Which Is India’s First Super Computer
India’s journey into supercomputing began in 1991 with the unveiling of the PARAM 8000, the nation’s first indigenously built supercomputer. Developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), the PARAM 8000 was a technological marvel that propelled India into the elite club of countries with supercomputing capabilities.
What is a Supercomputer?
Before we dive deeper into the story of the PARAM 8000, let’s first understand what exactly is a supercomputer.
A supercomputer is an extremely powerful computer system with unprecedented processing power and speed. It can perform calculations and process data at a rate much faster than even the best conventional personal computers. For perspective, if a standard laptop today has a processing power of 1 GFLOPS (billion floating point operations per second), a supercomputer’s processing power starts from a few TFLOPS (trillion floating point operations per second) and goes up to nearly 1 PFLOPS (a quadrillion floating point operations per second)!
Supercomputers are use to solve complex scientific and engineering problems through modeling, simulations and analysis that involve huge amounts of data and calculations that not feasible on normal computers. Fields like weather forecasting, aerodynamic modeling, molecular modeling, physics simulations, oil and gas exploration etc rely heavily on the power of supercomputers.
List of India’s Supercomputers
After the PARAM 8000, India kept making more powerful super computers:
- 1992: PARAM 8600 built, 60 times faster than PARAM 8000
- 1998: PARAM 9000 built, 133 times faster
- 2002: PARAM Padma built, 1000 times faster
- 2017: PARAM Yuva II built
- 2022: PARAM Siddhi-AI, fastest ever Indian super computer
Thanks to these super computers, India’s science and technology improved greatly.
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History of the PARAM 8000
The PARAM 8000 has a fascinating history behind it. In the 1980s, India was facing difficulties in importing high-end computers and supercomputers from the USA due to various technology sanctions and export control regimes in place at that time. This severely hampered technological progress in strategic areas that relied on high performance computing.
To overcome this challenge and build an indigenous supercomputing capability, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) was set up in 1988 under the leadership of Dr. Vijay Bhatkar. The objective was to develop an indigenous supercomputer matching the best machines available at that time.
A dedicated team of Indian scientists, engineers and technicians worked round the clock for 3 years braving tremendous odds and resource constraints. They used their deep technical expertise in parallel processing and networking to build the PARAM 8000 brick-by-brick, chip-by-chip.
Finally on July 1, 1991, the PARAM 8000 unveiled. With a peak processing power of 1 GFLOPS, it was among the most powerful parallel processing systems in the world then. The development of PARAM 8000 seen as major achievement for India’s technological capabilities.
How does a Supercomputer Work?
Unlike conventional personal computers that rely on a single central processor, supercomputers gain their unmatched computational power by using a massively parallel Architecture. Here are some key aspects:
- Thousands of Processors: Supercomputers contain a large number of Processors that can work simultaneously on a problem. This allows them to achieve mind-boggling speeds.
- Interconnection networks: The processors are interconnected to coordinate and transfer data to each other rapidly through high-speed cables and connectivity networks.
- Parallel Programming: The software programs are written in a way to divide the problem across processors for concurrent processing.
- Cooling Systems: Special Cooling mechanisms using liquid cooling are used to prevent the processors from overheating.
By leveraging parallelization across thousands of processors, optimized interconnections and efficient software, supercomputers can solve problems hundreds and thousands times faster than normal computers.
Benefits and Importance of Supercomputers
Supercomputers provide immense computing power to solve grand-challenge scientific problems that are critical for national growth and progress. Some key benefits and applications are:
- Weather and Climate modeling: Better forecasts through accurate simulations of atmosphere, ocean, and land dynamics. Helps in disaster management.
- Bioinformatics and Drug Design: DNA/Protein analysis and molecular modeling for advanced healthcare solutions.
- Aerospace Engineering: Design and simulation of aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles using computational fluid dynamics.
- Oil Exploration: Analyzing seismic data to discover new hydrocarbon reserves.
- Academic Research: Support path-breaking research in physics, chemistry, biology, etc through modeling and simulation.
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India's First Supercomputer
- Who is the father of the first supercomputer in India?Dr. Vijay Bhatkar is considered the architect and father of India's first supercomputer PARAM 8000. He provided the visionary leadership in developing the system.
- What is the name of the first supercomputer?The first supercomputer developed in India is named PARAM 8000
- Which is India's fastest supercomputer currently?As of 2022, PARAM Siddhi-AI is the fastest supercomputer built in India, with a peak performance of 5 PetaFLOPS (PFLOPS)
- Who funded and managed the development of India’s first supercomputer?The first supercomputer PARAM 8000 was fully funded and executed by C-DAC, an autonomous scientific society operating under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India.