India Launches Petascale ‘PARAM Ganga’ Supercomputer

By Oliver Peckham

March 8, 2022

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Indian government promised that it had five HPC systems in the final stages of installation and would launch nine new supercomputers this year. Now, it appears to be making good on that promise: the country’s National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) has announced the deployment of “PARAM Ganga” petascale supercomputer at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee.

PARAM Ganga

The new system, designed and commissioned by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) under the auspices of the NSM, will offer 1.66 (presumably peak) petaflops. PARAM Ganga is already operational, and was inaugurated yesterday with a host of officials from Indian tech institutions involved in the NSM. The supercomputer, they said, would support the user community of IIT Roorkee and neighboring institutions.

Interestingly, the release also says that “substantial components utilized to build this system are manufactured and assembled within India along with an indigenous software stack developed by C-DAC,” supporting the NSM’s goal of advancing an indigeneous supercomputing supply chain in India.

The system’s components remain unenumerated, but Aninews.in reported that, during the inauguration, B. V. R. Mohan Reddy — chairman of the Board of Governors for IIT Roorkee — said that “the critical components of PARAM Ganga, such as motherboards for compute nodes and direct-contact liquid cooling datacenters, are manufactured in India as per the Government of India initiative of Atmanirbhar Bharat.” (“Atmanirbhar Bharat” translates to “self-reliant India.”)

It is unclear whether these components include India’s homegrown “Rudra” server platform or its “Trinetra” high-speed interconnect.

This new release says that the NSM “plans to build and deploy 24 facilities with cumulative compute power of more than 64 petaflops.” Thus far, the release says, they have deployed 11 systems, including PARAM Ganga, totaling some 20 petaflops. The remaining 13 systems will need to average roughly 3.4 petaflops to meet the new NSM target. The goal of 24 systems by the end of 2022, delineated in the release from India’s Ministry of Science & Technology last month, falls short of the NSM’s original goal of deploying 73 computers in India by 2022 — a goal set when the NSM was initiated in 2015.

PARAM Ganga is unlikely to rank on the Top500. Even if the 1.66 petaflops was a Linpack, rather than peak, the 500th entry on the November 2021 list came in at 1.65 Linpack petaflops. As HPCwire reported last month, India has three public supercomputers powerful enough to rank on the Top500: the Atos-built PARAM Siddhi-AI, installed in 2018 at C-DAC Pune (4.6 Linpack petaflops, #102); and the HPE-built Pratyush and Mihir systems, both installed in 2018 at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (respectively, #121 at 3.8 Linpack petaflops and #228 at 2.6 Linpack petaflops).

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