India Spending Billions on AI

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India is getting into AI in a big way.

The Indian government announced yesterday it has budgeted more than Rs 10,300 crore (US$1.24 billion) for India’s AI ecosystem over the next five years. The IndiaAI Mission includes standing up a 10,000-GPU AI supercomputer (no system details were released) to support such initiatives as:

  • The IndiaAI Innovation Centre (IAIC), an academic institution intended to streamline implementation and retention of research talent. Funds approved by the cabinet will enable IAIC to develop of foundational models, with emphasis on indigenous large multimodal models (LMMs) and domain-specific models, leveraging edge and distributed computing.
  • The IndiaAI Datasets Platform, which will be developed by the Independent Business Division (IBD) of IndiaAI, designed to enhance accessibility and qualityof public sector datasets to ensure data-driven governance and catalyzing AI-based research.
  • The IndiaAI FutureSkills program will focus on expanding AI education by increasing the accessibility of graduate and post-graduate AI programs, while also establishing data and AI labs across India.

“A multi-faceted comprehensive framework has been created to bolster an AI-based solutions ecosystem in India,” Union Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal said at a briefing.

This follows India’s recent commitment of $15 billion to three semiconductor plants, construction of which will begin within 100 days. Powerchip Semiconductor (PSMC) a chip foundry company in Taiwan, will partner with Tata Electronics on the new fabs. Along with a chip fab, the Indian government approved funding for two assembly, test, and packaging facilities.

At least two global trends are driving India’s effort along with similar projects in other countries (the US, Germany, Japan): tremendous unmet demand for advanced CPUs and GPUs that drive HPC-AI workloads, including generative AI; and threats from the People’s Republic of China to the national security of Taiwan, home of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s leading producer of advanced chips. TSMC is building new plants in the US and Japan, while Intel is building advanced chips plants in Ohio and in Germany.

The overriding trend is for “indigenous technology,” the drive by countries and regions to build out capabilities and capacities to reduce or eliminate their dependence on technologies produced in ther countries.

Of the new fabs to be built in India, Frank Hong, PSMC chairman, said: “Semiconductor industry presents a large and growing opportunity, and India is uniquely placed to capture this opportunity. At one end, India has a large and growing domestic demand, and at the other, global customers are looking at India for supply chain resilience. There could not have been a better time for India to make its entry into the semiconductor manufacturing industry. This partnership has the potential to redefine the contours of global semiconductor manufacturing and we are looking forward to collaboration with Tata Electronics.”

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