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Communications of the ACM

India Region Special Section: Big Trends

Building the SHAKTI Microprocessor

Shakti processor

Credit: Gopalam Embedded Systems

Microprocessors and microcontrollers form the core of electronic systems. Unfortunately, almost all the microprocessors and microcontrollers are imported, currently. IPs and patents with strict licensing terms protect their designs. Realizing the limitations of the processor industry, the SHAKTI Processor Program11 started as an academic initiative back in 2014. SHAKTI is an open source processor4 initiative by the Pratap Subramaniam–Center for Digital Intelligence and Secure Hardware Architecture (PC-CDISHA)–Reconfigurable Intelligent Systems Engineering (RISE) group, IIT-Madras. The project started with a generous grant from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), New Delhi.

The initiative is aimed to create open source, industrial-grade processors and build associated components of a more extensive ecosystem. This ecosystem is beyond these processor designs. Today, the SHAKTI program offers a software stack, FPGA prototypes, interconnect fabrics, accelerators, device IPs, verification suites, and more under a permissive open source license.


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