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petaFLOP Supercomputers

  • 27 May 2023
  • 3 min read

Why in News?

India is set to introduce 18 new petaFLOP supercomputers dedicated to weather forecasting, aiming to enhance the accuracy and resolution of weather predictions.

  • These state-of-the-art machines will significantly improve forecasting capabilities at the block level, predict cyclones with greater accuracy and lead time, and provide detailed ocean state forecasts.

What are FLOPs in computing?

  • About:
    • FLOPs, or Floating-Point Operations per Second, is a metric used to measure computational performance and efficiency in high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI).
    • Floating-point operations involve mathematical calculations with real numbers that have fractional parts.
    • Using floating-point encoding, extremely long numbers can be handled relatively easily.
  • Significance:
    • FLOPs are not the sole metric to evaluate a computer's performance. Factors like memory bandwidth, latency, and architectural features also contribute.
      • However, FLOPs provide a baseline for comparing computational capabilities, particularly in tasks dominated by floating-point calculations.
  • Unit of Computing Speed:
    • Teraflops:
      • It is a unit of computing speed equal to one million million (1 trillion) (10^12) FLOPS.
    • Petaflops:
      • It is a unit of computing speed equal to 1000 TFLOPS (10^15).
    • Exaflops:
      • It is a unit of computing speed equal to one billion billion (10^18) FLOPS.
  • India's Current Usage of petaFLOPs:
    • The National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) houses 'Mihir,' a 2.8 petaFLOP supercomputer, while the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) houses 'Pratyush,' a 4.0 petaFLOP supercomputer.
    • These existing supercomputers, launched in 2018, will be decommissioned once the new petaFLOP supercomputers are introduced.
    • As per the agreement, NCMRWF will receive eight PFLOPs of computing power, while the remaining ten PFLOPs will be allocated to IITM, catering to their specific weather forecasting requirements.
    • India’s first supercomputer called PARAM 8000 was launched in 1991.


  • The world’s fastest computer in terms of PFLOPs is the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Frontier, or OLCF-5 with the capability to touch a peak performance of 1,685.65.
  • Airawat PSAI stands as India's largest and fastest AI supercomputing system, with a remarkable speed of 13,170 teraflops.

Source: IE

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