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No. of vector instructions
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Maximum performance (GFLOPS)
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Many thanks to Y. Oyanagi for providing translations from Hitachi catalogs.
AN UPDATE ON COMPUTING ACTIVITIES
Visits to the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Hsinchu Science Park, and the National Center for High Performance Computing and attendance at the Intelligent Signal Processing and Communication
Systems Workshop (ISPACS'92), all in Taiwan, are described.
by David K. Kahaner
make it one of the largest manufac- join the project. A free trade zone in
turers of this product in the United China means that there will be no restricMy earlier Scientific Information States. It is estimated that the projecttions on remitting foreign currencies Bulletin articles on Taiwan ["Computing will cost $300M.
in and out of the zone, and foreign in Taiwan," 16(2), 23-29 (1991); Members of Taiwan's Nationalist investors will be allowed to trade directly “Various Computing Activities in Party have offered to lend mainland with Chinese manufacturers, but will Taiwan,” 17(2), 9-14 (1992)) should be China (PRC) $10B if an agreement can still have to go through state-owned referred to for additional background. be reached on various political conces- trading companies in other parts of This visit covered two new sites. sions. Relationships between ROC and China. PRC government officials hope
Taiwan, the Republic of China PRC are complicated. Governments to make Hainan, whose construction (ROC), has an impressive record of both in Taiwan and in Beijing claim begins this year, the first of 10 Hong economic growth and now has more sovereignty over all of China, including Kong like enclaves along its southern than $80B in foreign reserves in its Taiwan, and have vowed to reunify the coast. Taiwan is especially well poised coffers. With all this ready cash the country one day. In fact, efforts to for- to take advantage of this because of its country has been trying to find intelli- mally separate the countries have common language. Ministry of Ecogent opportunities for investments. repeatedly been rejected by both gov- nomic Affairs tallies show that Taiwan Some examples of these follow. ernments. Economic ties between the business poured more than $820M into
One of the most highly publicized is two sides have been growing rapidly mainland China between 1987 and 1991. an attempt by Taiwan Aerospace to since political tensions began to ease In fact, the actual amount would be purchase 40% of the U.S.'s McDonnell in the late 1980s.
much higher if illegal investments were Douglas Corporation for $2B. Taiwan As has been repeatedly reported, included. Further, there are various Aerospace was created in 1991 with China is moving to expand its economic special economic tax incentives to both public and private capital. The base, especially in south China, by set- encourage Taiwanese investment. There deal is not yet final, and there have ting up various free trade zones. Small are some ups and downs, however. For been hitches both political and finan- businesses in these areas have a rapidly example, the Formosa Plastics Group cial, but if it goes through it will give growing trade activity with neighbor- (one of the world's largest) was planTaiwan an important role in the rapidly ing countries. For example, a $25B free ning to build a multibillion dollar growing Asian air travel market, as well trade zone is to be built on Hainan naphtha cracking plant in Haicang. The as giving the country more experience Island, modelled on Hong Kong. The project is now on hold. There may be in high technology manufacturing and 15-year project (Yangpu Economic some economic reasons, but political aerospace technologies.
Development Zone) will get an infu- questions have entered, too. Some critics The Taiwanese Chi Mei Industrial sion of $20-25B from a company that is charge that such an investment would Company is planning to build an acrylo- 35% owned by the Japanese construc- strengthen mainland China econominitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resin tion company Kumagai Gumi. Other cally and would therefore be inapproplant in Houston, Texas, which will foreign investors are being invited to priate until Beijing renounces taking Taiwan by force. Others reply that SCIENCE AND
energy, production automation, inforTaiwanese investors would gain a larger TECHNOLOGY IN TAIWAN mation sciences, materials, electroopsay in bargaining with mainland author
tics, biotechnology, hepatitis control, ities by forging economic alliances. Taiwan's President controls the and food science. The 1991 budget was
The main economic powerhouse in Executive Yuan (much like a Cabinet $240M, and budget growth has been Asia, Japan, has its own problems dealing department in the United States). The almost 24% for the past few years. In with China. Although Japan is Beijing's latter has set up the Research Devel- basic science, the funds are spent mostly largest foreign aid donor, and relations opment & Evaluation Commission on surface physics, superconductivity, between the countries are improving, (RDEC), which plays a key role in trace analysis methodology, biotechrepeated comments from Chinese offi- defining high technology directions. nology, science education, and inforcials make it clear there are still many Another important organization is the mation science. NSC also operates the subliminal memories on the Chinese National Science Council (see my earlier Hsinchu Science Based Industrial Park side concerning Japanese activities in report). Long range effort in R&D rests (see below). China during the 1930s and 1940s. with the universities and the National There are two interconnected eduAnother example of the use of Academia Sinica.
