National Supercomputing Mission, is a mission of the Government of India to boost the supercomputing capabilities of India. This mission consists of designing and manufacturing 73 supercomputers in India. These cluster of supercomputers will be connected to various academic and research institutions across India. This grid will be connected to the National Knowledge Network (NKN). This is a Rs 4,500 Crore project. In 2018, the Government of India awarded a contract to French company Atos to build supercomputers under this mission. Atos has collaborated with Indian partners in Chennai and Pune to build most of the required parts.
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Latest Development Regarding the National Supercomputer Mission
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Department of Science and Technology announced on April 12 2021 that, the second phase of the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) will be completed by September this year, taking India’s total computational capacity to 16 Petaflops.
So far, over 4,500 people have been trained in HPC and further training in Artificial Intelligence will be held at special NSM nodal centres established at four IITs — Kharagpur, Madras, Goa and Palakkad.
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 minimise redundancies and duplication of efforts, and optimise investments in supercomputing.
- To attain global competitiveness and ensure self-reliance in the strategic area of supercomputing technology.
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What is the name of India’s First Supercomputer?
India’s first supercomputer was PARAM 8000. PARAM stood for Parallel Machine. It was developed by the Centre for Advanced Computing (C-DAC) in 1991, with a speed of 1 Gigaflop.
Which is India’s Fastest Supercomputer?
Currently, Pratyush and Mihir are the Fastest Supercomputers in India. These are the 2 High-Performance Computing Units (HPC) with a combined speed of 6.8 PetaFlops. Pratyush is established in the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune. Mihir is established in the National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (NCMWF), Noida.
Pratyush and Mihir are used for the following applications.
- Weather forecasting
- Air quality
- To detect natural calamities
Which are the Nodal Agencies for Implementing National Supercomputing Mission?
Government of India departments and research institutions are part of the implementation.
- Department of Science and Technology (Government of India)
- Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY)
- Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC)
- Indian Institute of Science (IISc)
What will be the Applications of these Supercomputers?
Supercomputers can be used for many new-age applications. Few examples are given below.
- Weather forecasting
- Natural disaster predictions
- Drug discovery
- Space applications
- Aerodynamic research
- 3D nuclear test simulations.
Where will the first 3 Supercomputers be set up under the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) mission?
The first 3 Supercomputers will be set up in
- IIT BHU – Supercomputer with a speed of 1 Peta Flop – It was inaugurated in 2019, it has been named ‘Param Shivay’.
- IIT Kharagpur – Supercomputer with a speed of 650 Teraflops.
- IIITM Pune – Supercomputer with a speed of 650 Teraflops.
What are the three phases of the National Supercomputing Mission?
Under Phase-1 computing speed of 6.6 PF will be set up. In Phase-22, 8 more institutions will be equipped with supercomputing facilities by April 20201, with a total of 10 PF compute capacity.
MoUs have been signed with a total 14 premier institutions of India for establishing Supercomputing Infrastructure with Assembly and Manufacturing in India. These include IITs, NITs, National Labs, and IISERs. Some of these have already been installed. The Phase-II installation is expected to be completed by April 2021.
Work on Phase-III will start in late 2021 and will include three systems of 3 PF each and one system of 20PF as a national facility.
Exascale goal of the supercomputers:
- Exascale computing involves billions of computations per second. India has no exascale supercomputers yet.
- Param-Shankh, India’s new indigenous exascale supercomputing monster from C-DAC, is set to launch in 2024.
- Thus, India has not ignored the exascale revolution. Under the NSM scheme, C-DAC is aiming to install 70 supercomputers pan India.
National Supercomputing Mission Limitations
- India currently lacks the infrastructure to produce the semiconductor devices required for the development of supercomputers.
- The country still relies on imports for some components.
- Funding for the NSM during the initial years slowed down the overall pace of building supercomputers.
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