Context: India is fast expanding its supercomputer facilities and developing the capacity to manufacture its own supercomputers in the country.

More on the news: The National SuperComputing Mission (NSM) is rapidly boosting high power computing in the country through its various phases to meet the increasing computational demands of academia, researchers, MSMEs, and startups.

About National SuperComputing Mission (NSM) :

  • Announced in 2015, with an aim to connect national academic and R&D institutions with a grid of more than 70 high-performance computing facilities at an estimated cost of ₹4,500 crores over the period of seven years.
    • The long-term plan is to build a strong base of 20,000 skilled persons over the next five years who will be equipped to handle the complexities of supercomputers.
  • It is jointly steered by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) and implemented by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.  
  • An effort to improve the number of supercomputers owned by India: These supercomputers will also be networked on the National Supercomputing grid over the National Knowledge Network (NKN). 
    • The NKN connects academic institutions and R&D labs over a high-speed network.
  • It supports the government's vision of Digital India and Make in India initiatives.
  • Convergence of High-Performance Computing (HPC) with Artificial Intelligence (AI) under NSM can help handle incredibly large-scale AI workloads increasing the speed of computing-related to AI several times.
  • Param Shivay, the first supercomputer assembled indigenously, was installed in IIT (BHU), followed by Param Shakti and Param Brahma at IIT-Kharagpur and IISER, Pune, respectively.
  • The mission will be implemented in three phases boosting research in areas like oil exploration, flood prediction as also genomics, and drug discovery.
  • Progress made: 
    • With the infrastructure planned in NSM Phase-I already installed and much of Phase-II in place, the network of supercomputers through the country will soon reach to around 16 Petaflops (PF). 
    • Phase-III, to be initiated in January 2021, will take the computing speed to around 45 Petaflops. 

Capacity building - Powered by the NSM: 

  • Scaling up the technology and manufacturing capability: Of Indian research institutions, in collaboration with the industry, to make more and more parts in India. 
  • India has developed an Indigenous server (Rudra): Which can meet the HPC requirements of all governments and PSUs. This is the first time that a server system was made in India, along with the full software stack developed by C-DAC.

Moving forward, we may soon have the motherboards and sub-systems manufactured in India, making the supercomputers indigenously designed and manufactured.

Image Source: PIB