The telecom ministry has drawn up an ambitious blueprint to build a supercomputer by 2017, which will be at least 61 times faster than any machine available on Monday.
Telecom and information technology minister Kapil Sibal has written to PM Manmohan Singh about the project, which is estimated to cost Rs. 4,700 crore over the next five years.
But in order to succeed, the scientists behind the project will need to defy predictions of experts across the world that the computing speeds Sibal has promised are impossible any time in the near future.
"In his (Sibal's) letter, he has said that C-DAC has developed a proposal with a roadmap to develop a petaflop and exaflop range of supercomputers in the country with an outlay of Rs. 4,700 crore," a government official said, referring to the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) which built India's first supercomputer, the PARAM 8000 in 1991. A petaflop is a measure of computing speed and an exaflop is 1,000 petaflops.
At present, the world's fastest supercomputer, IBM's Sequoia, has a top computing speed of 16.32 petaflops. India's fastest supercomputer, the Cluster Platform 3000, ranks 58 among the world's fastest machines, and has a top speed of 0.3 petaflops, so the proposed machine — if successful — would be 3000 times faster.
A review commissioned by the US department of defense concluded that exaflop computing speeds were theoretically impossible anytime in the current decade.
With agencies input