India Hopes To Lead In Supercomputing Race; Plans For Exaflop Processor Range

Telecom and information technology minister Kapil Sibal wants India to have the best Supercomputer in the world by end of 2017. Accordingly, he has written a letter to PM Manmohan Singh jotting down the financial requirement for this ambitious 5 year plan.

 

Sibal estimates a total investment of Rs. 4,700 Crores (US$ 867 Million) spread over the next 5 years would enable India to develop a supercomputer that is 61 times faster than any of the rivals in existence today.  Currently, the worlds leading supercomputer is IBM’s Sequoia with a top computing speed of 16.32 Petaflops. In comparison, India’s present supercomputer can only process at the speed of 0.3 Petaflops. Indian Institute of Science (IIS) & Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will jointly develop the supercomputer capable of processing at the speed of 132.8 Exaflops. Since Exaflop is 1000 Petaflops, it would mean India’s supercomputer will be at least 100 Times more powerful than IBM’s Sequoia & 3000 Times faster than its own present iteration.

Why is Sibal concerned with building a computer with such a massive scale of operation?

The telecom industry is developing rapidly & more importantly it is spreading its footprint in the remote regions of the country. Where bulky equipment, be it for education or research, simply cannot be sent, these miniature devices are helping farmers in the rural areas tackle real-world & basic problems pertaining to irrigation & agriculture.

Supercomputers come in handy when calculating traffic & weather patterns, biological, bio-chemical, thermonuclear reactions, etc. Data from such researches can be used for the benefit of the common man. If backend processing can be shouldered by these machines, the delivery channel is already ready & practical / useable information can be made available. As information is useful, only when received in time, these supercomputer will help draw conclusions, which otherwise couldn’t have been drawn even months after their requirement is felt.

Besides, even private corporations around the world are developing their own super-computers. Needless to say, almost all of the ‘Cloud’ based apps are run by these big machines & only the output is sent to the remote recipient. Since the telecom ministry is set to gain a healthy cash infusion via the upcoming 2G auctions, it can easily afford the development costs.

Do you think telecom ministry should spearhead this development?

Image Courtesy | philip9876

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