Noida: The Union Budget saw much emphasis on doubling of farmers' income and on cyber-physical security. What could contribute to the doubling of farmers' income is India's most powerful Cray Super Computer - MIHIR - that will give more accurate weather forecasts which the farmers can then use to fine tune agriculture.
Built at a cost of Rs 450 crore, MIHIR is housed in a badminton court-sized room at India's weather office near Delhi, and is capable of performing jobs equivalent to more than 2,500 high-end laptops, all working in tandem.
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Science Minister, says "MIHIR, named after the Sun God, will help in our weather forecasting capability and strength will increase tremendously and it will now become about eight petaflops."
The high performance computer (HPC) system is located at the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) in Noida. This will be India's largest HPC facility in terms of peak capacity and performance and will propel India's ranking from the 368th position to around the top 30 in the top 500 list of HPC facilities in the world.
Dr Vardhan said India will now also be ranked 4th, after Japan, UK and the US for dedicated HPC resources for weather/climate community.
In 1988, India had imported another Cray Super Computer for use by weather scientists, which was later converted into a museum piece. But Cray used to sit and guard the machine to check it wasn't being misused. Today, the times have changed, and Cray is co-operating fully with Indian scientists to aid India's cyber-physical systems.
Sudhakar Yerneni, Country Manager, Cray Supercomputers Pvt. Ltd, told NDTV, "We will still oversee but it will now be in a much more positive manner. It will be our effort that scientists use the machine in a better fashion. We will not be a watchdog, rather a helping hand."
Dr Vardhan stated that in collaboration with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), his ministry is providing district-level agro meteorological advisories to farmers through 130 agromet field units.
"Presently about 24 million farmers receive these advisories with information of weather forecasts on district level. These services will now be extended to block level (for about 6,500 blocks) by establishing district centres (630 centres) with the help of ICAR Krishi Vigyan Kendras. It is planned to reach out to about 45 million farmers by July 2018," he said.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences has acquired the HPC facility of 6.8 Peta Flops (PF) and has been installed at two of its constituent units: 4.0 Peta Flops HPC facility at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune and 2.8 Peta Flops facility at NCMRWF, Noida.