India will soon acquire its fastest supercomputer worth Rs. 900 crore that is expected to be operational by March next year. With the acquisition, India will get the weather monitoring mechanism with the highest resolution of probabilistic forecast, said Earth Sciences Minister Kiren Rijiju on May 24.
The country is set to scale up its super-computing prowess significantly and install an 18-petaflop system over the course of this year. The ‘flops’ stand for floating point operations per second, and are an indicator of computers’ processing speed. A petaflop is equal to 1,000 trillion flops. Processing power to such a degree tremendously eases complex mathematical calculations needed, for weather forecasting, among other things.
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 (IITM), Pune, and the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Noida, respectively. The computers were made operational in 2018 at an investment of ₹438 crore.
The new supercomputer will have nearly thrice the capability of India’s current fastest supercomputer, the Cray XC-40 supercomputer, Mihir. The new computer can improve forecasting from 12 to 6 kilometers, said Rijiju, while speaking to the media during his visit to the NCMRWF.