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DATA STORY : Supercomputers

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Published: 20th Apr, 2022

A supercomputer is a computer with a high level of performance compared to a general-purpose computer. Performance of a supercomputer is measured in floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) instead of million instructions per second (MIPS). Supercomputers contain tens of thousands of processors and can perform billions and trillions of calculations or computations per second. Some supercomputers can perform up to a hundred quadrillion FLOPS.

Since information moves quickly between processors in a supercomputer (compared to distributed computing systems) they are ideal for real-time applications. Supercomputers are used for data-intensive and computation-heavy scientific and engineering purposes such as quantum mechanics, weather forecasting, oil and gas exploration, molecular modeling, physical simulations, aerodynamics, nuclear fusion research and cryptanalysis.

India is fast evolving as a frontrunner in high power computing with the National SuperComputing Mission (NSM) with Supercomputing infrastructure already installed in 10 premier institutions like IITs, IISc, IISER Pune, JNCASR Bengaluru, various C-DACs, NABI Mohali, and benefitting researchers from several other institutions too. The final stage installation work is being carried out in 5 more institutions.

This will not only help meet the increasing computational demands of academia, researchers, MSMEs, and startups in areas like oil exploration, flood prediction as well as genomics, and drug discovery, but also firm up indigenous capability of developing supercomputers.

As part of the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM), the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru has installed Param Pravega, one of the most powerful Indian supercomputers. Param Pravega having a supercomputing power of 3.3 petaflops is the largest supercomputer that has been installed in an Indian academic institution.

The National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) would be implemented jointly by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. The main objectives of the mission are:

  • Make India a world leader in HPC and to enhance the national capability in solving grand challenge problems of national and global relevance
  • Empower scientists & researchers with state-of-the-art compute facilities for their cutting-edge research in respective Domains
  • Reduce redundancies and avoid duplication of efforts and investments
  • Create an ecosystem for positioning India as a major power for supercomputing and attain global competitiveness and self-reliance in HPC.

This data story aims to highlight relevant statistics with respect to supercomputers.

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