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What can we learn from Taiwan's semiconductor industry?

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On May 16, 2005, Bloomberg Business Weekly's cover read, "Why is Taiwan important? Under the heading, it points out the world share of Taiwan's semiconductor industry. How does Taiwan Semiconductor succeed? Professor Zhang Yaowen, School of Electrical Engineering and Information, University of Taiwan, pointed out: "The trinity of industry, government and university is the reason for success. "

Cooperation between industry, government and university is endless, laying half the sky for semiconductor industry

Zhang Yaowen believes that Taiwan's semiconductor industry is "Taiwan's Silicon Shield, the treasure of Zhendao", and it is strong in all aspects. Semiconductor output accounts for half of Taiwan's, accounting for 15% of the world's total, ranking third, second to the United States and South Korea; IC design output accounts for 17% of the world's total, ranking third; wafer manufacturing (72%) and sealing (56%) ranks first in the world. The integrity of Taiwan's semiconductor industry chain is also rare in the world.

The main reason for such success is the cooperation of industry, academia and government. Zhang Yaowen took an example. In 1996, TSMC Zhang Zhongmou suggested that the government should pay attention to the cultivation of semi-conductor talents. Therefore, the Ministry of Education promoted the VLSI education reform plan, which is the cooperation of production and government. In 2013, the Taiji Radio Research Center was established to develop 5-7 nano-processing technology, which is an example of industry-university cooperation. In terms of official-university cooperation, in 1993, under the suggestion of all university professors, it was difficult to set up a chip design and production center (CIC) to provide free pipelines for the academic community to implement chips, even in foreign countries.

Wu Quanyuan, a professor at Tsinghua University who has passed away, once said that other fields in Taiwan are fighting, killing and mutually robbing resources, but the field of IC design is very special. It is because people from all walks of life have selflessly envisaged that the three circles of industry, government and academia can cooperate closely and lay half the sky for Taiwan's semiconductor industry. So Zhang Yaowen said, "Why did Taiwan Semiconductor succeed? The key is in one word: people. The right person will do the right thing. "

Efforts and Challenges from All walks of life

In 2000, IBM developed a copper process to sell technology to Taiwan companies. At that time, TSMC decided to take a self-reliant R&D route. Yu Zhenhua, currently vice president of TSMC R&D, also said, "I don't rely on others to transfer technology. Since then, TSMC has been at the top of the world relying on its own technology. In 2002, TSMC developed an infiltrating micro-shadow technology, which can reach 10 nanometers from 65 nanometers; CMP technology in 2003 can add multi-layer circuit lines; InFO packaging technology in 2016, which enabled TSMC to acquire the iPhone packaging process for three consecutive years. In 2018, using EUV technology to fabricate 7 nano-chips has been a world leader.

In 2002, no papers were selected on ISSCC. ISSCC is the top international conference on IC design. At that time, the media mocked that although Taiwan's IC design industry occupied a place in the world, no papers were selected, not because scholars did not do this research, but because scholars did not do it well enough. Academic circles rose up and entered the top several years later. They have remained in the third and fourth places until now.

The government has put forward a VLSI education reform plan, which provides funds for schools to cultivate many IC talents. In addition, many national science and technology projects have been launched to enable semiconductor applications to penetrate into various fields.

However, there are still many challenges ahead. Technological complexity is getting higher and higher, while Taiwan's innovative energy is declining and its capital is also decreasing; government support is weakening, doctoral talents are decreasing, and the Ministry of Education-promoted curriculum 108 also weakens the scientific and engineering literacy; the academic community attaches too much importance to the number of superficial papers, application-oriented research, ignoring basic skills such as physics and mathematics; but these all need to be paid attention to. .