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Taiwan strikes out again at ISSCC

Posted: 07 Feb 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:taiwan semiconductor industry association? itri? silicon? isscc? international solid state circuits conference?

Organizers of the International Solid-State Circuits Conference are trying to figure out why papers from universities and companies in Taiwanone of the electronics industry's powerhouseswere shut out of the conference for a fifth straight year. "It's not that they're doing nothing. They're not doing it as well [as other countries]," said Kenneth C. Smith, ISSCC publicity chairman.

Taiwan contributed perhaps a half dozen of the 352 total papers submitted for the annual conference, which will be held here in February. The papers are reviewed by both the conference's Far East program committee and the main paper-review board, generally with an eye toward technological breakthroughs that have been commercialized recently or are approaching commercialization.

"It seems it's a rehash of issues," Smith said. "It's development for sale, but it's not leading edge per se."

Officials from ITRI, Taiwan's top research institute, attend the conference every year and encourage Taiwanese engineers to offer papers, said Laura Fujino, ISSCC director of publications. "At some point, they get discouraged," she said.

Nicky Lu, a member of the Far East committee and CEO of Taiwanese memory designer Etron Technologies, has been asked to look at what's going on, she added.

Lu said he is aware of the problem and hopes to remedy it by encouraging the government to give professors greater credit for publishing papers at ISSCC and other high-profile technology conferences. Such recognition would be taken into consideration when professors are up for promotion.

In addition, Lu will raise the issue at this month's meeting of the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association, with the aim of getting Taiwan's industry leaders to lend greater support to employees who may want to draft papers for submission. "We have a social and a technical responsibility to publish papers, because we are now one of the top three countries producing silicon," Lu said. "We understand that, but it just takes time to change people's minds."

The VLSI Circuits Symposium has seen similar problems with Taiwanese submissions. "It could just be that they [the Taiwanese] are making too much money leading the world in foundry technology to be concerned," one observer said.

Lu agreed that Taiwan's success in manufacturing has drawn the best talent away from research and more toward development. "Ninety percent of what we do is development work, and 10 percent is research work, which some companies, like TSMC, classify as confidential," Lu said. "The culture is so manufacturing-oriented, so the talent migrates into that. Only in these past two years have we seen things start to change." Next year, Taiwan's goal is to submit 10 papers for consideration at ISSCCdouble this year's total.

Brian Fuller

EE Times

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