View from India: HPC for intelligent decision making

High-performance computing (HPC) may be relatively new, but industries are quick to realise its untapped potential. As HPC solutions become pervasive in all industries, it will unleash a new digital era.

The HPC market will open out new opportunities as it will combine with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). This is how it will unfold. The computational qualities of HPC will help build complex algorithms, which can take on huge volumes of data. The data needs to be curated and gleaned. This is where the convergence of HPC will happen with AI and ML. The AI-ML interface in real time will combine with the computational power of HPC to gain insight into the data.

This combo comes at a time when data-based services are gaining momentum and HPC is the highway for data computing. Consequently, AI tools are being built atop HPC infrastructure to meet the growing needs of data intensive services. Large quantities of data can be analysed and distilled to shed deep revelations for precise outcomes.

The AI-ML-HPC combo will give rise to new business models across verticals. Digital simulations will happen at a faster pace than before and it will be less expensive than what it was. The logistics-manufacturing can be optimised. Research on a mass scale can be conducted.

In the current scenario, HPC’s qualities can be put to use for vaccine development. “HPC plays a role in zooming in on drugs and helps determine their efficiency. The right vaccine can be identified through computations,” said Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. He was speaking at the CII Virtual Session on high-performance computing (HPC) for Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

The pandemic brings along overarching challenges of the future. “Post pandemic, we need to make the environment clean and virus-free. For this, we need to tap HPC devices. There will be an increasing need for intelligent machines. The need will be felt more acutely as Industry 4.0 has set in. And the Internet of Things (IoT) devices are on the increase,” reasoned Sharma. These are growth drivers for super computers, SASE or Secure Access Service Edge and HPC. 

That’s not all. The rise of anti microbial diseases has created a demand for new drugs and re-purposes drugs. HPC has a role to play here, as it’s the convergence of performance computing and autonomous decisions. They are all bundled up by cyber security. All this sets the tone for computations and connected network of computations. Verticals such as health, agriculture, energy and power, automobile and manufacturing require HPC. The availability of seasonal crop or fruit is determined by HPC. Hypo spectral imaging, which gives details about the health of the crop, is analysed through HPC.

This decade, investments in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) AI and ML will fuel the growth of the HPC market. As the Government of India (GoI) has embarked on its 'Smart Cities Mission', data about the cities needs to be extracted effectively to make it efficient and environment friendly. That’s where HPC fits in. Its computational power will facilitate the optimum use of water and electricity along with the layout of the city.  

India has a population of 1.3 billion and its problems are unique. “The number of heatwave days is increasing. The losses occurred in floods was to the tune of Rs 95,000 crore. The percent of agri produce is one of the lowest in the world, though we are one of the world’s largest agricultural producers,” said Rajesh Dhar, senior director, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.   

The problems are complex and HPC combined with the 5G wave and IoT solutions will help solve many of the country’s pressing issues. Devices will connect through which climatic conditions can be monitored and enable updates on agricultural produce and the health of crops.

“The country’s borders are diverse and varied, comprising water bodies, desert landscapes, hilly terrains and snow capped peaks. They require constant monitoring to gauge the change in topography and temperature,” explained Dr Sudhir Kamath, Director General, Micro Electronic Devices, Computational Systems & Cyber Systems, The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

HPC can be integrated into computational chemistry, astronomy and geo spatial data. “This data along with satellite imagery can be used to track movements and protect the country’s borders,” added Dr Kamath.

Clearly, this is a technology waiting to be fully tapped by the Indian market.

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