1. We never positioned it as an ARM killer ! That was the imagination of the reporter who wrote the article.
2. Shakti is not a state only project. Parts of Shakti are funded by the govt, these relate to cores and SoCs needed by the Govt. The defense and strategic sector procurement is huge, runs in the 10s of billions of USD.There is significant funding in terms of manpower, tools and free foundry shuttles provided by the private sector. In fact Shakti has more traction with the private sector than the govt sector in terms of immediate deployments.
3. The CPU eco-system including ARM's is a bit sclerotic. It is not the lic cost that is the problem, it is the inherent lack of flexibility in the model.
4. Shakti is not only a CPU. Other components include a new interconnect based on SRIO, GenZ with our extensions accompanied by open source silicon, a new NVMe+ based storage standard again based on open source SSD controller silicon (using Shakti cores of course), open source Rust based MK OS for supporting tagged ISAs for secure Shakti variants, fault tolerant variants for aerospace and ADAS applications, ML/AI accelerators based on our AI research (we are one of the top RL ML labs around).
4. the Shakti program will also deliver a whole host of IPs including the smaller trivial ones and also as needed bigger blocks like SRIO, PCIe and DDR4. All open source of course.
5. We are also doing our own 10G and 25G PHYs
6. A few startups will come out of this but that can wait till we have a good open source base.
7. The standard cores coming out of IIT will be production grade and not research chips.
And building a processor is still tough these days. Try building a 16 core, quad wide server monster with 4 DDR4 channels, 4x25G I/O ports, 2 ports for multi-socket support. All connected via a power optimized mesh fabric. Of course you have to develop the on-chip and off-chip cache coherency stuff too !
8. And yes we are in talks with AMD for using the EPYC socket. But don't think they will bite.
Just ignore the India bit and look at what Shakti aims to achieve, then you will get a better picture.
I have no idea how successful we will be and I frankly do not care. What we will achieve (and have to some extent already) is
- create a critical mass of CPU architects in India
- create a concept to fab eco-system ind India for designing any class of CPUs
- add a good dose of practical CPU design knowhow into the engineering curriculum
- become one of the top 5 CPU arch labs around
Shakti is already going into production. The first design is actually in the control system of an experimental civilian nuclear reactor. IIT is within the fallout zone so you can be sure we will get the design right. If you want any further info, mail me. My email is on the Shakti site.
G S Madhusudan
I agree with your statement "I have no idea how successful we will be and I frankly do not care." There will be a lot of benefits as a result of this work regardless of the immediate outcome. Keep building the future!
There are a lot of comments here on HN that seem completely uninformed of what's actually happening with RISC-V. They are about to be surprised.
I think there are many people waiting for some real RISC-V ISA silicon. The existing chips are really under powered samples at this point. So, this article made me glad to see this announcement.
When not even Google can get a CPU without built in IME/PSP "secure" processors running insecure code, that seems like an understatement.
It seems like almost everyone is ignoring the epic fallout of a truly malicious entity discovering and silently exploiting a remotely exploitable security hole in for example Intel ME. They could more or less shut down whole countries by a key press.
And that would be just the start. When you can't be sure if there is malicious software remaining deep inside your processors, you pretty much have to shred them. And the motherboard, and the disk drives (http://spritesmods.com/?art=hddhack), etc. You simply would have to replace your whole IT-infrastructure. Then you need to try to figure out what sensitive data was lost... It would be a nightmare for sure. If I were Google or Amazon I would be absolutely paranoid.
How much will it cost for USA to implement a replacement for Social Security Numbers after the Equifax leak?
As our dependence on IT increases it becomes a more attractive target, so a well protected IT-infrastructure will be an absolute necessity in the near future. To be able to build a secure infrastructure, we need a hardware foundation that we can trust. We simply don't have that today!
Shakti sounds like it can be the foundation we need, I very much hope so.
He's a security expert working for Google. Here he is explaining just how bad the situation is.
here he talks about lack of trustable CPU:s https://youtu.be/JCa3PBt4r-k?t=7m22s
I just have one request though. If you are interested in Makers taking interest in your project please make sure your documentation is top quality. Also try to provide cheap dev boards so that the community can provide Linux or some RTOS port. I being in India it would help immensely if you have your dev resources at lower costs(FPGAs which I really doubt but dev boards with your processor, yes) so that people like me can help you with some OS ports. You can also follow the route of Adapteva Inc which can provide you with a template of good quality product (i.e. Good documentation, source code etc).
My question is about Bluespec SV and the random logic synthesis of the written code. Is it good enough for good power consumption figures or is that not really a concern at this point? Do you know how its reception has been in industries in the last 4-5 years? Is it still the 'technology of the future'?
Another question I have is, this project being open source, are you seeing contributions from other educational institutions or industries? What would be needed get more institutions involved?
I think the world can use some competition in the server space between different ISAs, the current Intel(-and-sometimes-AMD) monoculture is problematic for a number of reasons.
Silly question, but what do you mean by "sclerotic" here? I had to look up the word and only found medical definitions.