KARACHI: In a hallmark development, the students and faculty of Pakistan’s premium technology institution, Usman Institute of Technology, have developed the country’s first homegrown open-source microprocessor. The UIT team leveraged the RISC-V based open-source architecture to produce the said processor that may transform the local tech manufacturing industry.
UIT Aims To Develop Pakistan’s First Indigenous Open Source Processor
Behind the remarkable development are UIT’s undergraduate engineering and computer science students, faculty, and a couple of international mentors. UIT is the only undergraduate institute in Pakistan to be teaching processor designing based on RISC-V in undergraduate program.
UIT’s single cycle RISC-V processor uses industry standard Chisel programming language. The institute is running RV32I processor core on FPGA and future development include complete RISC-V processor and semiconductor chip development by undergraduate students.
“We believe in industry academia linkage and the only way to progress our nation is to develop students for cutting edge industry,” said Dr. Zahir Ali Syed, Director UIT. “We are trying to get Pakistan’s share from the 500 billion dollar global semiconductor industry and trying to make our undergraduate students ready to cash in on that market.”
One of the mentors on this project is UIT’s adjunct faculty member Dr. Rumi Naqvi who has 17 years of IC design experience. In collaboration with Usman Institute of Technology, Dr. Rumi started Micro Electronics Research Laboratory (MERL-UIT) in June 2019.
Some other prominent names on the project include Dr. Ali Ahmed who is Assistant Professor and head of MERL at UIT, Engr. Asad Hussain who is making curriculum for undergraduate engineering students, Engr. Farhan who is teaching industry standard Chisel programming language and core development, and Hadir Khan who is a UIT graduate student leading undergraduate students in various classes.