India wants to get ahead in the technological revolution. And just how will it manage this? By building a new supercomputer that aims to be 61 times faster than IBM Sequoia, currently the world's fastest.
According to reports, Telecom and IT Minister Kapil Sibal has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sharing the roadmap to develop “petaflop and exaflop range of supercomputers” at an estimated cost of Rs 4,700 crore over 5 years.
“In his (Sibal's) letter, he has said that C-DAC has developed a proposal with a roadmap to develop a petaflop and exaflop range of supercomputers in the country with an outlay of Rs 4,700 crore,” a government official said.
India's attempts at making the world's cheapest tablet, Aakash might not have been so successful thanks to in-fighting among the manufacturers and government agencies, but the government is clearly not disheartened and has moved on to bigger and more powerful projects.
So what will India have to beat as far current supercomputers go? The world's fastest supercomputer is the IBM Sequoia, which has a peak speed of 16.32 petaflops. The computer is based in Livermore, USA and consumes, nearly 7890.0 kW of electricity. According to the Top500 list, the Sequioa is one of the most energy efficient systems in the world.
But does India have a supercomputer in the current top ten list? No, India's highest ranked supercomputer in the 2012 list is the one at CSIR Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation in Bangalore which is ranked at 58. You can view the entire list of supercomputers for 2012 here.
As far as rivals go, China has 2 supercomputers in the top ten list for 2012. Tianhe — 1A at the National Supercomputing Center in Tianjin was the world's fastest super computer in 2010. The other Chinese computer in the 2012 list is Nebulae at the National Supercomputing Centre in Shenzhen which is at number 10.
Floating Operations per seconds (Flops or Flop) determines the time used by a computer to make heavy calculations. Exaflops are higher than petaflops and the Indian government claims that its five year project will be enough to build a range of supercomputers with processing speeds in petaflops and exaflops. Click here to know more about petaflops.
Hopefully this one won't be another failed IT project and India will finally get a supercomputer in the top ten.
Bonus read: Check out this super cool post from Wired about a dad who built a practical, homemade supercomputer using Lego and Raspberry Pis, which are small super-small Linux PCs.