Context: Recently, the high performance computing-artificial intelligence (HPC-AI) supercomputer -  Param Siddhi, has achieved global ranking of 63 in TOP 500 most powerful non-distributed computer systems in the world.

More on the news: The supercomputer was conceived by C-DAC and developed jointly with support of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) under National Supercomputing Mission (NSM).

Significance of this achievement:

  • Application in different areas: The AI system will strengthen application development in areas such as drug design and preventive health care system, flood forecasting package for flood prone metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Patna and Guwahati. 
  • Accelerate R&D in war against COVID-19: Through faster simulations, medical imaging, genome sequencing and forecasting and is a boon for Indian masses and for start-Ups and MSMEs in particular.
  • A historical first: As India today has one of the largest supercomputer infrastructures in the world and that is evidenced by the ranking that Param Siddhi-AI has received.
  • A step toward Atmanirbharta: Through Science Technology & Innovation.

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.
  • It is jointly steered by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) and Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • It is 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.

Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC):

  • It is an Indian autonomous scientific society, operating under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • It was created in 1987, originally as the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing Technology (C-DACT). 
  • This was in response to issues purchasing supercomputers from foreign sources. 
  • After being denied a supercomputer by the United States in 1987, due to military use concerns, India started a programme to develop an indigenous supercomputer and C-DAC was created as part of this programme. 
  • Supercomputers were considered a double-edged weapon capable of assisting in the development of nuclear weapons.