The Param Pravega is one of the most powerful supercomputers in India, and the largest in an academic institution.
The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) at Bengaluru has installed and commissioned Param Pravega, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the country, and the largest in an Indian academic institution. The system has been set up under the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM), which is steered jointly by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
The supercomputer, which is expected to power diverse research and educational pursuits, has a total supercomputing capacity of 3.3 petaflops (1 petaflop equals a quadrillion or 1,015 operations per second). It has been designed by the Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). A majority of the components used to build this system have been manufactured and assembled within the country, along with an indigenous software stack developed by C-DAC, in line with the Make in India initiative.
The NSM is implemented by C-DAC and IISc. It has supported the deployment of 10 supercomputer systems so far at IITs, IISER Pune, JNCASR, and NABI-Mohali, besides IISc and C-DAC, with a cumulative computing power of 17 petaflops.
These systems have helped faculty members and students carry out major R&D activities, including developing platforms for genomics and drug discovery, studying urban environmental issues, establishing flood warning and prediction systems, and optimizing telecom networks. About 31,00,000 computational jobs have successfully been carried out by around 2,600 researchers across the country to date.
A press release from IISc noted that the Param Pravega system at IISc is a mix of heterogeneous nodes, with Intel Xeon Cascade Lake processors for the CPU nodes and NVIDIA Tesla V100 cards on the GPU nodes. The hardware consists of an ATOS BullSequana XH2000 series system, with a comprehensive peak compute power of 3.3 petaflops. The software stack on top of the hardware is provided and supported by C-DAC. The machine hosts an array of program development tools, utilities, and libraries for developing and executing High Performance Computing (HPC) applications.
IISc already has a cutting-edge supercomputing facility established several years ago. The Institute had in 2015 procured and installed SahasraT, which was at that time the fastest supercomputer in the country.
Faculty members and students have been using it to carry out research in various areas. These include research on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, such as modelling viral entry and binding, studying interactions of proteins in bacterial and viral diseases, and designing new molecules with antibacterial and antiviral properties.
In addition. researchers have used the facility to simulate turbulent flows for green energy technologies, study climate change and associated impacts, analyze aircraft engines and hypersonic flight vehicles, and many other research activities. These efforts are expected to ramp up significantly with Param Pravega.