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Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar Unveils Supercomputer

Image credit: iitgn; Twitter

An 838 teraflops supercomputing facility, Param Ananta, has been set up at the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IIT-Gandhinagar) by the Centre for Development in Advanced Computing (C-DAC). The majority of the system’s hardware components as well as the software stack were developed, manufactured, and assembled in the country.

Param Ananta is equipped with a mix of CPU and GPU nodes, high memory nodes, high throughput storage, and a high-performance Infiniband interconnect. The system uses direct contact liquid cooling (DLC) technology to obtain high-power usage effectiveness, which reduces operational costs, a recent press release wrote. Several applications for scientific research in weather and climate, bioinformatics, computational chemistry, molecular dynamics, and material sciences have been installed on the system.

The release noted that the supercomputer will enable IIT-Gandhinagar to pursue research and development activities in multidisciplinary domains of science and technology, including, but not limited to:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data science
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • Bioengineering for genome sequencing and DNA studies
  • Computational biology and bioinformatics used to predict and detect gene networks
  • Atomic and molecular sciences that help understand how a drug binds to a particular protein
  • Climate change and environment studies to predict extreme weather and simulate models that can predict the onset of a cyclone
  • Energy studies to help carry out the design simulation and optimisation of energy conversion devices at various scales
  • Fire dynamics simulations
  • Nanotechnology and robotics
  • Applied mathematics and quantum mechanics
  • Astronomy and astrophysics
  • Material sciences
  • Studies on civil engineering and structural mechanics to understand the dynamic behaviour of buildings, bridges, and complex structures.

The facility is the result of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between IIT-Gandhinagar and C-DAC in 2020. A similar MoU was signed in 2019 between the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur (IIT-Kharagpur) and C-DAC to set up a petascale supercomputer, Param Shakti, at IIT-Kharagpur. The facility was officially unveiled in March of this year. OpenGov Asia had reported that the supercomputer has 17,680 CPU cores and 44 GPUs. The facility deployed an RDHX-based efficient cooling system that allows for high-power usage effectiveness. The system has been tested extensively by both IIT-Kharagpur and C-DAC for commercial, open-source, and in-house software for a variety of applications. Another supercomputer, Param Ganga, was set up at the Indian Institute of Technology in Roorkee (IIT-Roorkee). It has a supercomputing capacity of 1.66 petaflops.

These projects are a part of the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM), a joint initiative of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST). NSM was launched in 2015 and aims to empower national academic institutions across the country by installing a supercomputing grid comprising over 70 high-performance computing (HPC) facilities. The supercomputers will be networked on the grid over the National Knowledge Network (NKN). The NKN is a government programme that connects academic institutions and research and development labs over a high-speed network.

So far, 15 supercomputers have been installed across the nation with an aggregate computing capacity of 24 petaflops. All these supercomputers have been manufactured in India and operate on indigenously-developed software stacks.


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