For long, it was said that "data is the new oil". But that seems to be an understatement now; data is now the new water or possibly the new oxygen of the modern world. We cannot imagine a world or even a subset- say a city or a township - that does not have a data-driven backbone. Data is driving all our actions, right from the way we do banking, pay our bills, hail cabs or even order our food. We are not only consumers of data, but also the creators through our use of various applications or programs.
Little wonder then that the amount of data generated globally has been growing at an exponential rate. More data has been generated in the last two years than in the entire human history before that. Back in 2017, humanity generated some 33 Zetta bytes of data, and it is expected to grow to 175 Zetta bytes by 2025, according to IDC.
Corporate companies create a large chunk of this data. Retailers are generating data about inventory or sales, manufacturers aligning the supply chain, hospitals managing health records or even online shopping marts enticing the user with a 'recommended’ list. Corporate entities not only generate data at a significant scale but also utilize it… for productivity, customer management, product innovation and so on. This big data analytics is now more of a norm rather than an exception. Not just big organizations but even mid-tier or smaller ones are looking at leveraging big data for shoring up revenues and cutting down costs. The data sets here are huge, depending on the size and spread of the company; they can run into millions of records. Analysing and drawing actionable inferences from them is not an easy task.
And this is where Deep Tech comes into play. Essentially, Deep Tech is an interplay of various technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Artificial Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), robotics, and others that help in the computational analysis of data. Deep Tech is much more of relevance in places where vast amounts of data is to be analysed, like weather forecasting, climate research, oil and gas exploration, molecular modelling, etc.
To throw more light on the topic and also deliberate on the emergence of supercomputing in India, CNBC-TV18 and Intel dedicated a complete episode on the topic of Deep Tech Dividend, under the aegis of the tech-centric series "Future-Proof Your Business". The episode featured the story of how India's most powerful machines are being created at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).
Dr Hemant Darbari, Director-General, C-DAC, delved into how the nation is progressing well in its objective to create powerful supercomputers under the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) launched by PM Narendra Modi. The initiative aims to broad-base the use of supercomputers in India, through the installation of a supercomputing grid that has more than 70 high-performance computing facilities. C-DAC has been the first agency to build supercomputers in India and is a pioneer in developing and increasing the use of Indian languages on computers. The government body is now collaborating with Intel to create and formulate a High-Performance Computing (HPC) stack.
Nivruti Rai, Country Head, Intel India &VP - Data Center Group, Intel Corporation elaborated on the manner in which Intel is collaborating with C-DAC on the Deep Tech front. She highlighted the fact as to how data analytics could add up to $13 trillion additional income to the world economy, quoting McKinsey. "We, at Intel, have formulated a new plan to ingest, repair, analyse and act on the data. Intel has a portfolio of products, from a small compute with intelligence that sits on the rim of the glasses, to all the way to powering large data centres." She also touched upon the future trends, highlighting the important role quantum computing will play in the future.
Both industry leaders were joined by Dr Tinku Acharya, Founder & MD, Videonetics, a company that is enabling Deep Tech analysis of video data for applications like traffic management and smart city management. According to him, a fusion of various type of sensors and processing them in real-time will be one of the biggest trends in the days to come.
In the end, technologies like Deep Tech can enable organizations to make quicker decisions and be far more productive. Deep Tech and HPC also have wider applications beyond the sphere of corporate; they can make human lives better. For instance, as we speak, numerous entities around the world are deploying the power of supercomputing to battle the COVID-19 pandemic - from analyzing the DNA footprint of SARS-CoV-2 virus to modelling the requirements for hospital beds. India too, has understood the importance of HPC and supercomputing. Hence, the government has earmarked Rs. 4,500 crore for the NSM mission. Recently, two supercomputers from India broke into the TOP500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers. As the NSM gains strength amid collaborations between organizations like C-DAC and Intel, the future seems bright for Deep Tech applications in the country.