October 4, 2023
Indian AI startups, companies and top CEOs have been petitioning the government to invest in computing capacity, which is currently very scarce and expensive
The project will also ensure the sovereignty of Indian data
India's supercomputer ‘Airawat’, installed at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) in Pune, is the world's 75th-fastest supercomputer
Artificial Intelligence (AI) startups might attract more investments if they immediately had access to a 1,000 GPU cluster
The Indian government is considering a proposal to set up a cluster of 25,000 GPUs (graphic processing units) under a public-private partnership (PPP) to be made accessible to Indian companies working on artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies that require high computing capacity, according to media reports.
The proposal, which will cost close to INR 8,000-10,000 crore, is being debated at the highest levels in the Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity).
Indian AI startups, companies and top CEOs have been petitioning the government to invest in computing capacity, which is currently very scarce and expensive.
The project will also ensure the sovereignty of Indian data, experts said. As GPUs are not readily available in India, many in the industry have been opting for access to such clouds located abroad, they said. According to the reports, setting up a 25,000 GPU cluster was a top recommendation of one of the seven AI working groups set up by Meity.
Experts said that India is a data-rich country due to multiple digital transformations, and it also has enough human capital. But to power through the global AI race, India needs supercomputing power, and at least 25,000 GPUs are needed to enable this.
For context, India’s supercomputer ‘Airawat’, installed at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) in Pune, is the world’s 75th fastest supercomputer and has 640 GPUs. In comparison, the world’s fastest supercomputers have more than 30,000 GPUs.
The official said that once the proposal is finalised, the government will invite private companies through the standard tendering process to set up GPUs here.
Experts also said that the country’s AI startups might attract more investments if they had access to a 1,000 GPU cluster immediately.
Even while the government has been discussing this proposal, there is a feeling that some computing infrastructure may become available to startups from the recent partnerships between American GPU-making giant Nvidia and Indian majors Reliance Jio and Tata Sons.
Experts also mentioned that India needs to support fast supercomputers, and companies are eyeing a range of opportunities in the country, including national initiatives to build giant supercomputers and firms seeking to train large language models (LLMs) in multiple Indian languages, among others.
Source: Economic Times