India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) Secretary Ashutosh Sharma announced that two more supercomputers, which are part of the Indian government's National Supercomputing Mission roadmap, will become functional in a few days. As reported by Indian newspaper Livemint, India's first supercomputer from the project is already functional at the Indian Intitute of Technology (IIT) Banaras Hindu University.
Param Shavak, India's first supercomputer Credit: CDAC
The National Supercomputing Mission aims to build 60 supercomputers, mostly with local technology, by 2022. The project is split into three main phases.
Phase one of the project includes integration and assembly at the motherboard level for the built supercomputers, according to Sharma. There are six supercomputers currently planned for phase one.
The second phase will begin next year and see the building of 10 more supercomputers, with most of the assembly and integration done in India.
In phase three, the rest of the supercomputers should be fully built in India with the exception of the processors, which will continue to be outsourced.
Sharma told reporters that the National Supercomputing Mission will cost Rs 4,500 crore ($633 million). The project is meant to boost Indian research, as well as national security, according to Sharma.
Milind Kulkarni, a senior scientist at DST, gave a few more details about the goal of the new supercomputers, which will create a National Knowledge Network between various research-focused universities:
“They would help improve weather services, disaster management, ensure faster processing of data, support computational biology, flood control and aid research in various disciplines," Kulkarni said.
He added that as many as 3,000 people were already trained to use the supercomputers, including from chemistry, physics, biology and computer programming backgrounds.
“So wherever they have been installed, they would be connected to all other institutions through the National Knowledge Network. So, if your university is part of the network, then anyone sitting on a desktop can make use of it, by seeking time to do the related high computing work," Kulkarni said.
Even though the current National Supercomputing Mission roadmap doesn’t include using processors made in India yet, the Indian government launched its very first RISC-V processor, Shakti, recently.
Going from building an experimental low-powered processor to building a supercomputer-grade CPU core should take some time. However, it’s clear that India has its eyes set on a super technological future.