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Gov’t to lead AI semiconductor development through public-private collaboration

  • December 10, 2017
  • , Yomiuri , p. 4
  • JMH Translation

The government will support the development of new semiconductor chips for artificial intelligence used for self-driving cars and robots. During fiscal 2018, it will establish a research center for engineers from companies and universities to develop energy-efficient chips that are capable of processing data faster than regular ones. Global competition for the development of AI-specific chips is intensifying. At present, U.S. firms are in the lead. Japan will step up its R&D efforts through public-private collaborations.


The government aims to develop AI-specific chips that are capable of processing data more than ten times faster and consuming less than one-hundredth of the power used by those in PCs and smartphones. 


At the new research center, the government will procure the equipment necessary for semiconductor development. It will create an environment for engineers from companies and universities that possess advanced technology to use the equipment freely to design products and test them.


Plans are underway to use the facilities of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), which is supervised by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, as a new research center. The government aims to complete the development of AI semiconductors within three years of launching the new facility.


To finance the development of AI semiconductors and other related projects, METI is expected to earmark about 70 billion yen in the budget for fiscal 2018. (Abridged)

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