SemiconIndia 2022: Several Pacts With Key Players Announced Under Digital India Risc-V Programme

by Swarajya Staff - May 1, 2022 10:09 AM +05:30 IST
SemiconIndia 2022: Several Pacts With Key Players Announced Under Digital India Risc-V ProgrammeYoji Kawamoto for Sony India and IIT Madras' Prof V Kamakoti representing the DIR-V Shakti processor, with Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, at SemiconIndia 2022 conference in Bengaluru
Snapshot
  • Several key MoUs with respect to the Digital India Risc-V programme were inked and announced during the second day of the SemiconIndia 2022 conference, being held in Bengaluru from 29 April to 1 May.

Several key announcements were made on Saturday, 30 April, at the SemiconIndia 2022 conference, currently underway in Bengaluru and concluding Sunday. They were mostly to do with the Digital India Risc-V programme of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

What's the Risc-V programme? Union Minister of State for Entrepreneurship, Skill Development, Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar announced on 27 April the Digital India Risc-V microprocessor (DIR-V) programme whose aim will be to pave the way for the creation of microprocessors for the future of India and the world and to achieve industry-grade silicon and design wins by December 2023.

"Risc" is short for reduced instruction set computer. Risc-V is a free and open instruction set architecture (ISA) based on reduced instruction set computer principles and enabling a new era of processor innovation through open standard collaboration. It was born out of an academic effort at the University of California, Berkeley in 2010. Now, Risc-V International, a non-profit based in Switzerland, looks after it.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology plans to join the Risc-V International as premier board member to collaborate, contribute, and advocate India’s expertise with other global Risc-V leaders, such as Intel, Google, and Western Digital.

The chief architect of India’s DIR-V programme is Professor V Kamakoti, director of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras (Chennai), and the programme manager is Krishna Kumar Rao, Scientist G, C-DAC.

There’s a blueprint in place for how India can go about the design and implementation of the DIR-V programme with the Shakti processor by IIT Madras and the Vega processor by C-DAC. The DIR-V push is expected to propel India’s efforts to build a domestic semiconductor ecosystem.

“One big milestone that I am very focused on is to have the first set of commercial silicon of Shakti and Vega processors available by December 2023 or early 2024. We want at least a few companies to adopt their product designs to DIR-V products Shakti and Vega before 2023-24 and when the silicon is ready, they should start manufacturing and incorporating chips in the products," Chandrasekhar said.

The Minister had also indicated during the programme launch that DIR-V will see partnerships among startups, academia, and multinationals. They came not long after in the form of five memorandums of understanding (MoUs) signed in Bengaluru on 30 April.

The announcements.

  • An MoU between Sony India and Shakti processor, IIT Madras (Chennai), for systems and products developed by Sony

  • An MoU between the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) Inertial Systems Unit (IISU), Thiruvananthapuram, and DIR-V Shakti processor, IIT Madras (Chennai), for the development of high-performance SoCs (systems on chip) and fault-tolerant computer systems

  • An MoU between the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Department of Atomic Energy, and Shakti processor, IIT Madras (Chennai), for systems and products developed by IGCAR

  • An MoU between the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) and the DIR-V Vega processor, C-DAC, for the 4G/5G broadband, Internet-of-Things (IoT), M2M solutions

  • An MoU between Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and DIR-V Vega processor, CDAC, for Rudra server board, cyber security, and language solutions

What Chandrasekhar said: "The Risc-V ISA is a very important part of nations around the world, their strategies, and we have made it our strategy, that future generation of processors, future design wins, and servers to IoT, the whole spectrum, can be on the DIR-V or the India Risc-V microprocessor family.”

The vision. Just like "Intel Inside" of the past, the Minister said "it is our vision, it is our ambition, it is our fond hope, that over the next 25 years, we will have DIR-V Inside."

"Systems, servers, consumer devices, sensors, IoTs can be developed for the future generations, the coming years, based on the good work that the DIR-V team headed by Prof Kamakoti and the team at C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing) headed by Krishna Kumar Rao, and the vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurs that we believe exist today and will continue to grow and expand and the government will fund them, that that will drive India as a strong player in the innovation and platformisation and the system design area going forward," he added.

That’s not all. Further:

  • An MoU between the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru and SEMI USA for building core competence of quantum technologies — multi-qubit superconducting quantum processors, photonic processors, diamond-based magnetometer, lab-level quantum-secured communication networks, and so on

  • An MoU between SEMI USA and India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA) of India for wide-ranging collaboration and catalysing the semiconductor ecosystem in India

Finally, the IESA released the "India Semiconductor Market Demand" report.

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