India plans 10,000-GPU sovereign AI supercomputer – The Register

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India’s government has approved a ₹10,300 Crore ($1.24 billion) funding package to bolster the nation’s AI infrastructure.

The cornerstone of the effort is a planned supercomputer that will have at least 10,000 GPUs. The government has released no other details of the machine – which will be part of the “IndiaAI Compute Capacity” – but has said it expects a public-private-partnership will be needed to build the machine.

Another initiative will see the creation of a new academic institution: the “IndiaAI Innovation Centre,” tasked with leading the development and deployment of foundational models. It is expected to have a specific emphasis on indigenous Large Multimodal Models (LMMs) and domain-specific models. The Centre will focus on “leveraging edge and distributed computing for optimal efficiency.”

Funds will also flow to three other initiatives:

  • The IndiaAI Startup Financing mechanism, which will streamline funding to accelerate commercialization for both startups and industry-led AI projects;
  • The IndiaAI Datasets Platform, which will get more cash to improve public sector datasets so that local AI outfits – and government – have the data needed to build appropriate AI apps;
  • The IndiaAI FutureSkills program, which will improve access to graduate and postgraduate AI programs, and establish Data and AI Labs that that run foundational AI courses in data and AI across India – especially beyond major cities;

Two goals of the funding package are to “foster technological self-reliance” and “democratize the benefits of AI across all strata of society.”

It’s unclear if the planned supercomputer will meet those goals by using homegrown tech. While India has set itself a goal of developing server-grade CPUs based on the RISC-V architecture, The Register is yet to see any evidence of such devices having been developed. And India is nowhere on GPUs.

The push for indigenous LLMs will deliver, though, because India has 22 scheduled languages that the nation is required to foster by law. While some of those languages – like Bengali, Marathi, and Telugu – have over 80 million speakers, others are spoken by many fewer. The giants of AI may not prioritize LLM development for the ~35 million speakers of Malayalam or Punjabi.

India clearly intends to take on that sort of job itself.

Another omission in India’s announcement is the kind of private partners sought to accelerate local AI development. India has a difficult relationship with Big Tech – lauding its local investments while also regulating it fiercely, and creating public digital goods unashamedly aimed at making it harder for tech companies to build monopolies. ®

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