Supercomputing Mission In India- Biased Towards MNCs?

Hridey Vikram, NetwebAt the risk of sounding political, what is the similarity between the Rafale fighter jet deal and the Supercomputing scenario in India?

For starters, there seems to be a diminishing reliance on India’s manufacturing sector, while creating an additional dependence on MNC’s.

While the government of India made many promises around Make in India and Skillsets generation programs, it is China that has leaped eons ahead of India with indigenous technology.

With this background, we spoke to Mr.Hirdey Vikram, Director- Strategic Sales, Netweb Technologies India Pvt. Ltd.

Netweb Technologies is an Indian technology company with over 20 years of pioneering work in the field of High-Performance Computing.

HPC ASIA- How do you think India can have the same technology advancement in HPC like China or even the USA? What are the challenges Indian Supercomputing components manufacturers face?

HV: Typically, there are three major components which are instrumental in building supercomputing solutions

The first is Servers, which are further split into Motherboard, Chassis etc

Followed by the Interconnect – which are largely dealt with very a few companies today. In India, CDAC had developed the PARAM-Net but since augmentation of usage is not possible, it has taken a back seat.

And third, is Software – which is both application and OS. India has the OS and the applications development capabilities, in fact, it is one of the strong areas for India which should be further boosted and scaled up.

OS can be open source, but there are some indigenously developed codes that are largely being used in the Education and R&D verticals, hence there is an immediate need to see how these applications can be made commercial if required.

India has its own set of challenges and opportunities in the context of building Supercomputers. The foremost bottleneck is that we are still dependent on the hardware technologies developed outside India.

What’s happening now and what’s also slightly disturbing is that India (and Indian supercomputing Mission) has been relying on MNCs for setting up the hardware, but the focus on technology transfer is just not there.

Moreover, MNCs seem to be bifurcating the “Make in India” program by using contract manufacturers in India for the hardware side, however, no one seems to be pondering over the possibility of MNCs exiting with the technology leaving behind redundant hardware and obsolete technology.

HPA ASIA- That’s some great insight. So, moving ahead from here, what should, Indian manufacturers and the Government be doing?

HV- India will be one of the largest consumers of technologies, products, and solutions in the near future. We have the manpower and the potential to create a lot of jobs in the technical and non-technical arena. For India to take leadership in this area, we will need to maximize our resources and capabilities.

HPC ASIA– Why are there fewer HPC or Supercomputing systems/components manufacturers in India?

HV- We are captured by the MNC mindset. We have been a global software leader (as exporters) but the same is not true for hardware. We need to nurture the local players in the same way we encouraged the software and service providers in the past. There is a need to bridge the gap between the needs of local enterprises and the capabilities that we have in this area. For that, we believe a constructive conversation has to be had between all the players – government, Supercomputing Mission, Universities and indigenous companies.

At HPC ASIA, we have written conspicuously about the need for India to adopt the China model of indigenous focus in supercomputing. This is extremely important from a security and continuity perspective.

An Indian player can present security, continuity and quick localized support as its strength. These need to be considered in a positive light by the Supercomputing Mission of India, and a hasty move to buy (rather, rent) technology from MNCs can be a disaster in the long run.

If India can get WhatsApp, Facebook, and Google to host data within the country, due to security concerns and data localization, the same logic should be applied to Supercomputing manufacturing as well.

To Top