cational systems in Taiwan, one for Taiwan's purchasing power is the par- RDEC has a status equal to other general education and the other for ticipation by Taiwanese firms in a ministries under the Executive Yuan, technical and vocational education. consortium to buy the transmission such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nationally administered examinations division of General Motors Corp. In RDEC focuses on policy research, allow progress from one level to another, this case, though, the ROC contribu- planning, control and evaluation of including examinations for prospection would be very modest, slightly more policy implementation, information tive college students that determine than $1M. But the fact that the systems management, and government the curriculum and level at which they Indianapolis City Council wrote ROC's publications. Each year RDEC reviews will study. While there are some private Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking country-wide and world-wide develop- educational institutions, most students Taiwan to take part in the consortium ments and selects 15-20 research proj- attend public schools. to buy the division is indicative of the ects of importance to the country's economic clout available.
development. Recommendations are HSINCHU SCIENCE-BASED At the same time that Taiwan is presented to the Premier for final selec
presented to the Premier for final selec- INDUSTRIAL PARK (HSIP) using its financial muscle to purchase tion and then assigned to an appropritechnology, it is also trying to encour- ate agency for execution. There is also My host at HSIP was age foreign technological investment, the National Administrative Informawhich has lagged in the past year. For tion Systems Plan, which includes a Ms. Yvonne Chen example, a group of Taiwanese aero- department dedicated to the informa- Promotion Representative space, computer, and biotech special- tion systems peculiar to science and National Science Council, Science ists will be in the United States in May technology (S&T) development.
Park Administration 1992 (headed by the Vice Economic The main funding source is the 2 Hsin Ann Road Affairs Minister) to help forge alli- National Science Council of Taiwan Hsinchu, Taiwan 30077, ROC ances between local ROC firms and (NSC), also part of the Executive Yuan. Tel: +886-35-773311 U.S. high tech companies.
NSC is charged with planning and Fax: +886-35-776-222 Taiwan's foreign reserves also mean coordinating national S&T developthat it has trade conflicts with other ment. It has a number of divisions, Ms. Chen gave me a general tour and countries. There are ongoing talks including Natural Sciences, Engineer- overview. Wedid not go into any of the between Taiwan and the United States ing, Life Sciences, Humanities, Science facilities, so my comments below are about voluntary restraint on export of Education, International Programs, and based on observations and reading. ROC machine tools. At the same time others. In 1986 NSC drafted a 10-year HSIP is Taiwan's first such indusTaiwan runs almost a $10B trade deficit development plan to run through 1995. trial park. It is located in the city of with Japan and has imposed various The plan added programs in environ- Hsinchu in north-central Taiwan, about discriminatory measures against the mental protection, hazard mitigation, three-quarters of an hour from Taiwan's importation of Japanese goods. synchrotron radiation, and oceanog international airport and about 1 hour raphy to eight areas already identified: from Taipei. Hsinchu has two universi
ties, National Tsing Hua and National Chiao Tung, as well as several research Taiwanese Companies
92 as annual turnover of 215 billion New institutes, including the Industrial Foreign
