Technology ministry working with Microsoft on AI development

12/06/2017 08:41 PM
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President of Microsoft Taiwan Sun Chi-kang (孫基康, right) and Science and Technology Minister Chen Liang-gee (陳良基, third right)
President of Microsoft Taiwan Sun Chi-kang (孫基康, right) and Science and Technology Minister Chen Liang-gee (陳良基, third right)

Taipei, Dec. 6 (CNA) The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) signed a memorandum of understanding with U.S. high-tech giant Microsoft Corp. Wednesday on artificial intelligence (AI) development.

The MOST's National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs) inked the accord for the strategic partnership on behalf of the ministry, aimed at cooperation with Microsoft in three arenas of AI: big data technology, AI platform development and efforts to cultivate a talent pool, NARLabs said.

According to NARLabs, Microsoft is one of the major enterprises in the world that can provide big data services, so the cooperation is expected to allow NARLabs researchers to use the U.S. partner's smart data search tools to pin down data they need quickly for analysis.

In addition to the big data services, Microsoft will also provide resources and technical support to develop platforms in AI development, while the U.S. firm will provide opportunities for post-doctoral students to study at its research labs in the United States.

Meanwhile, Microsoft will partner with the MOST to hold workshops and competitions on AI in a bid to further expand Taiwan's talent pool, NARLabs said.

During the signing ceremony, Science and Technology Minister Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said that working with Microsoft is expected to enable NARLabs researchers to find papers among the tens of millions of dissertations in its data bank, a move necessary for NARLabs to tailor its own research and strengthen its research capability.

Sun Chi-kang (孫基康), president of Microsoft Taiwan, said the number of new dissertations has hit 1.7 million and it is unlikely that researchers can sift through such a high volume of information without the help of AI. Through AI development, Sun said, Taiwan's industry is expected to become more competitive in the global market.

Chen said the MOST is determined to find more international partners like Microsoft to facilitate the pace of AI development.

In late October, the MOST pledged to invest NT$4 billion (US$133 million) over the next four years to cultivate a talent pool for AI technology development in Taiwan.

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

The ministry views AI development as the future of local industry, and the talent development program is expected to help upgrade local industry and strengthen its competitiveness.

(By Chu Tse-wei and Frances Huang)


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