Thursday, June 9, 2011

StatPlanet World Bank Wins Apps for Development Competition

    StatPlanet World Bank Wins Apps for Development Competition

Washington : The World Bank has announced winners of the World Bank’s first-ever “Apps for Development” competition on Thursday.

World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick said, “One of the reasons we threw open the doors to our data was that we recognized we don’t have a monopoly on innovation. These apps clearly demonstrate how the software development community can harness technology to analyze and tackle some of the world's long-standing problems. It’s fantastic to see the creative approaches each of the finalists took, and it’s also great to see that the submissions came from six continents.”

An app that allows users to visualize development indicators using powerful charts and maps, a web-based tool to measure the impact of global events on progress toward the Millennium Development Goals, and an interactive app that lets users make their own comparisons of countries’ performance, were announced today as the top winners of the World Bank’s first-ever “Apps for Development” competition.

Last year, the World Bank issued a challenge to software developers from across the globe to take on some of the world’s most pressing development problems by creating digital apps using the Bank’s freely available data. The response was overwhelming, with 107 entries from 36 countries across six continents, and nearly a third from Africa.

A panel of expert judges, including technology gurus such as Kannan Pashupathy of Google, Ory Okolloh, co-founder of Ushahidi, and Craig Newmark of Craigslist, selected the winners. A total of $55,000 was awarded in cash prizes to competition winners.

The three winning apps all feature unique approaches to pressing development challenges:

First Prize Winner - StatPlanet World Bank (Australia): With this powerful app, you can visualize and compare country and regional performance over time. The user can select from among the 3000+ indicators covering virtually every dimension of economic, social, and human development, and can select the manner in which the data is displayed. This app allows anyone an easy interface to these indicators - even without Internet connectivity - via a desktop version of the app.

Second Prize Winner - Development Timelines (France): Development Timelines lets you put global development data into historical context and better understand how events such as war, education reforms, or economic booms and busts, affect progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

Third Prize Winner - Yourtopia - Development beyond GDP (Germany): This interactive app allows you to sum up human development according to your own criteria and, through a short quiz, choose how important different dimensions of development are to you. You can then participate in constructing a multiple-dimension index of human development.

Aleem Walji, Manager, Innovation Practice at the World Bank Institute, said, “This competition has brought software developers into the development conversation. We see enormous potential in crowdsourcing solutions to persistent development problems, and we are especially excited when our data can be used as raw material to spark creativity and innovation.”

The winners also included a Popular Choice Award, determined by online voting by the public, which went to WORLD (Macedonia), an app that selects data at random to generate concise statements about progress toward the Millennium Development Goals.

In addition, the Large Organization Recognition Award was given to International Project Funding: US Foundations and the World Bank (USA), an app that shows funding for agriculture, fishing, and forestry projects from the World Bank and US foundations, as well as the percentage of land cover in each country that is occupied by forests or cropland.

Honorable Mentions were given to World Bank Widget (Finland), Get a Life! GAME (Netherlands), Know Your World (USA), Bebemama mobile app - Empowering mothers (Thailand), TreePet (Mexico), Economic Data Finder (UK), Indicators Lab (India), FACTCHA: Stop Spam, Advocate for the MDGs! (Kenya), MDG Chart Generator (Jamaica), and MDG Maps (Uganda). More information on the award winners is available at

Open Data, Open Knowledge and Open Solutions

The Apps for Development Competition was launched in September 2010 by World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick as part of the Bank’s Open Data Initiative, an effort that unlocks the institution’s world-class knowledge and development data for researchers, activists, students, and development practitioners across the globe.

The initiative is rapidly expanding, in line with the huge demand for development data and information.

As part of the Open Data Initiative the World Bank has recently developed its own app – “Mapping for Results" (—which visualizes the geographic location of programs at the global and regional levels and in 79 of the poorest countries

ISRO Develops Supercomputer SAGA-220

Thiruvananthapuram : Indian Space Research Organization 

has built a supercomputer "SAGA-220", which is to be India’s fastest in terms of theoretical peak performance of 220 TeraFLOPS (220 Trillion Floating Point Operations per second).

The supercomputer "SAGA-220", built by the Satish Dhawan 
Supercomputing Facility located at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram at a cost of about Rs 14 crore was inaugurated by K Radhakrishnan, 
Chairman ISRO at VSSC today, ISRO said in a statement.

