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1. Cyber-Physical Systems

What is Cyber-physical system (CPS)?

  • CPS is an interdisciplinary field that deals with the deployment of computer-based systems that do things in the physical world. It integrates sensing, computation, control and networking into physical objects and infrastructure, connecting them to the Internet and to each other.

  • Examples of cyber physical systems are Smart Grid Networks, Smart Transportation System, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Utility Service Infrastructure for Smart Cities, etc.

  • CPS and its associated technologies, like Artificial Intelligence (Al), Internet of Things (loT), Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DP), Big Data Analytics, Robotics, Quantum Computing, Quantum Communication, Quantum encryption (Quantum Key Distribution), Data Science & Predictive analytics, Cyber Security for physical infrastructure and other infrastructure plays a transformative role in almost every field of human

1.1. About National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems

  • It is a comprehensive mission which would address technology development, application development, human resource development, skill enhancement, entrepreneurship and start-up development in CPS and associated technologies.



  • It aims at establishment of 15 numbers of Technology Innovation Hubs, six numbers of Application Innovation Hubs and four numbers of Technology Translation Research Parks (TTRP).

  • These Hubs & TTRPs will connect to Academics, Industry, Central Ministries and State Government in developing solutions at reputed academic, R&D and other organizations across the country in a hub and spoke model.

  • They mainly focus on four areas: Technology Development, HRD & Skill Development, Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Start-ups Ecosystem Development and International Collaborations.


Significance of Mission

  • It will support other missions of the government, provide industrial and economic competitiveness.

  • It would act as an engine of growth that would benefit national initiatives in health, education, energy, environment, agriculture, strategic cum security, and industrial sectors, Industry 4.0, SMART Cities, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) etc.

  • It will bring a paradigm shift in entire skill sets requirement and job opportunities.

  • It is aimed to give impetus to advanced research in CPS, technology development and higher education in science, technology and engineering disciplines, and place India at par with other advanced countries and derive several direct and indirect benefits. endeavor in all sectors.

1.2. Advantages of CPS technologies

  • Enhanced security capabilities: It can play role in expediting design and delivery of trustworthy, adaptable and affordable systems, operations in cyberspace and autonomous systems to augment security operations.

  • Disaster Management: CPS technologies including next generation public safety communications, sensor networks, and response robotics can dramatically increase the situational awareness of emergency responders and enable optimized response through all phases of disaster events.

  • Energy: They are essential for the creation of energy infrastructure, optimization and management of resources and facilities and allowing consumers to control and manage their energy consumption patterns like smart meters.

  • Healthcare: CPS correct-by-construction design methodologies are needed to design cost-effective, easy-to-certify, and safe products.

  • Transportation: They can (potentially) eliminate accidents caused by human error, Congestion control, traffic-based grid jams.

  • Agriculture: They will play a key role in helping to increase efficiency throughout the value chain, improving environmental footprint and creating opportunities for a skilled and semi-skilled workforce.

1.3. Challenges in CPS

  • Privacy issues: CPS technologies that enhance privacy and enable the appropriate use of sensitive and personal information while protecting personal privacy are needed.

  • Computational Abstractions: Physical properties such as laws of physics and chemistry, safety, resources, real time power constrained etc. must be captured by programming abstractions.

  • Collaborations, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Addressing the R&D gaps will require close collaborations between industry, R&D systems/Academics/ University and Government.

  • Data related challenges: It allows flexible control and resource use; provides conduits for information leakage; prone to mis-configurations and deliberate attacks by outsiders and insiders.

  • Infrastructural bottlenecks: This system requires a Sensor and mobile networks hence essential requirement to increase system autonomy in practice requires self-organization of mobile and Adhoc CPS networks.

  • Human Interaction: Human interaction with CPSs often encounter a critical challenge when interpreting the human-machine behavior and designing appropriate models that consider the current situational measurements and environmental changes which are crucial in the decision-making processes, particularly in systems such as air traffic systems and military systems.

  • Technical barrier: One of the biggest problems that such integrations face is the lack of consistent language and terminology that need to exist to describe cyber-physical interactions.

  • Consistency: There are challenges in maintaining the same required level of accuracy, reliability, and performance of all system parts.

2. Bullsequana Supercomputer

2.1. About BullSequana

  • Atos will supply BullSequana XH200 super computer to India to create a network of over 70 high-performance supercomputing facilities with a cumulative computing power of more than 10 petaflops, for various academic and research institutions across India.

  • BullSequana will be set up in India under the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM).

2.2. Challenges to Supercomputing in India:

  • Limited funding: Limited investments and delayed release of funds have held India back. Even after launching NSM, only 10 per cent of its total budget has been released at the end of three years.

  • Hardware development: India’s stronghold is in software development, it has to depend on imports to procure the hardware components required for building supercomputers. Cutting edge technology in hardware components is difficult to procure as supercomputing is a niche field. Even a large part of BullSequana will only be assembled in India.

