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INDIA ADDA – Perspectives On India

IBEF works with a network of stakeholders - domestic and international - to promote Brand India.

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Authors

Colin Shah
Colin Shah
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Alok Kirloskar
Alok Kirloskar
Pragati Khare
Pragati Khare
Devang Mody
Devang Mody
Vinay Kalantri
Vinay Kalantri
Varun Aggarwal
Varun Aggarwal
Erich Nesselhauf
Erich Nesselhauf
Ghanshyam Lal Vyas
Ghanshyam Lal Vyas
Mr Siddhartha Sacheti
Mr Siddhartha Sacheti
Satish Kannan
Satish Kannan

National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)

National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)

Supercomputing in India
Supercomputers have gained prominence across the world due to its immense contribution in multiple areas. Using supercomputers, multiple set of data and information can be processed to formulate solutions that can be life changing. India’s quest for supercomputing started in early 1980’s for application in weather forecasting. Initially relied on supercomputers built in U.S and procured it at higher cost but faced multiple challenges during the time for upgrade. Thanks to a bunch of dedicated computer scientist, after a multiple research and upgradations, India’s fastest supercomputer PARAM was born. India made its mark into the World market with introduction of PARAM.

India requires further enhancement of its digital infrastructure to solve complex problems like weather forecasting, since agriculture accounts for 19% of India’s Gross Value Added (GVA) as of 2021-22 and close to 70% of the population depends on farming. Current capacity of supercomputers is limited to model climate fluctuations. So, India requires a capable high performance computer system that can accurately predict weather like global systems.

Considering the top 500 supercomputers in the world, China has the largest number of Supercomputers in top 500 list -173 followed by US-149 and Japan-32. India has so far only three supercomputers in the list and includes PARAM Siddhi AI, Pratyush and Mihir in which PARAM Siddhi features in top 100 list.


 Source: Top 500.org- supercomputer statistics

Brief overview of National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)
India has showcased its talent on building supercomputers at low cost with its PARAM series. To further enhance its capacity and to meet requirements, Government of India launched National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) in 2015. Under NSM, the plan was to connect R&D institutions and academic institutions in the country using a supercomputing grid with more than 70 high performance computing facilities. Spread over the period of seven years the estimated cost of this mission is Rs. 4,500 crores (US$ 593 million). Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) jointly guides the mission. Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) is entrusted with overall design, development, deployment, and commissioning of computers build under this mission. Atos a French based IT services firm won the contract to build parts for the supercomputers for C-DAC.

Major objectives of the mission

  • To make India one of the world leaders in Supercomputing and to enhance India’s capability in solving grand challenge problems of national and global relevance
  • To empower scientists and researchers with state-of-the-art supercomputing facilities and enable them to conduct cutting-edge research in their respective domains
  • To minimize redundancies and duplication of efforts, and optimize investments in supercomputing
  • To attain global competitiveness and ensure self-reliance in the strategic area of supercomputing technology

Different Phases of the Mission
National Supercomputing Mission was planned in three phases:

Phase 1-Plan was to install 6 supercomputers with 30% value additions done in India. Focus on this phase was to create an ecosystem for assembly of system components within the country.  Supercomputers were installed at IIT-BHU (Varanasi), Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (Pune), IIT-Kharagpur and Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (Bengaluru).

Phase 2- Second phase which started in April 2021 aimed at manufacturing supercomputers in the country with an indigenous software stack.

Phase 3- Focus is on design and manufacturing in the country. Phase 3, has been initiated in 2021 and is expected to take computing speed to 45 PF. As per plan three system with 3 PF each and one system with 20 PF will be installed at national facility.

By way of all the three phases the mission is expected to provide access to High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities to around 75 institutions in India and more than 1000 active researchers and academicians who are working through National Knowledge Network (NKN).

Benefits and application
India is currently focusing on value additions using supercomputers in areas like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data Analytics, Smart infrastructure, climate change etc. Supercomputers offers large number of benefits to the economy. Primarily, the benefit is cost saving as building supercomputers in-house helps in saving cost. Furthermore, through its application in fields like weather forecasting and use in manufacturing improves productivity to a large extent.

Supercomputers built under NSM scheme is used in following large scale applications.

  • NSM Platform for Genomics and Drug Discovery.
  • Urban Modelling: Science Based Decision Support Framework to Address Urban Environment Issues (Meteorology, Hydrology, Air Quality).
  • Flood Early Warning and Prediction System for River Basins of India.
  • HPC Software Suite for Seismic Imaging to aid Oil and Gas Exploration.
  • MPPLAB: Telecom Network Optimization.

Recent developments
So far under Phase 1 & Phase 2 total 15 systems with computer power of 22 Petaflops (PF) has been built at IIT’s, C-DAC, NIT, JNCASR, and IISER. Recently, NSM has deployed “PARAM Ganga”, a supercomputer at IIT Roorkee on 7th March 2022 with a supercomputing capacity of 1.66 Petaflops as apart of phase 2. Large part of the components used to build this system are manufactured and assembled in India along with a software stack developed by C-DAC as a part of make in India initiative.

PARAM Siddhi-AI is the fastest supercomputer in India built under NSM with a capacity of 5.26 PF and according to Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, PARAM Siddhi-AI will play a key role in the nation’s plan to become an AI powerhouse.

Supercomputers Installed & Commissioned in India as a part of NSM

Name

Speed

Location

PARAM Shivay

833 TF

IIT BHU Varanasi

PARAM Shakti

1.66 PF

IIT Kharagpur

PARAM Brahma

797 TF

IISER Pune

PARAM Sanganak

1.66 PF

IIT Kanpur

PARAM Seva

833 TF

IIT-H

PARAM Yukti

833 TF

JNCASR

PARAM Smriti

833 TF

NABI Mohali

PARAM Utkarsh

833 TF

C-DAC B

PARAM Sidhi

5.26 PF

National AI Facility CDAC-Pune

PARAM Pravega

3.3 PF

IISC

PARAM Ganga

1.66 PF

IIT Roorkee

Total

18.5 PF

 

 

Supercomputers expected to be commissioned in India as a part of NSM

Location

Speed

IIT Guwahati

833 TF

IIT Gandhinagar

833 TF

IIT Mandi

833 TF

NIT Trichy

833 TF

Total

3.33 PF

Source: C-DAC

Road ahead
India has made its mark in the technology landscape and has come a long way since the introduction of first supercomputer. To capture further progress and compete with major global players like China and U.S, require capital as well as investments in talents. At present, the focus is to design and develop parts like server boards, interconnects, and storage domestically. India is progressing towards building its fully indigenous supercomputer and given its current pace might be able to achieve the same in the future.

TF= Teraflops- A unit of computer speed equal to one million million (10^12) floating-point operations per second.

PF=Petaflops- A unit used to measure multiple computer’s processing speed equal to one thousand million million (10^15) floating-point operations per second.

1 INR =0.013188 USD

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