42 Taiwan Dollars, which would be 10% Technology Research Institute (ITRI, U.S.
34 of the country's gross national indussee below) and the Food Research Asian
trial turnover by 1996. These estimates Institute. HSIP was established in 1980 European
4 might be optimistic, but there is no to help foster the development of high
doubt that the park is a success. While tech industries in Taiwan. In the past Taiwan's 1.3-GeV Synchrotron some companies have failed, the 4 years ROCs Government has invested Radiation Research Center is located buildings are mostly full, and there is a over $300M, including public utilities, in HSIP, and construction is underway long waiting list for vacant space. services, residences, schools, etc. Pri- for the National Center for High Pervate investment is 30/70% abroad/local, formance Computing (see below, and INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY and HSIP companies average about earlier reports).
RESEARCH INSTITUTE (ITRI) 6% of sales in R&D.
Presently, about 23,000 people work HSIP currently occupies about at HSIP and of these about 4,000 live in ITRI is a few minutes drive from 400 hectares, with another 120 hectares apartments and houses on HSIP prop- HSIP and still within the city of Hsinchu. scheduled to be developed within the erty. My host told me that there were It is situated on a modern, green, spanext 5 years. There are 135 companies about 1,000 Western managers, engi- cious campus. My host was using leased or owned space in the neers, and technicians working at HSIP, park. Various industry types are repre
but I think that this number is very Mr. Peter F.C. Wang sented, as follows.
heavily dominated by those of Chinese Director of Computer System
origin holding Western passports. I had Technology Division • Computers & Peripherals (44 com- no opportunity to meet with any Computer & Communication
panies): Systems, storage devices, Westerners, and I think that step would Research Laboratory input/output (I/O) devices, computer be an essential part of any decision ITRI communications, computer-aided about visiting HSIP for an extended Taiwan, ROC design (CAD) equipment, software. period. In any case there is an attractive Tel: +886-35-917301,-942602
and modern public school on the grounds Fax: +886-35-917503 • Semiconductors (35 companies) with a bilingual teaching program in E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
(fastest growing): Integrated circuit English and Mandarin through high (IC) materials, design, manufactur- school, and this would be an important ITRI is a 5,400-person facility ing, packaging, and testing.
asset for visiting scientists with families. founded in 1973 as a private institute
HSIP is somewhat like a small, self- by funding from the Taiwanese • Telecommunications (23 com- contained town, with restaurants, banks, Government. There are about 3,500
panies): Telephones, modems, sys- post office, tennis and basketball courts, scientific staff members, about 350 Ph.D. tems, microwave components, opti- swimming pool, and man-made lake. holders, and 1,750 master's graduates. cal fiber systems
There are special incentives to ITRI is focused on developing inno
investors of HSIP, including various vative technologies for new industries • Automation (12 companies): Com- tax waivers, holidays, access to venture and integrating technologies into exist
puterized numerical control (CNC) capital, low interest loans, and govern- ing industries. While its mission includes equipment, robots, high-pressure ment grants. In addition, there are attrac
ment grants. In addition, there are attrac- long term and medium term research, water cutting systems, vacuum gen- tive capital repatriation opportunities. the emphasis is on activities that are erators, casts, surface treatment The park's administration can handle seen to be relevant to national needs, services
import/export licenses, bonding, ware- with the hope of accelerating develop
housing, shipping, etc. An interesting ment of industrial technology. ITRI • Optoelectronics (16 companies): feature of the park is the presence of receives about two-thirds of its 9.5 bil
Optical disk drives, diodes, optical basic factory buildings that can be set lion New Taiwan Dollar revenue from system components
up quickly for manufacturing and labo- the ROC Government through projratory space.
ects, which are then transferred to the • Biotechnology (4 companies): Vac- ROC would like to develop HSIP industrial sector. The remaining reve
cines, diagnostic kits, medical into Taiwan's Silicon Valley. Plans are nue is from private contracts to work equipment
in print to expand the park to on specific processes or products or to 900 hectares and 50,000 people, as well provide technical services. ITRI is also