  • Brain Drain: Large Multi-National Corporations (like Google) have also entered the supercomputing field. Competing with such MNCs to retain talent for developing and maintaining supercomputers proves difficult for Government.

  • Actual chip design and manufacturing is difficult to achieve (due to many factors like high initial investment needed, limited availability of rare earth metals). However, India has software skills and personnel base which can be effectively leveraged to propel innovation on the software components of supercomputer technology. Also, Exascale system, which is now used in supercomputers, may reach its speed barrier soon. Thus, India could focus its research on new approaches like Quantum Computing and Optical Computing.

3. GSAT-11

3.1. About GSAT-11

  • It weighs around 5855 Kg, double the size of biggest satellite built by ISRO till now. ISRO’s most powerful launcher GSLV-Mk III can launch satellite weighing up to 4000 kg only.

  • It is part of ISRO’s new family of high-throughout communication satellite (HTS) fleet that will drive the country’s Internet Broadband from space to untouched areas. It is built to provide throughput data rate of 16 gbps. o The broadband domain is currently ruled by underground fiber and covers partial and convenient locations.

  • It carries 40 transponders in Ku (32)/ Ka (8) Band. For the First time use of Ka-Band is introduced in India through GSAT-11.

  • It will be placed in a circular geo-stationary orbit almost 36,000 Km. away and settle at 74° E in India. Some facts

  • China is global leader in supercomputing with more than 225 out of top 500 supercomputers in world.

  • Currently India’s fastest and 39th fastest supercomputer in the world, Pratyush is installed in Pune’s Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology. It is used for simulating and predicting ocean and atmospheric systems.

  • India has become the only country worldwide to have an Ensemble Prediction System (EPS), running weather models at a 12-km resolution due to Pratyush. About C-DAC

  • C-DAC was setup in 1988 under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, for indigenous development of Supercomputers.

  • C-DAC developed India’s first supercomputer - Param 8000.

  • It was established after denial of import of Cray Supercomputer (dual use technology which could be used for nuclear weapon simulation), due to arms embargo. National Supercomputing Mission


3.2. NSM was launched in 2015 with following objectives:

  • To make India one of the world leaders in Supercomputing capability.

  • To empower our scientists and researchers with state-of-the-art supercomputing facilities.

  • To minimize redundancies and duplication of efforts, and optimize investments in supercomputing

  • To attain global competitiveness and ensure self-reliance in supercomputing technology

  • It is spearheaded by Department of S&T and Department of Electronics and IT.

  • Under NSM, 70 supercomputers will be installed in India. These machines will be part of the National Supercomputing grid over the National Knowledge Network, aimed at establishing a strong network for secured & reliable connectivity between institutions.

3.3. Ku vs Ka Band

  • Ku band ranges between 12-18 GHz while Ka Band ranges from 26.5-40 GHz.

  • Ka-band has data transmission rates that are hundreds of times faster.

  • Most satellites today use Ku Band Transponders because it is difficult to build hardware and software for Ka Band Transponders.

  • Allocation and regulation of electromagnetic spectrum into different frequency bands is done by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

4. Visions-2 Mission

More about VISIONS-2

Sounding Rocket (Probe Rockets)

  • It makes brief, targeted flights into space before falling back to Earth just a few minutes later which is designed to probe atmospheric conditions and structure at heights (80–160 km) during its sub optimal flight.


Aurora Borealis

  • The auroras are formed when energetic electrons, accelerated in the electric and magnetic fields from sun in near-Earth space, crash into and excite atmospheric gases, which emit bright hues of red, green, and yellow as they relax back to a lower energy state.

  • The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. They are known as 'Aurora borealis' in the north and 'Aurora Australis' in the south.


Polar Cusps

  • At almost any location near the surface of the magnetopause, the Earth's magnetic field provides a natural barrier to the solar wind particles. However, there are two regions, located above each pole, where solar wind particles have a direct access to the Earth's ionosphere. These regions are known as the polar cusp.

  • It is a sounding rocket mission to get a closer look at the how the Earth’s atmosphere is slowly leaking into space.

  • The Earth is losing weight as observations show that several hundred tons of atmosphere is getting “leaked” into space every day.

  • The aurora borealis is of keen interest to the VISIONS-2 team as they are fundamental drivers in the process of atmospheric escape.

  • Scientists had long thought that oxygen was too heavy to escape Earth's gravity. But near-Earth space has much more Earth-borne oxygen than anyone had expected. This is as a result of processes that energize the oxygen enough to escape. The aurora is one such process.

  • It is the first of nine sounding rockets launching over the next 14 months as part of the Grand Challenge Initiative - cusp, an international collaboration to explore the unusual portal between Earth and space.

