Researchers of IIT Madras Design & Fabricate India's first indigenously Developed 'RISC V Microprocessor'

By SiliconIndia  |   Friday, 26 October 2018, 10:40 Hrs
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On the 26th of October 2018, researchers of IIT Madras designed and booted-up India’s first indigenously-developed & internationally competent ‘RISC V Microprocessor.’ The microprocessor is applicable to mobile computing devices, embedded low power wireless systems and networking systems besides reducing reliance on imported microprocessors in Communications and Defense Sectors. Commenting on the significance of this development, Lead Researcher Prof. Kamakoti Veezhinathan, Reconfigurable Intelligent Systems Engineering (RISE) Laboratory, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Madras, stated, “With the advent of Digital India there are several applications that require customisable processor cores. The 180nm fabrication facility at SCL Chandigarh is crucial in getting these cores manufacturers within our Country.”

The impact of this completely indigenous fabrication is that India has now attained independence in designing, developing and fabricating end-to-end systems within the country, leading to self-sufficiency. With a large percentage of applications requiring sub 200 MHz processors, the current success paves way to production of many hand-held and control application devices. The other crucial aspect of such an indigenous design, development and fabricating approach is reducing the risk of deploying systems that may be infected with back-doors and hardware Trojans. This development will assume huge significance when systems based on SHAKTI processors are adopted by strategic sectors such as defence, nuclear power installations and Government Agencies and Departments.

The ‘SHAKTI’ family of processors was fabricated at the Semi-Conductor Laboratory of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in Chandigarh and targets clock speeds to suit various end-user application devices such as various consumer electronic devices, mobile computing devices, embedded low-power wireless systems and networking-systems. SHAKTI processors are designed for modularity and extensibility and enables easy customization with its futuristic design approach. The front-end design of the SHAKTI processors is developed with Bluespec, an open-source High Level Synthesis (HLS) language that enables design and development of application specific end-user computing and communicating systems.

The design of microprocessor system moreover starts with choosing the right ISA (Instruction Set Architecture). SHAKTI processors are based on RISC-V ISA. RISC-V ISA delivers a new level of free, extensible software and hardware freedom on architecture, paving the way for the next 50 years of computing design and innovation. The project is funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India.

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