Supercomputer as the name itself suggests are a class of high-performance machines that are used to perform massive computations almost instantaneously.
They are expensive and thus are used for those computations that deal with a lot of data.
Supercomputers have applications in a lot of fields, namely scientific research, weather monitoring, biotechnology, defence and also in the pharma industry.
There have been massive advances in the development of supercomputers with the performance reaching petaflop, which is a measure of calculations per second.
They consume a lot of electric power due to their high-performance levels and thus are equipped with cooling systems.
India is currently ranked 23rd in the world by the distribution of supercomputers. China now dominates the list while the United States and Japan are on the second and third positions, respectively.
PARAM SIDDHI AI SUPERCOMPUTER
“Param Siddhi Ai” is India’s largest HPC- AI (High-Performance Computing) supercomputer that has been announced by The Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).
This program was led by Abhishek Das, Scientist and Program Director at C-DAC and also performed the design infrastructure of the largest supercomputer in India.
Nvidia would provide the technology used for the development along with the primitive HPC-AI engine, software frameworks and cloud platform by C-DAC.
It has been approved by Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon’ble Union Minister of Electronics and IT and Law & Justice; Shri Ajay Prakash Sawhney, MeitY Secretary; Ashutosh Sharma, secretary at DST; and recommended by the National Supercomputing Mission.
The main objective of this initiative is to project India into the league of top countries around the world in the field of supercomputing.
The Param Siddhi AI Supercomputer is a machine with 210 AI Petaflops (6.5 Petaflops Peak DP).
The performance abilities of supercomputers are measured in floating-point operations per second (FLOPS).
Also, 1 Petaflop is equal to 1015 Flops and thus can perform 210 quadrillion computations per second. It is based upon NVIDIA GDX SuperPOD which contains 42 NVIDIA GDX A100 Systems, connected with NVIDIA Mellanox HDR Infiniband networking.
The SuperPOD by Nvidia makes it possible to reduce the computational time and thus to achieve high efficiency.
HOW FAR IS INDIA IN TERMS OF SUPERCOMPUTING
Artificial Intelligence is the ability of a machine to train itself and perform actions based upon the learnings.
The supercomputers are developed using AI, which would give us an edge over the conventional ones.
Countries all over the world have invested enormously in supercomputers to aid their growth in fields of research, defence, cyber-security and automation.
Countries like China, US, Japan have realised the importance of supercomputing to boost its economy. When we look at the future, supercomputers can be a boon to perform complex calculations that would help the government in terms of research and development.
Although this can be considered as a good start, we are still far behind the developed countries in terms of supercomputing.
Taking a look at China’s “Sunway TaihuLight” supercomputer, this is used to perform various tasks including weather forecasting which helps ships avoid harsh climate, and also aids farmers in producing better yield.
It reached a processing level of 93 Petaflops which can perform 93 quadrillion computations per second.
In the US, scientists have used supercomputers to create a model that simulates the heart down to cell level and can reduce the number of heart diseases.
This can be considered as a significant breakthrough which would potentially help save $100 billion every year.
Japan’s “Fugaku” supercomputer has enabled the country to analyse the Covid-19 virus and has been immensely helpful in developing a drug that could cure the virus.
The reason behind Japan’s low infection rate can be attributed to Fugaku. It is also the most powerful supercomputer in the world right now with performance measuring 415 Petaflops.
These countries have shown how supercomputers can change the way we battle next-generation challenges through cutting edge technologies.
This has resulted in an improved economy and also benefitted ordinary people.
HOW PARAM SIDDHI supercomputer WOULD REVOLUTIONIZE INDIA’S FUTURE
Imagine if we were able to predict cyclones and other naturally occurring disasters with utmost precision, this would be a lifesaver and also the government would be able to evacuate the citizens without any causality.
They can be used to cure several diseases by analysing the disease-causing pathogens, which is a prerequisite to the manufacturing of vaccines.
We could have a better understanding of brain injuries and other blood flow problems.
Being in a state of a constant state of border escalation, India could introduce supercomputers into defence which can, in turn, simulate explosions with better precision.
Supercomputers can aid in weather forecasting, which helps in understanding weather patterns. Weather forecasting brings in a lot of variables into play which would be easily accomplished by these systems.
Supercomputers can also help aeroplane manufacture aeroplanes with better dynamic and safety features and can change the dynamics of the aviation industry.
A PROMISING INVESTMENT
If India wants to become a superpower and solve next-generation problems, then we should start investing in supercomputers right away.
Currently, India possesses three supercomputers and is expected to deploy 14 more this year, making the tally to 17. Without this technology, India would not be able to conquer the global stage of research and development.
The government is working on this initiative of National Supercomputing Mission. Currently, we have only one supercomputer that made it to the list of the top 100. India needs to compete with other countries on a global scale in supercomputing.
India plans to install 73 new supercomputers by 2022, which is expected to boost the research and development in the country.
The first stage of supercomputers contains 60% made in India equipment, and the dual-stage systems are going to be deployed with an Indian processor which is a significant boost to Make in India initiative.
The government has a lot of aspirations regarding India’s future, and supercomputing can pave the way for the same.