Bangalore, December 2 2014:
From Anand Parthasarathy
There is hardly any change in the Indian supercomputing scene after one year -- the same establishments and systems are to be found in the five top-ranked high performance computing systems located in India and finding a place in the global Top500 ranking of supercomputers announced last week.
In all there are 9 India-based systems in the list and together they represent just 1.8 percent of the total systems on the list. Just as a comparison, the US hosts nearly half the machines in the top 500 -- 45.4% to be exact. The world's fastest number cruncher is unchanged for the fourth time that the bi-annual rankings are declared: the Tianhe-2, developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology, retains its position as the world’s No. 1 system with a performance of 33.86 petaflop/sec (quadrillions of calculations per second). China now accounts for 12% of the computers in the fastest 500.
The no. 2 machine is almost half the speed of the Tainhe -2 , a Cray XK7 at the Oakridge National Laboratory in the US which clocked 17.59 petaflop/sec. The US which has slipped in recent years from its position at the top, announced thta it was committing $325m on two new supercomputers, and a further $100m on technology development, to put the USA back on the road to exascale computing.
India's fastest computing platform remains unchanged since this time last year -- an IBM computer at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune which clocked 719 teraflop/sec.
It is followed by another Pune system -- the Param Yuva II at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) with a rating of 520.4 teraflop/sec. It is the only computer that can be said to be an indigenously designed system. All the other 8 systems based in India are imports.
The next three India-based systems are located at IIT Kanpur ( HP cluster/ 344.3 Tflops), CSIR Fourth Paradigm Institute( HP Cluster/ 334.4 Tflops) and the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast, Delhi ( IBM/ 318.4 TFlops)
In January 2012, the then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a national supercomputing mission to be funded with Rs 50 billion with the aim to take Indian supercomputers to the peta flop league. Sadly very little has been done since then to translate this resolve into action and only a pittance of the promised money has actually been made available. Which is why India is still rooted in the tera flop era ( 1 peta flop = 1000 tera flop) when the world has moved into 30 peta flop systems and is already speaking of exaflop computers which are 1000 times faster than a petaflop.
Two Indian supercomputers have been left behind by the shifting goalposts of High performance computing and are now no longer in the Top 500: The (Tata) Computational Research Lab's Eka supercomputer in Pune and the Chennai-based Institute of Mathematical Studies' Kabru.
Tech note: FLOPS is an acronym meaning FLoating point OPerations per Second. It is a measure of a computer's performance, especially in fields of scientific calculations that make heavy use of floating point calculations, similar to the older, simpler, instructions per second.
Full list here
For list of 9 Indian supercomputers please see our Image of the Day section