In Big AI push, Centre to Step Up Compute Capacity, Offer Free Services to Startups

Syllabus: GS-II, Polity and Governance; GS-III, Science and Tech;

Subject: Polity and Governance, Science and Tech;

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation, Emerging technologies;

Issue: India’s AI mission;

Context: As part of an Artificial Intelligence Mission to develop its own ‘sovereign AI’, the Centre is looking to build computational capacity in the country and offer compute-as-a-service to India’s start-ups.

Compute Capacity Under AI Mission:

  • Capacity building models: done both within the government and through a public-private partnership (PPP) model.
  • Targets: In total, the country is looking –
    • To build a compute capacity of anywhere between 10,000 GPUs (graphic processing units) and 30,000 GPUs under the PPP model, and
    • An additional 1,000-2,000 GPUs through the PSU Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).
  • Incentives for private: The government is also exploring incentive structures for private companies to set up computing centres in the country, ranging from
    • A capital expenditure subsidy model which has been employed under the semiconductor scheme,
    • A model where companies can be incentivised depending on their operational expenses, to offer them a “usage” fee.

Working of Public Model for Building Computing Capacity:

  • Part of Supercomputing mission: Under the public model, compute capacity will be set up within the C-DAC as part of the National Supercomputing Mission.
  • C-DAC already has the Rudra and Param systems and it is planning to add 1,000-2,000 GPUs to them.
    • Rudra is an indigenous server platform built by the C-DAC which has two expansion slots for graphic cards.
    • Param Utkarsh is a high-performance computing system setup at C-DAC which offers AI over machine learning and deep learning frameworks, compute and storage as a cloud service.


About India AI mission:

  • Announced by PM at the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) Summit 2023.
  • Aim: to establish sufficient AI compute power in the country. This will help India’s innovators and startups get better facilities.
  • Under this mission, AI applications in agriculture, healthcare and education-related sectors will be promoted.
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