The Indian government is keen on installing at least 70 supercomputers for high-level research in various parts of the nation. All of these will be linked via a grid connecting academic and R&D centers. The cost of the supercomputers project is estimated to run into Rs 4500 crores and has received the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs which is overseen by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi himself.
The mission is in line with the government’s Make in India and Digital India campaigns which are aimed at achieving unprecedented advancements in the manufacturing and IT sectors in the country. The Ministry of Science and Technology will sanction Rs 2800 crores out of the Rs 4500 crores for the super computers, while Rs 1700 crores will come from the IT department, says Communications and IT Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad.
India has 9 supercomputers and at spot number 74, ranks far behind China which is number 1. The new supercomputers will be able to help research in defense, biology, climate and other fields that require powerful processing muscle. The Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Department of Science and Technology as well as Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) will be involved in the mission.
Each computer is expected to perform at half a petaflop to 20 petaflops initially, with 1 petaflop standing for a quadrillion floating point operations per second. But all should be able to reach a processing speed of 50 petaflops. The supercomputers project will take at least 7 years to complete, says PTI. The ruling government has 4 more years to go before the next general elections. So let’s hope there won’t be any hiccups in the plan in case another party takes over.
Access to the array of 70 computers won’t be restricted to national institutions only. Even companies which have employed scientists for research will be able to make use of the supercomputers instead of sending teams abroad for research. India has several challenges to face in order to get this mission going including developing the required software and hardware as well as training personnel to run the machines.