  • Importance: Understanding atmospheric escape on Earth has applications all over the Universe – from predicting which far off planets might be habitable, to understanding how Mars became a desolate and exposed landscape.

5. Soyuz

International Space Station (ISS)

  • ISS is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit.

  • Its first component was launched into orbit in 1998, with the first long-term residents arriving in November 2000. The Station is expected to operate till 2030.

  • It is the largest human-made body in low Earth orbit and can often be seen with the naked eye from Earth.

  • It serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory.

  • It is a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).

  • China launched its first experimental space station, Tiangong 1, in September 2011.

5.1. About Soyuz

  • The Soyuz is a Russian spacecraft which carries people and supplies to and from the space station.

  • It has room for three people to ride in it. The spacecraft also brings food and water to the space station.

  • It is like a lifeboat. At least one Soyuz is always attached to the space station. If there were an emergency on the space station, the crew could use the Soyuz to leave the space station and return to Earth.

  • Currently only this Russian spacecraft carry people to ISS after USA retired its space shuttle in 2011.

6. Sunspot Cycle

What is Sun-spot Cycle?

  • The amount of magnetic flux that rises up to the Sun's surface varies with time in a cycle called the solar cycle. This cycle lasts 11 years on average. This cycle is referred to as the sunspot cycle.

  • They are darker, magnetically strong, cooler areas on the surface of the sun in a region called the photosphere.


Why this is important?

  • It will help in understanding of the long-term variations of the Sun and its impact on earth climate which is one of the objectives of India’s first solar probe – ‘Aditya L-1 Mission’.

  • The forecast will be also useful for scientific operational planning of the Aditya mission


How does Sunspot Cycle affect the Earth?

  • An important reason to understand sunspots is that they affect space weather.

  • During extreme events, space weather can affect electronics-driven satellite controls, communications systems, air traffic over polar routes and even power grids.

  • Some believe that they are correlated with climate on earth. For instance, during past periods of low sunspot activity, some parts of Europe and North America experienced lower-than-average temperatures.

7. Telerobotic Surgery

Tele-robotics Applications

  • Space: Most space exploration has been conducted with telerobotic space probes.

  • Telepresence and videoconferencing: The prevalence of high-quality video conferencing has enabled a drastic growth in telepresence robots to help give a better sense of remote physical presence for communication.

  • Marine applications: Marine remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are widely used to work in water too deep or too dangerous for divers. They repair offshore oil platforms and attach cables to sunken ships to hoist them. They are usually attached by a tether to a control center on a surface ship.

  • India became the world's first to successfully perform a telerobotic coronary intervention.


What is telerobotic coronary intervention?

  • It is a robotic method of performing heart surgery. With the help of the internet and a robotic tower, a surgeon is able to treat patients from a distance.

  • This technology is especially important for high emergency situations of heart attacks and stroke, where ideal treatment must be received within 90 minutes or 24 hours.

  • This platform has the potential to improve patient access in rural & under-served populations and reduce treatment time, benefitting those groups, who have geographical barriers and low socio-economic status.

  • It will also reduce the variability in operator skills and improve clinical outcomes.

8. National Medical Devices Promotion Council

8.1. About National Medical Devices Promotion Council

  • The Council will be headed by Secretary, DIPP. Apart from the concerned departments of Government of India, it will also have representatives from health care industry and quality control institutions.

  • It will act as a facilitating and promotion & developmental body for the Indian Medical Devices Industry (MDI). It will give a boost to domestic manufacturing and for exports.

  • It will identify redundant processes and render technical assistance to the agencies and departments concerned to simplify the approval processes involved in medical device industry.

  • It will enable entry of emerging interventions and support certifications for manufacturers to reach levels of global trade norms and lead India to an export driven market in the sector.

  • Drive a robust and dynamic Preferential Market Access (PMA) policy, by identifying the strengths of the Indian manufacturers and discouraging unfair trade practices in imports.

8.2. Medical Devices Industry (MDI) in India

  • MDI plays a key role in the healthcare ecosystem and “is indispensable in achieving the goal of health for all citizens of the country. However, the medical device market is dominated by imported products, which comprise of around 80% of total sales. The domestic companies are largely involved in manufacturing low-end products for local and international consumption.

  • Opportunity: Given the higher disposable incomes in the country, increasing public spending in healthcare (higher penetration of health insurance), improving medical tourism along with luxury healthcare markets and increasing FDI in the sector, India presents an important opportunity for medical device industry both domestically and internationally.

  • Challenges: Along with numerous opportunities, the market faces various challenges in terms of presence of multiple regulators, archaic laws (which do not permit manufactures and importers of medical device to promote their product directly to the customer), weakening rupee (making it difficult for some medical device importers to promote their product directly to the consumers), and government’s price control (e.g. stent capping).

December Science and Technology

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