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Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee Installs Supercomputer

Under the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM), the Indian Institute of Technology in Roorkee (IIT-Roorkee) has deployed Param Ganga, a new supercomputer. It has a supercomputing capacity of 1.66 petaflops (a measure of a computer’s processing speed). One petaflop equals quadrillion (thousand trillion) floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) or a thousand teraflops. It is expected to accelerate research and development and provide computational power to the IIT-Roorkee community and neighbouring academic institutions.

The system was designed and commissioned by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), under the second phase of the NSM. NSM is being run jointly by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST). C-DAC and the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore (IISc) are the agencies in charge of implementation. NSM has three phases. Phase I included assembling supercomputers, Phase II was manufacturing certain components within the country, and Phase III is indigenously developing a supercomputer. C-DAC is building an indigenous supercomputing ecosystem. It developed the compute server Rudra, and high-speed interconnect Trinetra, which are the major sub-assemblies required for supercomputers.

As per media reports, a large number of the system’s components utilised were manufactured and assembled within the country, including an indigenous software stack developed by C-DAC. The MeitY said that this is in line with the government’s Make-in-India initiative, which aims to foster innovation and production in the country. Under the NSM, India plans to build and deploy 24 facilities with a cumulative computing power of more than 64 petaflops. Till now, C-DAC has deployed 11 systems at IISc, IITs, the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER Pune), the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI-Mohali), and C-DAC. Under phases one and two of the mission, the government set up a cumulative computing power of more than 20 petaflops. So far, a total of 3.6 million computational jobs have been completed by around 3,600 researchers across the country on NSM systems.

According to MeitY, some of the large-scale applications that are being developed under the mission include:

  • NSM platform for genomics and drug discovery.
  • Urban Modelling: science-based decision support frameworks to address urban environment issues (meteorology, hydrology, air quality).
  • Flood early warning and prediction systems for the river basins of India.
  • High-performance computing (HPC) software suite for seismic imaging to aid oil and gas exploration.
  • MPPLAB: telecom network optimisation.

Last month, IISc set up one of the country’s most powerful supercomputers and the largest in an Indian academic institution. The supercomputer, called Param Pravega, is expected to power diverse research and educational pursuits. It has a total supercomputing capacity of 3.3 petaflops. Like Param Ganga, C-DAC designed the supercomputer. The majority of the system’s components were manufactured and assembled in India. Also, the software stack that it runs on was indigenously developed by C-DAC.

OpenGov Asia had reported that the machine hosts an array of programme development tools, utilities, and libraries for developing and executing HPC applications. The node configuration of Param Pravega includes two master nodes, 11 login nodes, two firewall nodes, four management nodes, one NIS slave, and 624 (CPU + GPU) compute nodes. These nodes have been further subdivided into three categories: regular CPU nodes, high-memory CPU nodes, and GPU nodes. All the nodes in the system are connected using a FAT-tree topology with a 1:1 subscription ratio. It is also augmented with 4-petabyte parallel storage for parallel file system access.

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