A country’s ability to develop its technology is one of its greatest assets, and adding AI applications to supercomputers is just the beginning. Supercomputers are high-performance systems where computational power is measured in floating-point operations per second (flops). The inventions of supercomputers date back to 1964, and the age of supercomputers in India started in the 1980s. In November 1987, the Indian Government decided to create C-DAC, the center for Development of Advanced Computing technology. C-DAC started the PARAM supercomputers, led by Vijay P. Bhatkar, the architect of India’s national initiative in supercomputing since the 1990s. Today, supercomputers in India are among the fastest 500 in the world. One of those supercomputers is a series of PARAM. PARAM means ‘supreme’ in Sanskrit, devoting the idea of supreme computer systems. Here is the list of PARAM supercomputers, organized by the year of their launch.
1. PARAM 8000
PARAM 8000 is the first machine in the PARAM supercomputers series built from scratch in 1991. A prototype of the PARAM 8000 supercomputer came second in the 1990 Zurich supercomputing show, where it was introduced and tested. PARAM 8000 was launched in the market in August 1991 with a 64-node machine, making it India’s first supercomputer. It was a collaboration of C-DAC and the Institute of computer aided design (ICAD), Moscow. PARAM 8000 was successful with its Inmos T800/T805 transputers, distributed memory MIMD (Multiple Instruction, Multiple Data) architectures, and a reconfigurable interconnection network. First installed in ICAD, Moscow, it rapidly took over the home market, attracted 14 other buyers, and was later exported to Germany, the UK, and Russia.
2. PARAM 8600
In 1992, PARAM 8600 was designed in the light of C-DAC wanting to make India’s supercomputer more powerful by integrating the Intel i860 processor. PARAM 8600 supercomputer is an upgrade to PARAM 8000, where the node structure was changed from Inmos T800/805 to one i860 and four Inmos T800 transputers. Each PARAM 8600 cluster resulted in as powerful as four times the PARAM 8000 cluster.
3. PARAM 9000
PARAM 9000 was developed in 1994 to merge cluster processing and massively parallel processing computing workloads. The standard PARAM 9000/SS used SuperSPACRC II processor variant, PARAM 9000/US used UltraSPARC processor, and PARAM 9000/AA used DEC Alpha. To accommodate newer processors, the design of PARAM supercomputers changed to modular with this version by scaling up to 200 CPUs with 32-40 processors and using Clos network topology.
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4. PARAM 10000
PARAM 10000 was launched in 1998 based on SMPs (symmetric multiprocessors) clusters that is a relevantly replicated UNIX OS. It contains independent nodes where each node is based on the Sun enterprise 250 server with two 400 Mhz UltraSPARC II processors. PARAM 10000 was exported to Russia and Singapore with the base system’s best speed recorded at 6.4 GFLOPS (giga-floating point operations per second). The base configuration got three compute nodes and a server node, and the system has 160 CPUs capable of 100 GFLOPS. However, it is easily scalable to the TFLOP (trillion floating point operations) range.
5. PARAM Padma
PARAM Padma is a 1Teraflop supercomputer, which is India’s first supercomputer to earn a place, ranked 171th in the Top500 list of supercomputers of the world in June 2003. This PARAM supercomputer was launched in 2002 with a storage capacity of 1TB, 248 IBM Power4 1GHz processors, IBM AIX 5.1L Unix OS, and PARAMNet for the main connection.
6. PARAM Yuva
PARAM Yuda came out in November 2008 with a peak speed (Rmax) of 38.1 Tflops and a maximum speed (Rpeak) of 54 Tflops. It has a storage capacity of 25TB up to 200TB, 4608 cores, Intel 73XX-2.9 GHz processor, and PARAMNet 3 as the primary connection. PARAM Yuva ranked 69 in the Top500 list of supercomputers in the world after PARAM Padma as India’s supercomputer.
7. PARAM Yuva II
PARAM Yuva II was developed in February 2013, the project took three months and cost ₹160 million. The investment paid off as PARAM Yuva II became the first India’s supercomputer to reach 500 Tflops. PARAM Yuva II is a high-performance computing cluster that uses 35% less energy compared to other PARAM supercomputers and performs ten times quicker at 524 Tflops. It has a hybrid cluster with multiple interconnects, a high storage capacity of 200TB, and supports software for parallel computing. In the series of PARAM supercomputers, Yuva II is an upgrade of PARAM Yuva, which was created for the purpose of a research-oriented computational environment. PARAM Yuva II is a milestone for C-DAC in PARAM supercomputers as it ranked 1st in India, 9th in the Asia Pacific region, and 44th worldwide among the list of most powerful computer systems. Additionally, PARAM Yuva II earned a position on the Green500 list in November 2013 and again in June 2015, and also it ranked 172 in the Top500 supercomputers list in June 2015.
