Though a mere co-incidence, but the name SAGA looks quite justifying when it is the name of India’s Fastest Supercomputer. ISRO created history on 2nd May 2011 by building India’s fastest supercomputer in
terms of theoretical peak performance of 220 TeraFLOPS (220 Trillion Floating Point Operations per second).
The supercomputing facility named as Satish Dhawan Supercomputing Facility, named so to honor the second chairman of ISRO who directed the Indian space program through a period of extraordinary growth and spectacular achievement is located at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram.
The new Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) based supercomputer named “SAGA-220” (Supercomputer for Aerospace with GPU Architecture-220 TeraFLOPS) is being used by space scientists for solving complex aerospace problems. The supercomputer SAGA-220 was inaugurated by Dr K Radhakrishnan, Chairman, ISRO at VSSC.
Over 6 months, with an investment of rupees 14 crores, the mega machine has been designed and built by a team of 15 researchers. The SAGA-220 uses Mellanoxs InfiniBand network, nVIDIAs graphics processing units, and Intel’s central processing units all supplied by Wipro. The supercomputer is loaded with open source software and ISROs own innovative complex aerospace application for the design and analysis of aerospace vehicle configurations. Before
SAGA-220, Eka of Tata Sons Computational Research Laboratories, Pune having peak performance of 172.60 teraflops was India’s fastest supercomputer.
Comparing it to the world SAGA-220 boasts to be one among the top 50 supercomputers of the world. World’s fastest supercomputer is in China. Tianhe-I, supercomputer built in October 2010 is the top speed record holder in the world by consistently operating at 2.507 petaflops.
The present GPU system offers significant advantage over the conventional CPU based system in terms of cost, power and space requirements. The system is environmentally green and consumes a power of only 150 kW. This system can also be easily scaled to many PetaFLOPS (1000 TeraFLOPS). Over 100 engineers can work simultaneously on SAGA-220 at any time. However at present the system is accessed by 60 researchers at the Satish Dhawan facility. The new supercomputer will be used by ISRO for advanced computational fluid dynamic studies associated with building complex launch vehicles. It will help in reducing the design time as well as the computational cost to 1/15th of the equivalent CPU based system available in India.