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National Supercomputing Mission

  • 24 Feb 2022
  • 4 min read

For Prelims: Param Pravega, Supercomputer, National Supercomputing Mission, National Knowledge Network (NKN).

For Mains: National Supercomputing Mission, IT and Computers, Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology.

Why in News?

Recently, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru installed the supercomputer 'Param Pravega'. It has a supercomputing capacity of 3.3 petaflops.

  • It has been installed under the government’s National Supercomputing Mission.
  • The National Supercomputing Mission is intended to indigenise the development and manufacturing of powerful computers.

What is a Supercomputer?

  • A supercomputer is a computer that performs at or near the currently highest operational rate for computers.
  • Generally, PETAFLOP is a measure of a Supercomputer’s processing speed and can be expressed as a thousand trillion floating point operations per second.
    • FLOPS (floating point operations per second) are typically used to measure the performance of a computer’s processor.
    • Using floating-point encoding, extremely long numbers can be handled relatively easily.
  • Supercomputers are primarily designed to be used in enterprises and organizations that require massive computing power.
    • For example: weather forecasting, scientific research, intelligence gathering and analysis, data mining etc.
  • Globally, China has the maximum number of supercomputers and maintains the top position in the world, followed by the US, Japan, France, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
  • India’s first supercomputer was PARAM 8000.
  • PARAM Shivay, the first supercomputer assembled indigenously, was installed in IIT (BHU), followed by PARAM Shakti, PARAM Brahma, PARAM Yukti, PARAM Sanganak at IIT-Kharagpur, IISER, Pune, JNCASR, Bengaluru and IIT Kanpur respectively.
  • In 2020, PARAM Siddhi, the High-Performance Computing-Artificial Intelligence (HPC-AI) supercomputer, achieved global ranking of 62nd in Top 500 most powerful supercomputer systems in the world.

What is the National Supercomputing Mission?

  • In 2015, the National Supercomputing Mission was launched to enhance the research capacities and capabilities in the country by connecting them to form a Supercomputing grid, with National Knowledge Network (NKN) as the backbone.
    • The NKN project is aimed at establishing a strong and robust Indian network which will be capable of providing secure and reliable connectivity.
  • It supports the government's vision of 'Digital India' and 'Make in India' initiatives.
  • The Mission is being jointly steered by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
    • It is implemented by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune, and the IISc, Bengaluru.
  • The mission was planned in three phases:
    • Phase I looking at assembling supercomputers,
    • Phase II looking at manufacturing certain components within the country.
    • Phase III where a supercomputer is designed by India.
  • An indigenously developed server platform called ‘Rudra’ is being tried out in a pilot system, with an interconnect for inter node communication called Trinetra also having been developed.

Source: IE

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