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Gov’t to support AI semiconductor development

  • February 19, 2018
  • , The Japan News , 8:28 p.m.
  • English Press

Aiming to promote the development of semiconductors for artificial intelligence, the government will start providing assistance for start-ups and young researchers jointly with companies such as SoftBank Group Corp., Sony Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd., according to sources.


The government plans to hold its first “contest” to compete for new technologies in 2018 and provide outstanding companies and talents with development funds and other support, the sources said.


AI semiconductors will be key to developing new-generation technologies such as self-driving cars, and the government aims to develop AI semiconductors that will become global standards through public-private cooperation.


The aim of the contest is to find standout talent and the seeds of technologies necessary for developing advanced AI semiconductors, they said.


Start-ups, graduate school students and others are expected to compete for new designs, processing speed of AI and other areas. In 2018, the government plans to hold a contest for AI semiconductors to be used in self-driving cars and robots.


For the best start-up or talent, the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry will subsidize their development costs, and participating companies will then invest in them to facilitate the commercialization of new technologies and their mass production, according to the sources.


This will benefit start-ups and others with scarce funds, as financial and other support from the government and major companies will help them commercialize their own technologies. At the same time, large companies will also be able to develop advanced technologies and find talent through the initiative.


Compared to general semiconductors for personal computers and other devices, higher performance is required for AI semiconductors, such as faster data processing.


Since AI semiconductors will be the core technology to develop next-generation products such as self-driving cars, U.S. companies, such as Google and Intel, and Chinese companies are putting more effort into developing them.


The government will therefore strengthen its support to ensure Japan does not lag behind in the development competition.

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