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Supercomputers are high-performing computers,designed to tackle complex computational challenges. They encompass multiple central processing units that break down the required tasks into multiple parts and process them simultaneously, which effectively results in high-speed computation. The performance of supercomputers is measured in terms of floating-point operations per second (FLOPs). Supercomputers can be utilised for general purposes as well as special purposes such as Belle, Hydra, and Deep Blue for playing chess.

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Features of Supercomputer

  • Supercomputers are distinct from regular computers in several ways. One key difference is that they typically contain multiple CPUs (central processing units). These CPUs are responsible for interpreting program instructions and performing arithmetic and logic operations in the correct sequence.
  • The need for multiple CPUs arises from the limitations of circuit technology. Due to the fundamental speed limit imposed by the speed of light, electronic signals cannot travel faster.
  • Advancements in miniaturization, shorter wire lengths, and innovative cooling techniques have nearly overcome this limitation.
  • To overcome these limitations, various supercomputer systems employ advanced cooling methods such as immersing processor and memory circuits in cryogenic fluids. This helps maintain the low temperatures necessary for optimal performance.
  • Supercomputers require rapid access to stored data and instructions to support their high computational speeds. Therefore, they typically feature large storage capacities and fast input/output capabilities to facilitate efficient data retrieval and processing.

Characteristics of Supercomputer

  • Supercomputers are adept at tackling vast quantities of calculations, including complex ones.
  • Multiple users can access a supercomputer simultaneously, enabling collaborative work.
  • Due to their high cost, supercomputers are out of reach for ordinary consumers.
  • Specialists in specialized fields rely on extensive and intricate computations as part of their work.
  • Supercomputers boast immense storage capacity to accommodate large datasets.

National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)

The Mission aims to support educational and research institutions across India by setting up a large network of more than 70 powerful computers, known as supercomputers.

  • These supercomputers will link up via the National Supercomputing grid using the National Knowledge Network (NKN), a high-speed network that connects academic and research institutions.
  • One of the goals of the Mission is to train a skilled workforce in High Performance Computing (HPC) to address the challenges involved in developing applications for these supercomputers.
  • India is planning to establish a group of interconnected machines dedicated to tasks such as weather forecasting, drug discovery, and data mining.

Applications of Supercomputers

Supercomputers are being used in multiple fields and have several applications such as: 

Biology Areas: Mostly, supercomputers are used to diagnose various diseases, and provide the assistance for producing good results in strokes, brain injuries and other blood flow issues in your body.

Military and Defense Missions: Supercomputing helps to provide virtual testing for nuclear explosion and weapon ballistics.

Climate Patterns: Supercomputer applications are able to study and understand climate patterns.

Airlines Industry: With the help of a supercomputer, designed flight simulators for newbie pilots and this simulator helped to train new pilots.

Weather Forecasting: To gather the information related to weather forecasting, supercomputers run in the NOAA’s system, which means National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA system is able to execute all types of simple and logical instructions.

Scientific Research areas: In the weather and science research areas depend on the supercomputer for analyzing data from the exploring solar system, satellites that round earth, and other areas such as nuclear research.

Advance database: Some large scale companies need the supercomputer for extracting useful information from data storage houses or in the cloud system. Such as insurance companies.

Financial Market Place: Supercomputers play a vital role in real financial success in the emerging online currency world such as bitcoin and the stock market.

Simulated Environment in Automobile: Supercomputers provide the help to people for buying vehicles because before purchasing the vehicle, customers can test through simulation environments that are created by supercomputers.

Smog Control System: Scientists use supercomputers in their own laboratory for predicting the fog and other pollution levels in particular areas, and then take final steps to prevent them.


  • More Expensive
  • Need well trained staff
  • Need more space for setup
  • Not useful for broad applications
  • Not able to replace physical testing
  • Required more maintenance
  • Need massive external storage for huge data
  • High power requirements
  • Need water cooling in addition to an A/C system, because a supercomputer produces more heat during processing time.

Read Also: AI supercomputer ‘AIRAWAT’

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