IIT-Madras powers up a desi chip

These are the kind of chips that India always wanted, but could not make. Now, computer scientists and a student team from the IIT- Madras have developed the first of a family of six industry-standard microprocessors.

The initial batch of 300 chips, named RISECREEK and produced under Project Shakti, have been fabricated free at Intel’s facility at Oregon, U.S., to run the Linux operating system.

On the test bench, the IIT design fared better than the A5, measured in terms of the DMIPS per megahertz rating, scoring 1.68 against the competition’s 1.57. At a frequency of 350 MHz, RISECREEK can meet the demands of defense and strategic equipment such as NAVIC (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite) and the Internet of Things (IoT) electronics, its developers say.

What makes RISECREEK different is the open source nature of the designs. “This is made in India, but even if it were made in the U.S., it would be contemporary,” says G.S. Madhusudan, project adviser from the IIT- Madras.

The plan includes a family of six types of microprocessors. The first to be ready is the C class, RISECREEK. The E class of microprocessors that can be used in smart cards, IoT devices, fan/motor controls, etc, is almost ready and the I class, which can be used for mobile phones, desktops, and mobile phones is soon to follow. The design for the S class which can be used for enterprise-class servers is underway, and the H class, which will be used for building High-Performance computers with massively parallel processing capabilities.

The H Class is part of the next phase of development, which the team calls the Para-SHAKTI (parallel SHAKTI) project. Para-SHAKTI will make microprocessors for indigenous high-performance computers with over 32 SHAKTI cores.

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