Supercomputers can be used for a wide variety of purposes, although the use cases are not always as clear to most people. Over in India, however, they have created a genuine use case for supercomputers, as engineers are building a supercomputer that can predict future monsoons.
Monsoons Are Important To India
Unlike most other countries around the world, India has a booming agricultural industry. In fact, the industry is so large it accounts for 20% of the total value of all goods and services in the country. Taking good care of crops and irrigation are at the top of the priority list, and predicting monsoon rains is of the utmost importance.
However, it turns out predicting monsoons in India is very difficult, and meteorologists usually rely on statistical predictions. Although this method has only failed once, the Indian government wants to do everything they can to prevent history from repeating itself. Spending US$60m on a supercomputer may seem a bit drastic, but it is a solid investment for the future.
What this monsoon-predicting supercomputer would be capable of is giving local farmers a better advance notice to plant crops and increase their overall yields. At the time of writing, it remained unknown as to which party will build the supercomputer. However, we do know the government plans to make it ten times as powerful as their current supercomputer, which was supplied by IBM.
The primary use case for this new supercomputer will come in the form of generating 3D weather models of all of India. There are 29 states in the country, all of which will help with data collection through balloons, satellites, and planes. A lot of data will be involved in this process, which will then be processed by the monsoon supercomputer.
If everything goes according to plan – which it very rarely does – the new supercomputer will be ready by the 2017 monsoon season. This is a critical time for India, as the monsoon season provides the country with nearly 80% of its annual rainfall. If the machine can live up to its expectations, the supercomputer can boost yields by as much as 15%.
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