Why in news? India is set to dramatically scale up its supercomputing prowess and install an 18-petaflop system over the course of this year.
What is petaflop?
- Flops (floating point operations per second) are an indicator of processing speed of computers and a petaflop refers to a 1,000 trillion flops.
- Processing power to such a degree greatly eases complex mathematical calculations required, for, among other things, forecasting how the weather will be over the next few days all the way up to two or three months ahead.
India’s current scenario
- Currently India’s most powerful, civilian supercomputers — Pratyush and Mihir — with a combined capacity of 6.8 petaflops are housed at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, and the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Noida, respectively.
- They were made operational in 2018. Both these organisations are affiliated to the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
- Every four or five years systems have to be upgraded. Our current high-performance computers allow us to map weather and climate changes to a resolution of 12X12 km
Imported from France
- The new supercomputers, yet to be named, are imported from French corporation, ATOS — an information technology service and consulting company.
- The Narendra Modi government had signed a deal in December 2018 with France to procure high-performance computers worth ₹4,500 crore by 2025.The new MoES computers are likely to cost ₹900 crore.
How can the new supercomputer be beneficial?
- With the new system, we can improve resolution to 6X6 km. This translates to greater clarity and more accurate local forecast.
- The goal is eventually to be able to represent an area by 1 km-square grids and that can be used to warn of cloudburst and such rapidly evolving weather systems.
Did you know??
- The fastest high-performance computing system in the world is currently the Frontier-Cray system at Oakridge National Laboratory, United States. This has a peak speed of one exa-flop (or about 1,000 petaflops).