Home / Technology / News /  Want to bring HPC for the masses: Vivek Mahajan

Fujitsu is credited for developing Fugaku, the world’s most powerful supercomputer. Earlier this month, the Japanese IT services company began offering high-performance computing as a service (HPCaaS), which will allow firms to take advantage of the 442 petaflops of computing power that Fugaku provides. Petaflop is a measure of a supercomputer’s performance, and how many calculations it can perform per second. In simple terms, a human being performing one calculation per second for 31,688,765 years would match what a computer system running at 1PFLOP can do in a second. In an interview, Fujitsu’s chief technology officer Vivek Mahajan said HPC as a service has a big future in India, as do even more powerful future technologies such as quantum computing. Edited excerpts:

What is the state of advanced computing in India today?

There’s a lot of need for computing in India, but we believe that in future, HPCs are what every end user, like you or me, will be using. They have that need today, but they can’t use it because you or I, nor many companies, can buy a supercomputer.

The way we see that happening is by computing as a service. HPC will be offered through the cloud, and you as a user should only have to care about what your problem is, not whether it needs quantum or non-quantum, etc.

Do you already see Indian businesses turning to HPCs as a service? What will it be used for?

Well, it’s (Fugaku) not available in India right now. But I see a lot of usage for this. For instance, (it is useful) if you want to put your money in retail, stocks, etc., and you want to model that to find the best value.

It’s a very simple problem, and you can decide to run two cycles (supercomputers are priced based on time spent to run a simulation on them) in a supercomputer as an end consumer.

We simulated covid on Fugaku to calculate the right angle for wearing a mask to minimise the impact of the virus and the distance people should be at from each other.

We have also used it for tsunami predictions, which saves lives. We can do the same in India for cyclones or floods. In addition, traffic, logistics etc. are real problems today.

But there are companies in India dealing with such problems without HPCs; why would we need HPCs?

I wouldn’t say that they’re solving it (in the best manner). How difficult is it to solve the covid problem? I don’t think that modelling is easy to do on normal computing platforms.

They’re probably using on-premise HPCs for weather forecasting, but (with HPC as a service) each state can do their own flood predictions, etc., and they don’t need to have an HPC.


Prasid Banerjee

An engineering dropout, Prasid Banerjee has reported on technology in India for various publications. He reports on technology through text and audio, focusing on its core aspects, like consumer impact, policy and the future.
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