From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Supercomputing
Mains level : National Supercomputing Mission
- India is set to significantly enhance its supercomputing capabilities by installing an 18-petaflop system this year.
- This development aims to improve complex mathematical calculations, particularly in weather forecasting, by providing greater processing power and accuracy.
- A supercomputer is a high-performance computer capable of processing massive amounts of data at extraordinary speeds.
- Performance is measured in floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) rather than million instructions per second (MIPS).
- Supercomputers have the ability to perform trillions (peta) of FLOPS.
India’s Journey in Supercomputing
- India’s supercomputing journey began in the late 1980s when the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) was established in response to technology embargoes imposed by the United States.
- Since then, India has steadily progressed, unveiling the PARAM 800 in 1991, which was the world’s second-fastest supercomputer at the time.
- The National Supercomputing Mission (NSM), launched in 2015 with a budget of ₹4,500 crore, has been instrumental in propelling India’s supercomputing capabilities.
- The mission aims to create a network of supercomputers across academic and research institutions in the country, supporting academia, researchers, MSMEs, and startups.
Current Supercomputing Infrastructure
- India’s most powerful civilian supercomputers, Pratyush and Mihir, have a combined capacity of 6.8 petaflops.
- Pratyush is located at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune, while Mihir is housed at the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) in Noida.
- These supercomputers became operational in 2018 after an investment of ₹438 crore.
- Both institutions are affiliated with the MoES.
Acquisition of New Supercomputers
- The new supercomputers, sourced from French corporation ATOS, were procured as part of a deal signed between the Indian and French governments in December 2018.
- The Government aims to acquire high-performance computers worth ₹4,500 crore by 2025, with an estimated cost of ₹900 crore for the new earth-sciences Ministry computers.
Enhanced Capabilities and Future Outlook
- Upgrading the supercomputing systems every 4-5 years is essential to improve performance.
- The new system will enhance resolution from the current 12×12 km to 6×6 km, providing greater clarity and accuracy in local weather forecasts.
- The ultimate goal is to represent areas using 1 km-square grids, enabling the prediction of rapidly evolving weather phenomena such as cloudbursts.
- The current fastest high-performance computing system in the world is the Frontier-Cray system at Oakridge National Laboratory in the United States, with a peak speed of 1 exa-flop (equivalent to 1,000 petaflops).
To further enhance India’s supercomputing capabilities and maintain technological advancements, the following steps can be considered:
- Continued investment in research and development to stay at the forefront of supercomputing technology.
- Collaboration with international partners and organizations to leverage global expertise.
- Encouraging academia, researchers, MSMEs, and startups to utilize the supercomputing infrastructure for scientific breakthroughs and innovation.
- Strengthening the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) by expanding its network and providing adequate resources.
- Regularly upgrading supercomputing systems to keep up with evolving computational demands and maintain competitiveness on a global scale.
Also in news
Recently, India’s AI Supercomputer ‘AIRAWAT’ has been ranked at No. 75 in the world at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC 2023) in Germany.
- The supercomputer ‘AIRAWAT’ has recently been named in the 61st edition of the Top 500 Global Supercomputing List.
- Installed at C-DAC in Pune, ‘AIRAWAT’ is an AI supercomputer implemented under the National Program on AI by the Government of India.
- The manufacturer of ‘AIRAWAT’ is Netweb Technologies.
- ‘AIRAWAT’ PSAI stands out as India’s largest and fastest AI supercomputing system, boasting an impressive speed of 13,170 teraflops.
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