Supercomputers have gained prominence across the world due to its immense contribution in multiple areas. Multiple sets of data and information may be analysed by supercomputers to provide potentially life-changing solutions. India's pursuit of supercomputing for use in weather forecasting began in the early 1980s.
The National Supercomputing Mission was announced in 2015 with the goal of connecting national academic and R&D institutions to a grid of more than 70 high-performance computing centres at an estimated cost of 4,500 crores over a seven-year timeframe. It will strengthen the government's 'Make in India' and 'Digital India' initiatives.
The mission is being carried out by the Department of Science and Technology (Ministry of Science and Technology) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), via the Centre for the Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) in Pune and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru.
In its third stage, the National Supercomputing Mission intends to boost India's supercomputing capabilities to 45 petaflops, which will comprise three systems with a capacity of 3 petaflops and one system with a capacity of 20 petaflops.
Progress so Far
Availability of such a supercomputer will accelerate the research and development activities in multidisciplinary domains of science and engineering with a focus to provide computational power to user community .
In 2019, NSM's first supercomputer, named Param Shivay, was installed at IIT-BHU in Varanasi. It has 837 TeraFlop High-Performance Computing (HPC) capacity.
At IIT-Kharagpur, a second supercomputer with a capacity of 1.66 PetaFlop has been installed.
IISER-Pune has installed the third system, Param Brahma, which has a capacity of 797 TeraFlop.
NSM has now deployed “PARAM Ganga”, a supercomputer at IIT Roorkee, with a supercomputing capacity of 1.66 Petaflops.
Objectives of the Mission
To make India one of the world leaders in Supercomputing and to enhance India’s capability in solving grand challenge problems of national and global relevance.
To empower scientists and researchers with state-of-the-art supercomputing facilities and enable them to conduct cutting-edge research in their respective domains.
To minimize redundancies and duplication of efforts, and optimize investments in supercomputing.
To attain global competitiveness and ensure self-reliance in the strategic area of supercomputing technology.
Supercomputers perform resource-intensive calculations that standard computers are unable to accomplish. They often execute the following engineering and computational sciences applications:
Weather forecasting to predict the impact of extreme storms and floods;
Soil and gas exploration to collect huge quantities of geophysical seismic data to aid in finding and developing oil reserves;
Molecular modelling for calculating and analysing the structures and properties of chemical compounds and crystals;
Physical simulations like modelling supernovas and the birth of the universe;
Aerodynamics such as designing a car with the lowest air drag coefficient;
Nuclear fusion research to build a nuclear fusion reactor that derives energy from plasma reactions;
Medical research to develop new cancer drugs, understand the genetic factors that contribute to opioid addiction and find treatments for COVID-19;
Next-gen materials identification to find new materials for manufacturing; and
Cryptanalysis to analyse cyphertext, cyphers and cryptosystems to understand how they work and identify ways of defeating them.