Emeritus Prof. Young-June Park, “Will strive to create an ecosystem for intelligent semiconductors such as AI” (The Korea Economic Daily, 20190728)

2019-08-09l Hit 881

First chairman of Intelligent Semiconductor Forum (지능형반도체포럼), SNU Emeritus Professor Young-June Park

Takes office as the first representative of the forum for industry, academia, and research institutes gathered to look into ‘the future of semiconductors as Korea’s breadwinner’

“Intelligent semiconductor is a key field in the future in which the government has invested about one trillion won over a decade. When all three conditions, semiconductor design and manufacturing technology, software, and service, are met, only then can an ecosystem for intelligent semiconductors be created.

SNU ECE Emeritus Professor Young-June Park(67, photograph), who took office as the first chairman of the ‘Intelligent Semiconductor Forum(지능형 반도체 포럼)’ on the 24th said that constructing the ecosystem is of the utmost importance for development in intelligent semiconductors. Intelligent semiconductor refers to semiconductor technology that can use AI to learn on its own.

With the approaching era of AI, the forum was founded with the aim for people from industry, academy, and research institutes to search for the updated trends and direction of further development in intelligent semiconductors. The forum was attended by a hundred and seventy people affiliated with 60 institutes and organizations such as major domestic companies and Fabless Semiconductor Company(a domestic company specializing in semiconductor design), global companies including Intel and NVIDIA, universities, and government-funded research institutes.

Chairman Park is representative of the first-generation semiconductor researchers. He graduated SNU EE and acquired his Ph.D. in 1983 at MIT EE. He became a professor at SNU EE in 1988 and held the office of the director of SNU Inter-university Semiconductor Research Center and the director of NANO Systems Institute, contributing to development in semiconductor technology and the training of human resources. For his service, he received the ‘Semiconductor Day Special Recognition Award’ along with Oh-hyun Kwon, the president of Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, during the 11th Semiconductor Day ceremony that was held in October last year.

He points to ‘a lack in human resource’ as the source of the recent difficulties in the semiconductor industry, which are called the crisis of Korea’s semiconductor industry. “From some point in time, semiconductors have been considered a company-exclusive area. In the past decade, there has been little government investment for research related to semiconductors. As the younger generation of researchers in universities is increasingly reluctant to conduct research in semiconductors, there has been a drop in the number of talented people in the field,” he diagnosed. Another problem is that China’s ‘rise in semiconductors’ was swallowing Korean developers like a blackhole.

The export restrictions of semiconductor material from Japan posed a larger threat. Chairman Park explained, “If the main semiconductor customers leave with Japan’s export restrictions, it will be extremely difficult to persuade them to return.”

In order to overcome such crises, Chairman Park urges to search for ‘the future potential of semiconductors as a breadwinner’. “When the memory semiconductor business started in the 1980s, circumstances were worse. Moore’s law, according to which semiconductor performance doubles every 18 months, is coming to an end. In this period of paradigm change for semiconductors, we must grab the new opportunity of intelligent semiconductors,” he said.

“The intelligent semiconductor, which is the key to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, offers Korea the opportunity to make a new leap. The purpose of this forum is to create a domestic ecosystem for intelligent semiconductors by providing a long-term roadmap and to strengthen the collaboration amongst the industry, academy, and research centers.

Translated by: Jee Hyun Lee, English Editor of Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,