The new Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) based supercomputer,    "SAGA-220" (Supercomputer 
for Aerospace with GPU Architecture-220 TeraFLOPS) is being used by space scientists for solving complex aerospace problems.

"SAGA-220” is fully designed and built by Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre using commercially available hardware, open source software components and in house developments.
The system uses 400 NVIDIA Tesla 2070 GPUs and 400 Intel Quad Core Xeon CPUs supplied by WIPRO with a high speed interconnect.With each GPU and CPU providing a performance of 500 GigaFLOPS and 50 GigaFLOPS respectively, the theoretical peak performance of the system amounts to 220 TeraFLOPS, the statement said.

The present GPU system offers significant advantage over the conventional CPU based system in terms of cost, power and space requirements, it said.

The system is environmentally green and consumes a power 

ISRO Successfully Puts GSAT-8 into Geosynchronous Orbit Read more about ISRO Successfully Puts GSAT-8 into Geosynchronous Orbit


   ISRO Successfully Puts GSAT-8 into 

             Geosynchronous Orbit

Bangalore : Indian Space Research 
Organization (ISRO) on Wednesday 
successfully advanced communication 
satellite GSAT-8 to geosynchronous orbit 
with an orbital period of 23 hours and 45 

Information to this effect was made by 
ISRO that the satellite's orbit has a perigee 
(closest point to Earth) of 35,543 km, an 
apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 35,770 
km and an orbital inclination of 0.04 degree 
with respect to the equatorial plane.
Solar arrays on both sides of the satellite have been deployed and they are tracking the sun and 
generating electrical power, the Bangalore-based ISRO said on Wednesday.

These solar arrays are designed to generate 6,240 W of electrical power. Two large dual grid 
Ku-band antennae have been opened and are pointing towards the Earth, it said.

On Wednesday, the satellite was put into the final orbital configuration pointing towards the 
Earth continuously.

GSAT-8 is presently located at 47 degree East longitude and is being moved towards its final 
orbital position of 55 degree East, where it will be co-located with the INSAT-3E satellite.

In Orbit Testing of 24 Ku-band transponders of GSAT-8 is scheduled to begin on 1st 
June and the satellite is expected to be ready for service in about a month, it said.

Testing of GAGAN navigational payload would be conducted from the new Navigation Control 
Centre at Kundanahalli near Bangalore.

Launch Date
GSAT-8, India’s advanced communication satellite, is a high power communication satellite being inducted in the INSAT system. Weighing about 3100 Kg at lift-off, GSAT-8 is configured to carry 24 high power transponders in Ku-band and a two-channel GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) payload operating in L1 and L5 bands.

The 24 Ku band transponders will augment the capacity in the INSAT system. The GAGAN payload provides the Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS), through which the accuracy of the positioning information obtained from the GPS Satellite is improved by a network of ground based receivers and made available to the users in the country through the geostationary satellites.
Weight3093 kg (Mass at Lift – off)
1426 kg (Dry Mass)
PowerSolar array providing 6242 watts three 100 Ah Lithium Ion batteries
Physical Dimensions2.0 x 1.77 x 3.1m cuboid
Propulsion440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motors (LAM) with mono Methyl Hydrazine (MMH) as fuel and Mixed oxides of Nitrogen (MON-3) as oxidizer for orbit raising.
Stabilisation3-axis body stabilised in orbit using Earth Sensors, Sun Sensors, Momentum and Reaction Wheels, Magnetic Torquers and eight 10 Newton and eight 22 Newton bipropellant thrusters
Two indigenously developed 2.2 m diameter transmit/receive polarisation sensitive dual grid shaped beam deployable reflectors with offset-fed feeds illumination for Ku-band; 0.6 m C-band and 0.8x0.8 sq m L-band helix antenna for GAGAN
Launch date
May 21, 2011
Launch siteKourou, French Guiana
Launch vehicleAriane-5 VA-202
OrbitGeosynchronous (55° E)
Mission lifeMore Than 12 Years

Flying Car All Set to Hit Indian Road, Air By 2012

Flying Car All Set to Hit Indian Road, Air By 2012

   Ahmadabad : Indian roads and Air space will see the flying car running and flying by 2012.

As per information, an UK based Indian businessman Subhash Shihora has booked world first flying car of worth Rs 6 crore in 2009, and will get delivery in 2012.

Flying car which has successfully completed its first flight on March 5, 2009 and clearance bythe US Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration
The car required road driving licence to drive and a private pilot licence to fly it also clearance from security agencies in India.