Supercomputer program of India was started in late 1980s because Cray supercomputers were denied for import due to an arms embargo imposed on India, as it could be used for developing nuclear weapons and it was a dual use technology.

Our normal computers have a single processor with multiple cores. Supercomputers are designed with a large number of processors.

Supercomputers, combined with artificial intelligence, are gradually emulating the human brain. But will they ever match the power of the brain?

Supercomputers are being used to understand the brain even, in some cases, by reverse engineering it. We can simulate the brain using supercomputers but the brain remains a mystery. Many functions of the brain will be mimicked by supercomputers but the brain will continue to remain a mystery for a long time to come.

What are supercomputers primarily used for in India?

Supercomputers are primarily used for weather forecasting, which requires a lot of computing power. They are also being used for oil exploration for companies like the  Indian Oil Corp.Ltd.   Climate modelling to detect trends like global warming is another area. Supercomputers are also needed for space programmes, nuclear reaction simulations, bio-technology and gene sequencing and a whole range of scientific applications (highly calculation-intensive tasks such as problems involving quantum physics, weather forecasting, climate research, molecular modelling and physical simulations). All these applications are connected by C-DAC on the national knowledge network (NKN) and use the grid computing model to fire the applications from anywhere while combining the computing power from these different groups. This has been taking place since 2005 when the grid was introduced.

 PARAM:

 Vijay Pandurang Bhatkar one of India’s most acclaimed scientists, is best known as the architect of India’s first supercomputer—PARAM 8000. The PARAM series of supercomputers have been designed and assembled by the Pune-based Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), of which Bhatkar was the founder executive director. He is also credited with the creation of several national institutions, including the Electronics Research and Development Centre (ER&DC) in Thiruvananthapuram, the ETH Research Laboratory in Pune, the International Institute of Information Technology (I2IT), also in Pune, and the India International Multiversity. With the help of this Pune-based varsity, Bhatkar aims to resurrect India’s ancient ‘Gurukul’ system of learning that originated in the Vedic times.

The Param Yuva, which is the predecessor version of the Yuva II, has a peak speed of 54 Teraflops.Param Yuva-II, which is claimed to be India’s fastest supercomputer, has been unveiled in Pune. The Param-Yuva-II is developed by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC). 

Fig1:

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The entire project is said to have involved around 300 CDAC engineers. The Param Yuva-II is also said to be a milestone in the Indian Information Technology industry.

SAGA 220:

Indian Space Research Organisation unveiled a supercomputer on 2 May 2011, which is to be India’s fastest supercomputer in terms of theoretical peak performance of 220 TeraFLOPS (220 Trillion Floating Point Operations per second). The supercomputing facility named as Satish Dhawan Supercomputing Facility is located at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram. The supercomputer SAGA-220 was inaugurated by Dr K Radhakrishnan, Chairman, ISRO at VSSC. 

Fig2:

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The new Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) based supercomputer named SAGA-220 (Supercomputer for Aerospace with GPU Architecture-220 TeraFLOPS) will be used by space scientists for solving complex aerospace problems. 

 

EKA:
 
EKA is a supercomputer built by the Computational Research Laboratories (a subsidiary of Tata Sons) with technical assistance and hardware provided by Hewlett-Packard. EKA uses 14,352 cores based on the Intel QuadCore Xeon processors. The primary interconnect is Infiband 4x DDR. EKA occupies about 4000 sq. feet area.

Fig3.

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With India making a mark in every sector of the technology field, the country has shown its importance in the supercomputing race too. Eight of the top 500 supercomputers are of India with Tata Group’s Eka, a Hewlett Packard (HP) based system leading the race in the 13th rank.

 

VIRGO:

TOP500, a global project that details the most powerful known computer systems in the world, has ranked the new IBM Virgo Super Cluster at IIT-Madras as the 224th in the top 500. If a normal desktop CPU requires power of 300 units, this cluster works on 120 Kilo units per hour and is spread across 36 sq m.

Fig4.

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PRITHIVI:

Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, has a 45 terraflop/s machine, called Prithvi, which is being used for climate research and operational forecasting.

India’s Top 15 super computers

Pune has 3 out of the top 6 computers in India, while IBM leads in the number of super computers in the list with 6 systems, followed by HP with 5 systems, and SGI with 3 systems.

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EKA is also the nearly 4 times faster than 2nd places super-computer developed by CDAC, Pune.

As of November 2012, India has 8 systems on the Top500 list ranking 82, 127, 186, 199, 200, 288, 364 and 386.

Rank

Site

Name

Rmax
(TFlop/s)

Rpeak
(TFlop/s)

82

Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation

303.9

360.8

127

Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, ISRO

SAGA-220

188.7

394.8

186

Computational Research Laboratories

EKA

132.8

172.6

199

Semiconductor Company

129.2

182.0

200

Semiconductor Company

129.2

182.0

288

IT Services Provider

104.2

199.7

364

Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

Virgo

91.1

97.8

386

IT Services Provider

88.5

168.1

   
 
 

 

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