Focus: GS III- Science and Technology
Why in News?
Param Ananta, a state-of the art Supercomputer was commissioned at IIT Gandhinagar.
- Param Ananta is capable of offering peak performance of 838 teraflops.
- It is a joint initiative of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and Department of Science and Technology (DST).
- This facility is established under Phase 2 of the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM).
- The system is equipped with a mix of CPU nodes, GPU nodes, High Memory nodes, High throughput storage and high performance Infiniband.
- The supercomputer will rank behind C-DAC’s Param Siddhi-AI, which as of November 2021 was the 102nd most powerful supercomputer in the world — with peak performance capability of 3.3 petaflops.
What are supercomputers?
- A supercomputer can perform high-level processing at a faster rate when compared to a normal computer.
- Supercomputers are made up of hundreds or thousands of powerful machines which use better artificial intelligence (AI) models to improve operations that process huge amounts of data in less time than normal computers.
- They work together to perform complex operations that are not possible with normal computing systems.
- Supercomputers require high-speed and specialised chip architectures.
- Supercomputers are generally intended for usage in businesses and organisations that demand a significant amount of processing power.
- Weather forecasting, scientific research, intelligence collecting and analysis, data mining, and so on are examples.
- China has the most supercomputers in the world and continues to be the leader, followed by the United States, Japan, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
- PARAM 8000 was India’s first supercomputer.
What is a Petaflop?
- A petaflop is a measure of a computer’s processing speed and can be expressed as a thousand trillion Floating-Point Operations Per Second (FLOPS).
- 103 = kilo, 106 = mega, 109 = giga, 1012 = tera, 1015 = peta, 1018 = exa, 1021 = zetta and 1024 = yotta.
- In computing, floating-point operations per second is a measure of computer performance, useful in fields of scientific computations that require floating-point calculations.
- For such cases, it is a more accurate measure than measuring instructions per second.
- There is no general direct translation between processor clock rate (expressed as Hertz – usually MHz or GHz) and number of floating point operations per second (FLOPS).
What is National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)?
- The mission was set up to provide the country with supercomputing infrastructure to meet the increasing computational demands of academia, researchers, MSMEs, and startups by creating the capability design, manufacturing, of supercomputers indigenously in India.
- The mission will nationally coordinate collaborative programme involving developers and users of supercomputing systems as well as academic and research institutions.
- It looks to facilitate effective governance and monitoring mechanisms to build culture of supercomputing for solving complex R&D problems and designing solutions addressing various country specific requirements for scientific, strategic and societal applications.
- The Mission envisages empowering our national academic and R&D institutions spread over the country by installing a vast supercomputing grid comprising of more than 70 high-performance computing facilities.
- These supercomputers will also be networked on the National Supercomputing grid over the National Knowledge Network (NKN).
- The NKN is a central government initiative which connects academic institutions and R&D labs over a high-speed network.
- Under NSM, the long-term plan is to build a strong base of 20,000 skilled persons.
- The mission will be implemented by the Department of Science and Technology (Ministry of Science and Technology) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), through the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.