Supercomputers have been used for the engineering and scientific applications which require a great amount of computation or must handle very large databases. A supercomputer has the resources, architecture, and components, which help it to achieve massive computing power. Today’s supercomputers consist of tens of thousands of processors, which are capable to perform billions and trillions of computations or calculations per second.

Supercomputer and its usages:

Primarily, Supercomputers are designed to be used in organizations and enterprises, which require massive computing power. This computer incorporates operational and architectural principles from grid and parallel processing. Although, supercomputers require substantial floor space and houses thousands of processors. This system contains most of the key components of a typical computer, including peripheral devices, a processor(s), connectors, an operating system, and applications.

Importance of Energy Consumption

In general, Supercomputers consume lots of energy, which produces immense heat. These systems are required to install necessary cooling technologies to negate this heat, and it makes them more expensive and costly to maintain. Hence, to encourage corporations and institutions to create more energy efficient supercomputers, that can deliver higher output and consume less power.

As of 2013, IBM Sequoia is the fastest supercomputer that has 98,000 processors, which allow it to process at a speed of 16,000 trillion calculations per second.

How supercomputers became a milestone in India?

Supercomputers use their efficiency and high computational speeds to help many sectors in our country, such as weather forecasting, scientific research, missile simulation, creating life-saving pharmaceutical drugs, understanding the creation of the universe, and much more. A concept called ‘parallel computing’ makes a Supercomputer “super”. Basically, parallel processing breaks up any tasks into smaller sections, which can be processed in parallel. And the final result is obtained by combining outputs from each processor.

In the late 1980s, the supercomputer effort began in India, when the US Govt. banned the export of Cray supercomputer because of continuing technology embargoes. The USA and some other European countries had developed supercomputers, during the 80s. But with those computers govt. faced a critical problem in developing satellites and nuclear weapons. These countries refused India to deliver the knowledge of creating supercomputers, fearing that, the developing nation might use it to design warplanes and missiles rather than forecast the weather.

When India faced a technology-denial regime that denied its scientific community access to supercomputers, they set up (C-DAC) or the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing in March 1988. It created with clear consent to develop an indigenous supercomputer, which can meet high-speed computational needs in solving scientific and other developmental problems where fast number crunching is a major component.

Vijay Bhatkar, the Man behind India’s first supercomputer ‘PARAM’

Vijay Bhatkar is a well-known computer scientist and the upcoming third chancellor of Nalanda University. He was also the former chair of IIT Delhi’s board of governors and the president of RSS-affiliated outfit Vijnana Bharati, which promotes ‘swadeshi’ science.

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, in his capacity as the Visitor of Nalanda University appointed Dr. Vijay P. Bhatkar for a three-year term with effect from January 25, 2017; as the Chancellor of Nalanda University. Vijay Bhatkar is famous as the architect of India’s first supercomputer Param 8000, and it was at his effort, initiative, and vision that several national institutions, notably amongst them being IIITM-K, I2IT, C-DAC, ER&DC, ETH Research Lab, MKCL and India International Multiversity, were created.

PARAM 8000 the supercomputer of India and how it’s amazed the World in 1991

The supercomputer of India, PARAM Yuva II has been ranked 44th in the prestigious Green500 List and it was declared at the SuperComputing Conference in Denver, Colorado. PARAM, created by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), is now India’s most power efficient computing system. In Sanskrit, Param means ‘Supreme’. And this Param 8000 is a series of gigaflop supercomputers that was designed and assembled by C-DAC in Pune, India. In 1991, Param 8000 was unveiled and became India’s first Super Computer which was 100% developed and designed in India.

The impact of Param 8000 on the modern technical field

In India, the name Centre for Development of Advanced Computing or C-DAC has become identical with supercomputers. It is a term which indicates any computing environment which makes use of high computational speeds, and advanced tools. C-DAC helps researchers in different fields such as weather forecasting, missile simulation, scientific R & D, space science, pharmaceutical research and much more.

The journey of Param 8000 began when the U.S. govt. denied exporting their Cray Supercomputers as they feared India might use it for Defense, Space, and Nuclear programs. So, in 1991 India Govt and C-DAC called for scientists from all over the country to work on the first supercomputer of India, Param 8000.

At first, everyone was in the doubt, but the extraordinary happened within three years when everyone involved working their socks off. Within the proposed deadline, C-DAC finally completed its work and bought off the shelves India’s first indigenous supercomputer, PARAM 8000.

The usage of PARAM:

In the latest series, Param Yuva II has developed at an expenditure of Rs 16 crore, which consumes 35% less energy and performs at a peak of 524 teraflops compared to the last of the series: Param Yuva. The whole design of Param Yuva II has been based around its usage in the fields of bioinformatics, weather forecasting, space, seismic data analysis, scientific data processing, aeronautical engineering, and pharmaceutical development along with assistance in nuclear technology as well. Via National Knowledge Network, Institutions such as IIT, IIM etc can link to it as well.

The Union Minister for Communications and Technology, Kapil Sibal, has congratulated C-DAC, Pune for creating such high performance yet low on energy consumption supercomputer in India, and said that Supercomputing is really important for the all-round advancement in the country, and for capacity-building, advanced research and development, the government is planning a big impetus in this area.

The Little Story of India’s First Indigenous Supercomputer

Nevertheless, it’s obvious that India needs to do better while showing great promise in the field of supercomputing. The government of India is working with the best motto and has initiated the Rs. 4,500-crore National Supercomputing Mission. In the country, the Government of India empowers an ambitious target of installing more than 70 high-performance computing facilities and these computers will be connected by the National Knowledge Network.