New Delhi: The first of the 70 supercomputers to be built in India to aid research will be ready by August 2017, a government official said. The government is also finalising the sites to house these supercomputers.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had approved the launch of the National Supercomputing Mission in March last year at an estimated cost of 4,500 crore over a period of seven years. The mission aimed to enable India to leapfrog to the league of world-class computing power nations, is being implemented jointly by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY).

Eleven Indian machines are in the list of the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers as of November 2015. The first supercomputer is under development at Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), which was responsible for developing India’s first supercomputer ‘Param’.

“There are two major challenges in supercomputer revolution if supercomputers are to replace the common desktop computers. One is heat and power management as these supercomputers guzzle a lot of energy. Another is that we need to generate human resources to operate these supercomputers in the future," said Ashutosh Sharma, secretary in the ministry of science and technology.

The mission looks at installing a supercomputing grid of more than 70 high-performance computing facilities. These supercomputers will also be networked over the National Knowledge Network, a government program which connects academic institutions and R&D labs over a high-speed network.

“The focus this year is in manufacturing and hardware construction of this supercomputer. By the end of this mission, we will have the capability to make our own supercomputers and operate them," said Sharma. “But right now we are in negotiations with global vendors to manufacture supercomputers here and participate in human resource training," he added.

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