Need for Sovereign Compute

# 194


Digital devices dominate our lives and are now ubiquitous: in our cellphones, laptops, cars -- even in many kitchen devices. Most services that we have come to depend on -- Uber, Amazon, UPI, Grocery delivery, Online Banking etc. all use copious amounts of “compute”, many times, in the “cloud”. Government services, including digital public infrastructure, are being provided online and need to be backed by “compute”. Implementation of data sovereignty laws require “compute” for data to be stored, processed and retrieved. And the rise of GenAI has reinforced the need for large amounts of compute to train and run these large models.All this seems to need a lot of computes! But what exactly does “compute” mean? Where is it coming from today and what are the implications of India’s “compute” designed, developed, manufactured and assembled outside India? And why not having indigenous capabilities in this domain a bad thing? In this talk, I will try to make a case for what I will call Sovereign Compute, which begins by expanding the definition of what constitutes” compute” to include multiple components of the contemporary computing stack, and why we need to develop sovereignty in designing, manufacturing and assembling a significant part of this stack in-house.

Prof. Manu Awasthi, Computer Science at Ashoka University

Manu Awasthi is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Ashoka University and currently on leave as the Director of Infrastructure and Advanced Development at Amuse Labs. In past lives, he has been a faculty member at IIT Gandhinagar, worked for Memory Solutions Lab of Samsung Semiconductor and Advanced Development Group, Micron Technology. He earned his PhD in Computer Science from University of Utah and a B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University.