India Planning to Deploy 10-Petaflop Supercomputer


India is getting ready to field the country’s most powerful supercomputer to date.  According to a report in The Hindu, the 10-petaflop system will be installed this June, returning India to the upper echelons of supercomputing.

The machine is to be jointly hosted by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune and the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting at Noida in Uttar Pradesh. Not surprisingly, the new system will be used mostly for weather modeling, but according to the report, also for non-meteorological research such as protein folding.

The Hindu quotes Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, who said the bid to select the vendor that will build the machine is ready to go, and they hope to have the computer in place by June.  The Indian government has allocated 400 crore or about $60 million for the project.

The upcoming 10-petaflop system promises to propel the nation back into the elite ranks of supercomputing stardom, something it has not enjoyed for a decade. The last time India had a top 10 system on the TOP500 list was 2007, when EKA, an HPC cluster from Hewlett Packard (now HPE) captured the number 4 spot.

 

SahasraT, Supercomputer Education and Research Centre

 

The most powerful Indian supercomputer today is SahasraT, a 1.2 petaflop (peak) system that can run Linpack at 901 teraflops. SahasraT is a Cray XC40 installed at the Supercomputer Education and Research Centre, as part of the Indian Institute of Science. SahasraT is currently ranked as number 133 on the TOP500, and is one of just four Indian supercomputers on the current list. From 2012 to 2015, India has made a more substantial showing, claiming between 9 and 12 such systems.

The new machine may get India back into the top 10, but it’s not a given.  The current 10th-ranked system on the TOP500 list is Trinity, an 11-petaflop (peak) supercomputer that eked out 8.1 teraflops on Linpack. Even if no new top systems show up on the June list, the Indian machine would have to have a very efficient Linpack run to make it a top 10 machine.

Last year,  the Indian government enacted a plan to build as many as 80 new supercomputer over the next seven years, allocating 4,500 crore for the effort.  Many of those future systems are supposed to be domestically produced. It’s not clear if this upcoming 10-petaflop system is part of that plan or funding allocation.

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