National Supercomputing Mission (NSM): India to Manufacture its own Super-Computers

National Super Computing Mission is a seven-year-old mission aims to establish supercomputers at academic and research institutions and to connect them with National Knowledge Network (NKN). Launched in 2015 by Govt of India, the National Super Computing Mission is implemented and steered jointly by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) and Department of Science and Technology (DST).  The second phase of NSM was launched by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) by mid-October 2020.

  • Launched and Implemented by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) and Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • Ministries Involved: Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology  (MeitY) and Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • Nodal Agencies:  Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune and Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), Bengaluru.

Objectives of the National Supercomputing Mission

  • To make India one of the world leaders in Supercomputing and to enhance India’s capability in solving grand challenge problems of national and global relevance
  • To empower our scientists and researchers with state-of-the-art supercomputing facilities and enable them to carry out cutting-edge research in their respective domains
  • To minimize redundancies and duplication of efforts, and optimize investments in supercomputing
  • To attain global competitiveness and ensure self-reliance in the strategic area of supercomputing technology

Phases and Capacity building by National Supercomputing Mission

  • Phase-I –  ramping up high power computing speed to 6.6 PF under Phase-1.
  • Phase-II -8 more institutions will be equipped with supercomputing facilities by April 2021, with a total of 10 PF compute capacity. 
  • Phase-III – It will start in 2021 and will include three systems of 3 PF each and one system of 20PF as a national facility.
  • The three phases will provide access to High-Performance Computing (HPC) Facilities to around 75 institutions and more than thousands of active researchers, academicians working through Nation Knowledge Network (NKN) – the backbone for supercomputing systems.
  • HPC and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have converged together. A 100 AI PF Artificial Intelligence supercomputing system is being created and installed in C-DAC, which can handle incredibly large-scale AI workloads increasing the speed of computing-related to AI several times.
  • The mission has also created the next generation of supercomputer experts by training more than 2400 supercomputing manpower and faculties till date.

Access to Higher Computing Power

  • The Mission target is to set up very powerful supercomputers having computing power from a mere few TF (Tera Flops) to Hundreds of TF (Tera Flops) and to have 3 supercomputers with higher than or equal to 3 PF (Peta Flops) of processing power linked to academic and premiere research institutions of India by 2022.
  • IN 2015, approval was given for 15-20 Peta Flops supercomputing network. And, it was further revised upward to whooping 45 Peta Flops, almost six times more powerful computing that too within the same cost. It will result in higher capabilities in solving complex and very large computational problems.
  • The mission aims to take the total number of Supercomputers in India to at least 19 by investing Rs. 4500 Crores.

Phase II of National Super Computing Mission Begins : Building Indigenous Capability

  • Powered by the NSM, India’s network of research institutions, in collaboration with the industry is scaling up the technology and manufacturing capability to make more and more parts in India. While in Phase-I, 30 per cent value addition is done in India, that has been scaled up to 40 per cent in Phase-II.
  • Establishment of Supercomputing Infrastructure with Assembly and Manufacturing of Critical Components at:
  • Establishing NSM Nodal Centres for Training at :
  • Efforts are being made to design and develop parts like server board, interconnect, processor, system software libraries, storage, and HPC-AI converged accelerator domestically.
  • Experts said that the pace at which things are moving forward, we may soon have the motherboards and sub-systems manufactured in India, making the supercomputers indigenously designed and manufactured.


Application areas for Supercomputers in India

  • Climate Modelling
  • Weather Prediction
  • Aerospace Engineering including CFD, CSM, CEM
  • Computational Biology
  • Molecular Dynamics
  • Atomic Energy Simulations
  • National Security/ Defence Applications
  • Seismic Analysis
  • Disaster Simulations and Management
  • Computational Chemistry
  • Computational Material Science and Nanomaterials
  • Discoveries beyond Earth (Astrophysics)
  • Large Complex Systems Simulations and Cyber Physical Systems
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Finance
  • Information repositories/ Government Information Systems

This article on National Supercomputing Mission aims to educate and update the user on the current happening in Science and Technology in India.

Rajat Jhingan

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