National Supercomputing Mission

India’s plans to be a world-class computing power are taking shape as the government lays out its strategy to build a vast supercomputing grid, comprised of 73 high-performance computing facilities. The project is expected to take seven years and comes with a price tag of Rs. 4,500-crore. It will have at least 3 petascale machines about 40-times faster than the country’s current record-holder.

India’s finance ministry panel authorized the National Supercomputing Mission, which is being jointly managed by the department of science and technology and the department of electronics and information technology. However, the project still has to clear the Indian cabinet before becoming official policy.

IMPACT OF NATIONAL SUPER-COMPUTING MISSION

Professor Rajat Moona, director general of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), described the mission as the first step to have a supercomputer machine in the top 20 list. According to Professor Moona, it will have transformative impact on research quality and quantity by facilitating the training of Indian scientists and the development of indigenous applications in medicine, agriculture and technology.

The seven-year mission will take place in two phases: the first three years will see the construction of 73 networked systems at research and education sites across the country. In the remaining four years, the focus will be on application development to make the most of this investment.

CURRENT POSITION OF INDIA

India has only 9 systems on the Top500 list ranking, India’s fastest ‘Prithvi’ (IBM made) is at 71 rank and India’s second fastest ‘ParamYuva-II’ (C-DAC made) is at 131 rank. In this computer age nation’s international importance is often measured on the number and the size of supercomputers it runs. China has 61 supercomputers in the Top 500 compared to a whopping 231 in the US.