Pratyush, India’s fastest supercomputer yet, was unveiled on Monday at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune, where it was inaugurated by Union Minister for Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan. Pratyush is a collection of several computers that can deliver a peak power of 6.8 petaflops, facilitating the weather forecasting and climate monitoring in the country.
India’s Pratyush is its first multi-petaflop supercomputer to date that is a part of the efforts made by Ministry of Earth Sciences to grow ‘High Performance Computing’ (HPC) in the country. According to a statement by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, the HPC in the country has grown from 40 teraflops in 2008 to 1 petaflops in the year 2013-14. In order to deliver a power peak of 6.8 petaflops, Pratyush supercomputer extracts 4 petaflops from IITM (Pune) and the remaining 2.8 petaflops from the National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (NCMRWF) situated at Noida.
Presently, India stands at a lower position in terms of HPC infrastructure rankings in the world. With the introduction of Pratyush, India hopes to move from the 368th position to gain a position in the top 30 in the Top500 list of HPC facilities in the world. “India will also be placed at the 4th position after Japan, UK, and USA for dedicated HPC resources for weather/climate community,” reads the statement issued by IITM.
The sole purpose of installing such a high-capacity supercomputer in India is to accelerate the weather forecasting in the country, primarily before the arrival of Monsoon season in India. In addition, Pratyush will monitor the onset of other natural calamities such as floods and Tsunami in the country. As a matter of fact, farmers will get a big relief as the unprecedented rainy season in India often results in a bad annual crop production.
The overall cost required to install and run Pratyush costs around Rs. 450 crores to the taxpayers of the country. “This increase in supercomputing power will go a long way in delivering various societal applications committed by MoES. This will also give a fillip to research activities not only in MoES but also in other academic institutions working on various problems related to Earth Sciences,” said IITM in its release.