I’m here to meet the team behind the Shakti Processor Project, an ambitious effort in its computer sciences department to build six variants of processors to power Internet of things (IoT) products to high-end servers. If successful — physical manufacturing of chips is to start in the first quarter of 2018 — it will be the first open source processor of its kind built from scratch out of India.
And, if it finds takers in the market, it could make changes in the imports-dependent electronics ecosystem in India, which is predicted to spend more on importing electronics than on oil by 2020.
The Shakti project is based on the RISC-V ISA started at UC Berkeley. For those unfamiliar with the term, RISC, which stands for reduced instruction set computer, is an architecture that uses fewer computing cycles per instruction making it ideal to carry out a set of smaller and general instructions. ISA is short for instruction set architecture, which defines the specifications to be met by a processor.