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AI Research Center Inaugurated
In March of this year, under the auspices of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Artificial Intelligence for Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (AIMS) Research Center was inaugurated at NTHU. The Center integrates various research and teaching units and is currently sponsoring ten research projects. By leveraging Taiwan's comparative advantages in manufacturing, the Center will promote the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to the manufacturing process as a way of enhancing the nation’s industrial competitiveness.
 
At the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology Hsu Yu-chin stated that Taiwan’s main strengths are manufacturing and semiconductor industry. Thus he hopes to see the Center spur advanced technological research and development to increase Taiwan’s economic competiveness. “I would like to encourage everyone by quoting my previous supervisor Dr. Paul Huang at NOVAS, “Be the champion in making products and the top gun in that industry!” The Ministry of Science and Technology is expected to invest NT$5 billion in promoting innovation in AI, and has established sister centers at three other national universities (NCTU, NTU, and NCKU), each will focus on different aspects of AI development. Thus, NTHU focuses on manufacturing, NCTU on smart services, while NCKU will concentrate on biotechnology and medical care and, NTU will focus on AI's core technology and its applications to biotechnology.
 
Professor Lin Youn-long, Department of Computer Science, serves as the coordinator of the four AI ​​Centers. He said that research and development in manufacturing technology requires close cooperation with industry to solve real problems, and thanked the Center’s director, Professor Chien Chen-fu of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, for forming a strong steering committee. One of the novel features of the Center is that it doesn’t require KPIs for performance evaluation, thereby allowing the Center’s staff to concentrate on their main work rather than making painstaking evaluations.
 
Prof. Chien Chen-Fu said that establishing the Center at NTHU places it in the best position to respond to the needs of manufacturers in the Hsinchu Science Park and elsewhere. Moreover, strengthening Taiwan’s international competitiveness requires training personnel who can develop unique technologies that can be easily accepted in the international market.
 
Professor Shih Chin-tay of the College of Technology Management is the chairperson of the Center’s Steering Committee. He said that 30 years ago, when he was working at the Industrial Technology Research Institute, he helped to set up an advanced AI research center, but at that time, due to technological constraints, it did not really take off. Now, however, as a result of various developments, we can expect that AI technology will have an explosive growth.
 
Also on the Center’s steering committee is Mark Liu, the president and co-CEO of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). He pointed out that previously science and engineering students had to learn computer programming, but today they need to understand AI, and that engineers with a background in AI will always be in high demand. He also emphasized that Taiwan will face a more complex manufacturing environment in the future, and that AI will help engineers deal with the challenge of a changing environment.
 
The Center is currently sponsoring 10 research projects in such areas as AI, deep learning, machine vision, big data analysis, smart agriculture, smart machines, and machine networking. Among them, a research team led by Professor Lai Shang-hong of the Department of Computer Science is conducting a project on using deep learning to optimize the robot’s vision, the results of which are expected to contribute to the development of a robot capable of recognizing different people by their movements.
 
Also at the Center, a research team headed by Professor Lee Ching-hung of National Chung Hsing University is developing a smart machine system with a machine “assistant"which monitors system performance and detects the need of maintenance and replacement of parts.
 
Chien said that the goal of the Center is to develop a first rate AI research center with a manufacturing base in Taiwan. One of the functions of the Center’s office is to ensure that the research results find their way into the industrial sector and create a business model. In addition, the Center will organize various competitions to stimulate smart manufacturing.
 
Group photo at the opening ceremony of the Artificial Intelligence for Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (AIMS) Research Center.

Group photo at the opening ceremony of the Artificial Intelligence for Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (AIMS) Research Center.

Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology Hsu Yu-chin stressing the importance of AI to increasing Taiwan’s economic competiveness.

Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology Hsu Yu-chin stressing the importance of AI to increasing Taiwan’s economic competiveness.

Professor Lin Youn-long serves as the coordinator of the four AI ​​Centers.

Professor Lin Youn-long serves as the coordinator of the four AI ​​Centers.

Mark Liu, the president and co-CEO of TSMC sharing his experience in smart manufacturing.

Mark Liu, the president and co-CEO of TSMC sharing his experience in smart manufacturing.

Professor Chien Chen-fu, the Center’s director, explaining its goals.

Professor Chien Chen-fu, the Center’s director, explaining its goals.

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