India’s fastest and first ‘multi-petaflops’ supercomputer ‘Pratyush’ was established at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune. Petaflops is a measure of a computer’s processing speed.
The High-Performance Computing (HPC) facility will be a national facility for improving weather and climate forecasts. Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan said that it would be India’s number one HPC facility in terms of peak capacity and performance.
An IITM release said that the facility would help the country with better forecasts in terms of monsoon, extreme events, tsunamis, cyclones, earthquakes, air quality, lightning, fishing, hot and cold waves, flood and drought among others. This facility will also be used in coordination with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and other weather monitoring institutes, to evolve better weather monitoring practices and an improved weather forecasting system.
The release also said that Pratyush is the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world dedicated to weather and climate research, after the ones in Japan, USA and the United Kingdom. In a respected international tracker of the world’s fastest supercomputers, it will also move an Indian supercomputer from the 300s to the 30s in the Top 500 list.
Reports say that the government had sanctioned Rs.400 crore last year for a 10-petaflop machine. A key function of the machine’s computing power would be monsoon forecasting using a dynamical model. This requires simulating the weather for a given month built model calculate how the actual weather will play out over the monsoons months of June, July, August and September. With the new system, it would be possible to map regions in India at a resolution of 3 km, and across the globe at 12 km.
The first HPC unit was installed at National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Noida, to assist weather agencies in providing daily forecasts. These supercomputers help weather analysis reach international standards, and attain improved predictions and warnings of natural disasters.