• SHAKTI is an open-source initiative by the Reconfigurable Intelligent Systems Engineering (RISE) group at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras to develop the first indigenous Indian industrial-grade processor. 
  • The aim of SHAKTI initiative includes building an opensource production-grade processor, complete system on chips (SoCs), development boards and SHAKTI based software platform.
  • The primary focus of the team is architecture research to develop SoCs, which is competitive with commercial offerings in the market concerning area, power and performance.
  • All the source codes for SHAKTI are open-sourced under the Modified BSD License.
  • The project was funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeITY), Government of India.
Shakti microprocessor


  • microprocessor is a computer processor where the data processing logic and control is included on a single integrated circuit, or a small number of integrated circuits.
  • The microprocessor contains the arithmetic, logic, and control circuitry required to perform the functions of a computer’s central processing unit.
  • SHAKTI has envisioned a family of processors as part of its road-map, catering to different segments of the market. They have been broadly categorized into “Base Processors”, “Multi-Core Processors” and “Experimental Processors”.
    • The E and C-classes core are aimed at Internet of things (IoT), embedded and desktop markets.
    • The processor design is free of any royalty and is open-sourced under the modified BSD License.
    • The SHAKTI project aims to build 6 variants of processors based on the RISC-V ISA.
    • E-class and C-class core are both implemented in Bluespec System Verilog (BSV) language.

CDAC’s discovery:

  • C-DAC(Center for Development of Advance Computing) had achieved significant progress in the development of the VEGA series of dual core and quad core microprocessors and two designs are ready for fabrication.
  • The first one is a 32-bit embedded processor which could be used in smart energy meters, smart water and gas meters, IoT devices, multimedia processing and AR/VR application.
  • It is a low power, low footprint and low-cost chip which could be deployed for wider applications. The technology has been developed and distributed to institutes to further development.
  • They had set an ambitious target of meeting at least 10% of the country’s microprocessor requirement.

Microprocessor Development Program

  • It was approved in August 2017 with Rs. 289.21 crore earmarked for the programme over four years.
  • C-DAC, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras and IIT Bombay were roped in for implementation of the project.
    • C-DAC is the premier R&D organisation of the MeitY for carrying out R&D in IT, Electronics and associated areas.
  • The development of an indigenous microprocessor is necessary to meet domestic needs and shield the country from potential future embargoes on transfer of critical technology.
    • A microprocessor is an Integrated Circuit (IC) that contains a few millions of transistors (semiconductor-based electronic devices) fused on a semiconductor chip. It is just a few millimetres in dimension and is used in almost every electronic device—from the microwave and washing machine in homes to advanced supercomputers of a space station.
  • The MDP was expected to lead to a reduction in overall cost of production, maintenance and upgradation of electronic products and systems in India, and cut foreign exchange outgo.
  • Under the program, not only industry-grade microprocessors have been designed from the scratch but also the ‘compute ecosystem’ around them has been evolved as a step towards meeting India’s future requirements. SHAKTI and VEGA are two microprocessors developed under the programme.

Open Source Architecture

  • Open-source architecture is a concept that combines the advances in design and technologies with the practices and ideas from open-source projects to help reframe an architectural design as a collective and collaborative endeavor.
  • Some of its features are as follow:
    • The solutions provided are not restrictive. Future modifications or add-ons to the architecture are possible for the best interest of the end user.
    • It helps in the integration of the widest range of technologies and components.
  • The proprietary design or technique is one that is owned by a company. It also implies that the company has not divulged specifications that would allow other companies to duplicate the product.
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Thank you