and other organizations that use the info from the satellite. It is high time Belarus renewed its maps, which are lagging behind the time: there are new settlements and roads that are not marked on the freshest maps. The supercomputer SKIF, which is on the list of one hundred most powerful computers of the world, may also be used to process information from space. SKIF performs 2.5 trillion operations per second.
The director of the Associated Institute of IT with the National Academy of Sciences, Sergei Ablameiko, gives the following example of the use of the supercomputer: they provided 3D modeling services for the Borisov-based assembly plant to facilitate the production of a turbo compressor compatible with European standards. “We cooperate with MTZ, MAZ, BelAZ, Amkodor (engineering companies). We have many offers not only from industrial companies, but also from medical establishments. SKIF was used to design a cardiologic system to detect ischemia on the basis of iris information,” Ablameiko said.
“Many research facilities and institutes are connected to SKIF and specialists use its resources without leaving their workplaces. We plan to provide access to supercomputers for everyone.” According to Sergei Ablameiko, if Belarusian companies should ask foreign companies to provide services of the kind they would have to pay 20–30 times more. Besides Belarus and Russia, only three countries of the world, the U.S., Japan and China, not only possess, but also construct computers that may hit the top-100. This is not just a matter of status, although it was very important for Belarus to get back the positions of the USSR high-tech leader.
At the same time, the national economy cannot develop competitively without the support of powerful computers. Besides, high technologies provide the security of the country. This is true both for supercomputers and the satellite. Two successful examples of high-tech cooperation of Belarusian and Russian scientists show the huge potential of joint projects.

When this Belarus.Беларусь issue was being made up the National Academy of Sciences and Russia’s Federal Space Agency coordinated the draft of a new space program, the chairman of the presidium of the academy, Mikhail Myasnikovich, told the IT forum tibo-2006 in Minsk.
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