India’s National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) was set up to provide the country with supercomputing infrastructure to meet increasing computational demands of academia, researchers, MSMEs, and start-ups.
The mission aims to create designs and manufacture supercomputers indigenously in India.
According to a press release, 2020 will be an important year for the mission. In a first-of-its-kind attempt to boost the country’s computing power, the NSM is run jointly by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) and the 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.
The objective of the mission was set to establish a network of supercomputers ranging from a few teraflops (TF) to hundreds of teraflops and three systems with greater than or equal to 3 petaflops (PF) in academic and research institutions of national importance across the country by 2022.
This network of supercomputers, envisaging a total of 15-20 PF, was approved in 2015 and was later revised to a total of 45 PF (45,000 TF). This is a jump of 6 times more computing power within the same cost but with the capability of solving larger and more complex computational problems.
With the revised plan in place, the first supercomputer assembled indigenously, called Param Shivay, was installed in IIT (BHU) and was inaugurated by the Prime Minister. Similar systems like Param Shakti and Param Brahma were installed at IIT-Kharagpur and IISER, Pune.
They are equipped with applications in areas like weather and climate, computational fluid dynamics, bioinformatics, and material science.
Plans are afoot to install three more supercomputers by April 2020, one each at IIT-Kanpur, the JN Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru, and IIT-Hyderabad. This will ramp up the supercomputing facility to 6 PF.
Eleven new systems are likely to be set up in different IITs, NITs, National Labs, and IISERs across India by December this year. Several sub-systems and microprocessors will be designed and manufactured in the country, which will bring in a cumulative capacity of 10.4 PF.
Spreading out the reach to the north-east region of the country, eight systems with a total computing power of 16 PF are being commissioned.
Five indigenously designed systems with three 3 PF computing power will be installed at IIT-Mumbai, IIT-Chennai, and the Inter-University Accelerator Centre (IUAC) at Delhi.
It also includes an indigenously build 20 PF system at C-DAC, Pune, and a 100 PF artificial intelligence (AI) supercomputing system. One midlevel 650 TFs system will also be installed at C-DAC. Bengaluru to provide consultancy to start-ups and MSMEs.
To provide supercomputing facilities to about 60-70 institutions nation-wide and more than thousands of active researchers and academicians, the NSM has gathered momentum and is moving quickly towards creating a robust computing infrastructure.