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India to Launch Supercomputing Mission
Dec 06, 2014

India’s plans to be a world-class computing power are taking shape as government lays out its strategy to build a vast supercomputing grid, comprised of more than 70 high-performance computing facilities. The project is expected to take 7 years and comes with a price tag of $730 million (Rs. 4,500 crore). It calls for at least 3 petascale machines about 40-times faster than the country’s current record-holder, which puts the estimated output in the 25-30 petaflops range.

Finance ministry panel has 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.

The 7-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.

Key to the mission is raising India’s ranking as a supercomputing power. As such, the first machines built will be petascale supercomputers, the nation’s first, boosting high-performance computing for India several fold.

This is not India’s first attempt at supercomputing glory. In 2007, the Eka supercomputer was the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world and the fastest in Asia. Presently, India has nine systems on the Top-500 list, two in the Top-100.

India’s current top number-cruncher, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology’s iDataPlex, has a benchmarked performance of 719 teraflops, sufficient for a 52 ranking on the Top-500 list. The 388-teraflops (LINPACK) PARAM Yuva-II is the country’s second fastest. Unveiled by C-DAC in early 2013, the machine holds the 100th spot on the latest Top-500 list.

India would like to be competitive with the United States, the European Union, China and Japan when it comes to supercomputing prowess, but while those powers are jockeying to reach exascale, India is looking at fielding petascale machines in the same timeframe.


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