MOST unveils US$132 million Taiwan AI semiconductor project

An NT$4 billion (US$132 million), four-year project assisting Taiwan’s semiconductor industry develop cutting-edge process technologies and foster talents specializing in artificial intelligence was announced Aug. 15 by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Expected to commence next year, the initiative encompasses cognitive computing and AI processor chips; next-generation memory designs; process technologies and materials for key components of sensing devices; unmanned vehicles and augmented and virtual reality applications; and Internet of Things systems and security.
It also involves promoting academic-private sector collaboration in producing more talents versed in semiconductor process technologies, material development and integrated circuit design.
MOST Minister Chen Liang-gee said Project Moonshot draws on Taiwan’s world-leading technological prowess and will slingshot it to the head of the international pack in the race to develop the latest AI applications. The timing is also opportune as local firms must be ready for fresh challenges in 2022 when global high-tech heavyweights are likely to launch commercial production of chips made with the advanced 3-nanometer technology node, he added.
According to the ministry, the initiative has the backing of local powerhouses such as Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc., MediaTek Inc., Phison Electronics Corp. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
The project is one of many AI-related initiatives recently launched by the MOST. Last month, it unveiled an NT$5 billion, five-year plan for recruiting local and foreign talents, as well as setting up three to four AI innovation research centers nationwide.
A total of NT$2 billion is earmarked for investment in AI research and cloud platforms by the ministry before year-end 2018. This commitment falls under the government’s Forward-looking Infrastructure Program—an NT$420 billion, four-year initiative aimed at stimulating growth and driving industrial transformation in Taiwan. (SFC-E)

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