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Source: Taipei Times
Date published: 19 Nov 2003
Reporter: BILL HEANEY
Editor: BILL HEANEY

PARTNERSHIP:The two countries are discussing the possibility of working together to develop new technologies, such as full computer systems on one piece of silicon
BY BILL HEANEY
STAFF REPORTER
Wednesday, Nov 19, 2003, Page 10

Two from the Canadian high-technology industry are visiting Taiwan this week to explore opportunities for research collaboration between the two nations in the area of chip design.

"Canada's partnership with Taiwan in chip design is growing," Keith Parsonage, director general of Industry Canada's information and communications technology (ICT) branch, told reporters in Taipei yesterday.

Parsonage Krzysztof Iniewski, a consultant with Canadian Microelectronics Corp, are in Taiwan to discuss possible partnerships in creating full computer systems on one piece of silicon, or systems-on-a-chip (SoC).

"Our purpose in coming to Taiwan is to explore possible co-operation opportunities with uni-versities and companies here," Iniewski said.

On Monday, the delegation met with 30 representatives from Taiwan's semiconductor industry in the nation's critical chip manufacturing heartland of Hsinchu. "We are pleased with the high turnout, with key people from Taiwan's semiconductor companies attending," he said.

The nation is home to the world's two largest foundries, or manufacturers of made-to-order semiconductors. As manufacturing moves from Taiwan to cheaper countries in Asia, the nation is keen to develop its research and development capabilities.

"We want to upgrade Taiwan's semiconductor industry to become more design-oriented," Huang Wei (??), director of the System-on-a-Chip Research Center of Hsinchu's National Chiao Tung University, told the Taipei Times yesterday.

"Canada has expertise in chip design and we hope to share that," he said.

Canada a strong research environment. Last year, the country's C$125 billion (US$95.35 billion) ICT industry funded 43 percent of the nation's private research, despite accounting for only 5.5 percent of total GDP, government statistics show.

"Canada is good at ICT," said Huang, who is also chair professor of Chiao Tung's Electronics Engineering Department.

"In the near future Taiwan wants to be strong in wireless communications, and Canadian partners can help us to do that," he said.

Like Silicon Valley in California, Canada has progressed beyond chip manufacture to design and innovate new chip technology, which foundries in Taiwan turn into products. Taiwaneseexpertise in manufacturing is essential to creating the next generation of computer chips that cram more circuits onto the same piece of silicon, with the ultimate aim of creating whole systems on just one chip, Iniewski said.

Research molecular-level computer circuits is already creating miniscule sensors that can detect temperature changes, pressure, chemicals and even biological com-ponents.

By these sensors into silicon chips, engineers may eventually be able to create DNA testing devices on one chip, Iniewskisaid. With a microscopic radio transmitter built in, the same chips could send test results to a central data center for further analysis.

The next step in developing partnerships is a series of work-shops in Taiwan and Canada. Eventually, joint design centers will open in both countries.

"It's still early in the process, but there is the possibility of Taiwanese companies opening design centers in Vancouver," Iniewski said. AndCanada costs around 40 percent less than setting up in Silicon Valley in California, he added. setting up a business in

The UK-based research institute Economist Intelligence Unit recently ranked Canada as the best place in the world to do business.

Personal opinion:

This article shows yet another collaboration between Taiwan and Canada in the research and development sector. Designing a system on the chip will make electronic devices smaller and more portable. This is particular useful in the wireless communications field because devices such as wireless usb adapter, wireless router need to be portable. According to Huang, chair professor of Chiao Tung's Electronics Engineering Department, Taiwan is already strong in wireless communications, hence innovation in their niche is definitely needed to scale greater heights. Taiwan being a maunfacturing giant as well, will in turn assist canada in producing cheaper equipments in the realm of ICT.

Reference:
Taiwan, Canada plan chip cooperation - http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2003/11/19/2003076450/wiki
accessed on 25 Oct 2008