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Science ministry to invest NT$4 billion on AI training

2017/10/24 18:28:21

Chen Liang-gee (陳良基, center)

Taipei, Oct. 24 (CNA) The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) will invest a total of NT$4 billion (US$133 million) over the next four years to cultivate a talent pool for the development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in Taiwan, the ministry said Tuesday.

Lu Liang-hung (呂良鴻), director of the National Applied Research Laboratory's National Chip Implementation Center (NCIC) under the ministry, said the plan will start in 2018 and involve the investment of NT$1 billion annually for four years.

The talent development program will seek to train about 2,000 AI experts a year to work in the private sector, thereby enhancing the future of AI technology in Taiwan, Lu said.

Lu noted that AI technology has been applied to a wide range of industries, including self-driving cars, voice and face recognition software, and is an irreversible trend in industrial development worldwide.

"We are well aware that without AI experts, it will be difficult for the AI industry to grow in Taiwan," Lu said. "AI development is viewed as the future of local industry and the talent development program is expected to help local industry upgrade."

Lu said Taiwan cannot afford to lag behind other countries in AI development because it will then have to play catch-up in talent training.

In addition, Lu said, the center will assist local industry in the field of AI equipment and technology development as part of the program.

Meanwhile, Science and Technology Minister Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) signed a letter of intent on Tuesday with Aart de Geus, chairman of the U.S-based electronic design automation solution developer Synopsys Inc., for future cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S. firm in AI development.

Under the agreement, Synopsys will invest US$5 million to help Taiwan develop AI technology, an investment that will include the donation of an AI chip certification platform for local research personnel, including students, that is expected to boost the pace of innovation.

According to MOST, the NCIC has worked with Synopsys for years and the latest agreement is will promote even closer ties between the two sides.

(By Chu Tse-wei and Frances Huang)