Interesting piece of news hit a couple of days back – Indian Government is looking to develop India’s own microprocessor. A new entity will be floated under the name of Zerone with an initial investment of $200m. The corporation will have scientists from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and IIT Delhi that will work on a processor that’s been referred to as India Microprocessor.
The technical details are yet to be finalized but the India Microprocessor will mostly be based on Sun’s Open Sparc open source design with support for Linux and MySQL.
One question that may arise from this is why would India invest chunk of money in researching and developing their own chip? The reason is security. ET who secured the confidential document claims that “unless India has its own microprocessor, we can never ensure that networks (that require microprocessors) such as telecom, Army WAN, and microprocessors used in BARC, ISRO, in aircraft such as Tejas, battle tanks and radars are not compromised.”
Fair enough but I think the security motive for developing processors cripples with the fact that the fabrication of chips will be done overseas, where in case of a war could lead to shut down or leak of the designs.
The idea surely looks good on paper but going with the track record of our government, I don’t have high hopes for the plan.