India gets another supercomputer today, says will soon make our own
The supercomputer set to be inaugurated today at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune is the third of the six supercomputers that will be installed in the top scientific institutions this year as part of the ₹4,500 crore national mission.
This is the first phase of the National Supercomputing Mission, which aims to set up over 70 supercomputers in the country’s scientific institutions on a buy-and-build approach.
The National Supercomputing Mission was cleared in 2014 to boost research in India and has applications in climate modelling and weather prediction, aerospace engineering, big data analytics, information repository, atomic energy simulations among others.
Three more supercomputers of phase I will be assembled at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, IIT Hyderabad, and Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) by December this year.
The previous two supercomputers under the first phase of the mission had been installed in IIT (Banaras Hindu University), Varanasi and IIT Kharagpur. These computers are of 833 teraflops and 1.6 petaflops respectively.
The supercomputing mission gave the country its first machine capable of peta-scale computing. Peta-scale computing refers to the ability to add at least a quadrillion (1,000 trillion) real numbers in a second. That computer speed is equivalent to 5,000-6,000 high-end laptops working in tandem.
“Initially, we had planned to import supercomputers, but now we have the confidence that we can build our own. In the second phase, the mission will see greater levels of integration happening in India even at the motherboard level. As we missed the bus on microelectronics, the third phase will see pretty much everything apart from the chips being made in India,” said Prof Ashutosh Sharma, secretary, department of science and technology.
Currently, India has four supercomputers that are listed among the biannual Top 500 list of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. With the four computers, India ranks 13th on the Top 500 list, with China topping the list with 227 supercomputers.
Two of these four were set up last year at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, Noida last year. The two together had added 8 petaflops capacity to India’s computing prowess.