India Tech Pursues RISC-V ISA

This entry was posted on Friday, January 11th, 2019.

EE Times India reports that the RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) has made significant progress in that country

It says that researchers at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) have designed and booted up India’s first microprocessor dubbed “Shakti” (meaning power), which is targeted at mobile computing and other devices.

 

 

The Shakti family of processors was fabricated at Semiconductor Laboratory, Indian Space Research Organizations located in Chandigarh.  It is the first RISC-V microprocessor to be completely designed and made in India, according to IIT-M, as reported by EE Times India.

The EE Times India article says the Shakti project is building a family of six processors based on the RISC-V ISA.  It goes on to state the Shakti project will also develop reference SoCs for each class of processors.  While the primary focus of the Shakti team is architecture research, these SoCs will be competitive with commercial offerings in the market with respect to area, power and performance.

 

The new RISC-V developments came about at a time when Krste Asanović, chief architect and leader of the team at UC Berkeley that defined the open RISC-V ISA visited India for the first time.

 

EE Times India noted there has always been a long-standing and strong Indian connection between Asanović and IIT, Madras which has been working on RISC-V through its Shakti project.  That connection got even stronger after Asanović’s co-founded company, SiFive acquired Bengaluru-based Open Silicon, a system-optimized ASIC solution provider, which would now start focusing more on RISC-V.

 

SiFive, the first fabless provider of customized semiconductors based on the RISC-V and founded by some of the team members from Berkeley, helps organizations turn semiconductor designs based on the open-source RISC-V ISA into chips.

The EE Times India article points out that “the momentum of RISC-V is massive,” with Asanović quoted as saying, “We have over 110 companies and organizations as members.” According to the article, the Indian government has officially adopted RISC-V as the national ISA, underscoring the power of the architecture and its capacity to enable innovative commercial and military application.

This EE Times India article further heightens the design and applications expectations and increasing interest for RISC-V in the U. S.