Monday, May 30, 2011
The Indian Government has committed Rs 10,000 crore which is a little more than USD 2 Billion to indigenously develop the world’s fastest supercomputer by 2017. The Planning Commission of India has agreed to provide the funds to the Indian Space Research Organsiation (ISRO) and to the Indian Institute of Science (IIS), Bangalore to develop a supercomputer with a performance of 132.8 exaflops (132 quintillion floating operations per second). A quintillion has 18 zeros (a million has six).
In computing, flops is an acronym to measure computing performance. An average personal computer can go up to 7.5 gigaflops.
The current world’s fastest supercomputer is a Chinese one, which can do 2.7 pentaflops, or two quadrillion flops. A quadrillion has 15 zeros.
In 2007, India had the world’s fourth fastest indigenously-developed supercomputer with a performance of 172.5 teraflops (172 trillion flops), which has been enhanced this month to 220 teraflops. That’s still a level lower than China’s supercomputer.
The Indian supercomputer will not be used only for enhancing the country’s space abilities, it will also be used to predict monsoon and precise weather inputs to boost agricultural output of the country. The target being set by India is very ambitious while referring to achieving the ‘EXAFLOP’ or the next level of computing performance by 2017. ISRO has indeed planned everything very carefully to set such a target for itself.
The Indian Governments’s willingness to provide Rs 10,000 crore for having the ‘EXA’ level of supercomputing facility is a real coming of age for India. At a time when the west is cutting down their annual budgets, India is steaming ahead with it’s enormous spending power.
ISRO has already booked key equipments to develop the supercomputer by 2017. Most of the other gadgets will be indigenously developed in India. Supercomputing is key to competing in the international space market.