Setting computers to IST is just a matter of time


21 Jun 2013
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The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)’s National Physical Laboratory, the organisation that defines the Indian Standard Time (IST), has formally proposed to the Central government that all Indian computers be “legally required” to synchronise their clocks to the IST.

NPL Director Dinesh Aswal told The Hindu that the time displayed on laptops or smartphones — being derived from multiple American servers — would be a few seconds off from the actual Indian time. The frequent mismatches in the time stamps make it harder for Indian cyber security experts to investigate Internet-perpetrated frauds. “All countries require their computer infrastructure to synchronise to their local times,” Mr. Aswal said.

“It would be a landmark service if Indian computers were also mandated to do so.” The CSIR has sent its proposal to the government but Aswal said it was up to “higher authorities” to consider it. The NPL is the Indian organisation that maintains the clocks, weights and other apparatus that conform to globally agreed standards on measuring units such as metre, kilogram and second.

Were such a system to become mandatory, NPL’s servers would have to gear up to process trillions of server requests, up from the “tens of thousands now”, for which NPL would require an infrastructural investment of Rs. 500 crore.

In recent months, India has stepped up efforts to become self-reliant in its communication networks. This month, the Indian Space Research Organisation is expected to operationalise the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (its operational name is NAVIC). Mr. Aswal said the Indian Air Force had recently teamed up with NPL to improve the accuracy of their time-keeping systems and reduce error to the range of “microseconds.”

Setting computers to IST is just a matter of time : The Hindu - Mobile edition
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