Semiconductor “moonshot” program to propel Taiwan’s edge computing industry

  • Date: 2017-08-30

I. Background

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a powerful and inevitable trend that is changing the way the world does business. To stay on top of global developments in this area, Taiwan has designated AI as a focus for the next generation of tech development. As part of this effort, the Ministry of Science and Technology will be launching a semiconductor “moonshot” program in 2018 to boost core technologies for the intelligent edge computing industry. This four-year, NT$4 billion (US$132.6 million) program is expected to help Taiwan carve out “blue ocean” opportunities in edge computing by developing new semiconductor processes and designing advanced chip systems.

II. Develop breakthrough technologies in edge computing

From 2018 through 2021, the moonshot program will invest NT$1 billion (US$33.2 million) a year into developing semiconductors and chip systems for edge devices as well as integrating the academic sector’s R&D capabilities and resources. Academic teams will also be encouraged to participate in cooperative projects with industry to develop homegrown technologies and add greater value to Taiwan’s products and services. The aim is to achieve vertical integration to serve the needs of industry, spur industrial development, and boost Taiwan’s advantages in the semiconductor field.

A. Overall objective: Find breakthrough technologies for edge computing by 2022 and develop AI chips for a broad range of edge devices.

B. Enhance industrial technologies and competitiveness:

1. Develop efficient AI chips, and encourage more businesses to invest in groundbreaking components, manufacturing processes, and materials and packaging that enable logic circuits to operate on lower voltages and less power.

2. Design next-generation memory devices that offer low power loss, long standby time, rapid read/write performance, and smart computing and storage functions.

3. Research and develop highly sensitive detection components capable of operating on extremely low voltage while using very little power. Continue exploring potential applications for unmanned vehicles and augmented and virtual reality, and develop AI chips specifically with security considerations for internet-of-things systems.

C. Cultivate high-level interdisciplinary specialists in semiconductors and chip design: Train top-notch specialists in semiconductor processes, materials, and chip design to match industrial demands and meet the nation’s development needs.

III. Conclusion

A long-time global leader in semiconductors and chip design, Taiwan boasts a solid foundation in parts development, chip design and semiconductor manufacturing. By promoting the semiconductor moonshot program, the government hopes to extend Taiwan’s industrial advantages and make edge computing technologies more competitive, giving Taiwan the confidence to usher in the era of AI applications and forging a prosperous new future for its semiconductor industry.