Carnegie Mellon Establishes New Partnership
Carnegie Mellon has sealed an agreement with Taiwanese officials establishing new research and educational outreach programs with the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and National Chiao-Tung University (NCTU) in Hsinchu, a research-rich area south of Taipei.
"Signing the agreement, marks the beginning of a long-term relationship," said Carnegie Mellon Provost Mark Kamlet. "We will work jointly with ITRI and its president, Chintay Shih, to identify future key technical areas of research."
Research at the government-sponsored ITRI lab will focus on circuit design and its application in communication, information technology, computer and consumer electronics, and multimedia.
"The lab is an important part of our strategy to integrate research in various centers, and it will be funded at about $1 million a year," said Pradeep Khosla, head of Carnegie Mellon's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. The information technology industry accounts for 10 percent of the U.S. economy and nearly 60 percent of business capital spending.
Other important lab research will include developing security on a chip, a technology now in demand by both consumers and industry sectors.
Steady advances in chips, disk storage and software mean that the new focus is no longer the technology itself with its arcane language of processing speeds and gigabytes but on what people and companies can do with it, Khosla said.
"The new research lab also is designed to contribute significantly to technology developments in Taiwan and Asia," said Tsuhan Chen, a Carnegie Mellon professor and co-director of the ITRI lab along with Shiaw-Yu Sian in Taiwan.
For the past two years, semiconductor foundries in Taiwan have struggled to regain momentum amid one of the worst slumps in the industry's history. Industry analysts report that the key to the future is developing a network of partnerships with customers and strategic alliances with top researchers.
The educational component of the agreement begins a long-term relationship with NCTU, a Taiwanese technical university. Future projects include student and faculty exchanges and educational outreach programs.
One particular outreach program will bring five to 10 outstanding Taiwanese students to study at Carnegie Mellon. Both universities produce students with strong hands-on skills as well as a strong theoretical interdisciplinary academic toolkit.
"Carnegie Mellon is not only a top U.S. university, but the school is a world leader in research involving system-on-a-chip work," said Chun-Yen Chang, president of National Chiao-Tung University. "With the abundant research resources and years of successful international collaboration experience, the Carnegie Mellon/NCTU collaboration will help Taiwan move up the technology ladder," said Chang, who is leading Taiwan's national research and development of system-on-a-chip.