8. PARAM ISHAN
Param ISHAN was developed and launched in September 2016 at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. It has a hybrid high-performance computing system with a peak computing performance of 250 Tflops. PARAM ISHAN has 162 computer nodes, including 126 nodes having 2 Intel Xeon E5-2680 v3, 12 cores, 2.5 GHz processors, and 64 GB RAM per node. Also, four high memory compute nodes, 16 nodes containing 2 NVIDIA Tesla k40 (GPGPU) per node, and the rest 16 nodes having 2 Intel Xeon Phi 7120 (MIC) per node. PARAM ISHAN is first India’s supercomputer with a 300TB storage capacity based on a luster parallel file system and a software stack comprising CentOS 6.6, Intel parallel studio 2016, GNU compilers, Intel MPSS, CUDA, Mellanox OFED, Luster, SLURM resource manager & scheduler and Bright cluster manager.
9. PARAM Brahma
PARAM Brahma was built in India by C-DAC and IISc under the national supercomputing mission (NSM), co-funded by the ministry of electronics and information technology and the department of science and technology. It has a computational power of 797 Tflops (Rpeak) and 526.5 Tflops (Rmax) with a storage capacity of 1PB. The unique property of PARAM Brahma is that it has a cooling system called direct contact liquid. This cooling system uses the thermal conductivity of liquids, mainly water, to maintain the system’s temperature during operations. PARAM Brahma supercomputer was launched in 2019 and, as of 2020, is available at IISER Pune and has 2 X Intel Xeon Cascadelake 8268, 24 cores, and 2.9 GHz processors.
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10. PARAM Siddhi-AI
PARAM Siddhi-AI is the fastest among the PARAM supercomputers, with a Rpeak of 5.267 Pflops and a sustained Rmax of 4.6 Pflops. It is a high-performance computing artificial intelligence (HPC-AI) system built in India. The integration of AI in supercomputers helps research for advanced materials, computational chemistry and astrophysics, health care system, flood forecasting, faster simulations in the covid-19 application, and medical imaging and genome sequencing. PARAM Siddhi-AI was released in 2020, containing the NVIDIA DGX SuperPOD based networking architecture, HPC-AI engine software and frameworks, and cloud platform. It ranked 63rd in the Top500 list of supercomputers worldwide in November 2020 and is one of top India’s supercomputers sharing the position with the Pratyush supercomputer.
11. PARAM Pravega
PARAM Pravega is a recently released supercomputer in January 2022 under the national supercomputer mission at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. It hosts an array of program development tools, utilities, and libraries for developing and executing high-performance computing operations. PARAM Pravega runs on CentOS 7.x, has a combination of heterogeneous nodes, including Intel Xeon Cascadelake processors for CPU nodes and NVIDIA Tesla V100 cards for GPU nodes, and has a storage capacity of 4PB. The peak computing power of PARAM Pravega is 3.3 Pflops.
12. PARAM Ganga
Under the national supercomputing mission, PARAM Ganga is established at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee. Among PARAM supercomputers, PARAM Ganga is based on heterogeneous and hybrid configurations of nodes similar to PARAM Pravega. It has 312 nodes, combining CPU, GPU, and HM modes with a peak computing power of 1.67 Pflops. The cluster of the supercomputer contains compute nodes connected to Mellanox (HDR) InfiniBand interconnect network. In addition, the PARAM Ganga supercomputer uses a luster parallel file system and runs on CentOS 7.x.
13. PARAM Shakti
PARAM Shakti is a petascale supercomputer in the PARAM supercomputers series built at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur under the NSM launched in March 2022. This supercomputer facility aims to amplify the research and development initiatives in academics and industries in India and focuses on solving large-scale problems in various fields of science and engineering. PARAM Shakti has 17680 CPU cores and 44GPUs and an RHDX-based cooling system, with a computing power of 1.6 Pflops.