India set to build supercomputer grid


Determined to raise India’s ranking in the world of high-performance computers, the government is set to clear a Rs. 4,500-crore ($730 million) mission this month to build supercomputers nearly 40 times quicker than our fastest one.

A finance ministry panel mandated to clear all big-ticket investments recently okayed the National Supercomputing Mission, jointly steered by the department of science and technology and the department of electronics and information technology.

“The seven-year-long project would be placed before cabinet soon,” a top government source told HT.

 The mission intends to set up 73 supercomputing facilities on a buy-and-build approach at academic and research institutions across the country and network them into a grid. Three of them — the first ones to be set up over the first three years — would be India’s first supercomputers capable of peta-scale computing and would join a global league of just 37 such machines.

Peta-scale computing refers to the ability to add at least a quadrillion (1,000 trillion) real numbers in a second. “This speed is equivalent to 5,000-6,000 high-end laptops working in tandem,” said Professor Rajat Moona, director general of the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing that gave India her first supercomputer.

“This would boost high-performance computing for India several fold,” added K VijayRaghavan, secretary, science and technology department.

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