TRON Project Leader's Opinion

Ken Sakamura

Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, The University of Tokyo

I'm writing this opinion piece on November 1 in Taiwan. The reason I've come to Taiwan is because I received an invitation to the plenary talk on the first day of the IEEE Asian Solid-State Circuits Conference (A-SSCC). This is an academic meeting concerning the design of semiconductors, which is a somewhat different line of work; in my lecture, I spoke to the people who design semiconductors about what types of things will be applications in the 21st century, and I told them that the representative ones would be for ubiquitous computing. In semiconductor design recently, things such as system-on-chip (SOC) are becoming more and more application oriented; because quickly learning future computer applications and feeding that knowledge back into design has become essential, it was a case of them calling on me. I just finished my lecture now; fortunately, the response after my presentation was good, and it seems as if my presentation was able to match their expectations.

According to University of Tokyo Prof. Kunihiro Asada, who is engaged as a member of A-SSCC, in the IEEE, there are just four semiconductor-related, fully supported conferences. The representative one is the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) held in San Francisco each year, but as it has come about that A-SSCC is being held from this year as its Asian edition, this reflects the flourishing of Asia in semiconductors. The sponsor is the IEEE Solid-State Society, the same as for the ISSCC.

Incidentally, close to 50 percent of these conference presentations are ones from Taiwan. From Japan is about 20 percent of the total. Korea is approximately a little less than Japan. According to what I heard from a related official, this is a quite ordinary number for presentations from Japan. At this conference, in the first cut, the competition ratio for selection was high at about three times; as the selection rate of the Japanese group was close to about two-thirds, it's not, by any means, a matter of them comparing unfavorably. Because Taiwan's putting lots of effort into it was not common, on the surface the results appear depressed.

That the number of Taiwanese presentations stands out is because Taiwanese universities, such as National Taiwan University, have been very actively putting out papers rather than the makers, and they say this is because Taiwan's government has been granting aid and strongly supporting the presentations of academic societies. However, this is not something myopic, which is to say that it was simply because of the location where the conference was held this year. It is a strategy in which you don't confine yourself internally and where presenting externally and communicating with others is essential even for the purpose of giving technical presentations, and thus the government is encouraging and supporting the presentation of research in various international venues, beginning with IEEE academic meetings.

Actually, the selection rate for the Taiwan group was low at about one-third, and because selection of their papers rose to close to 50 percent with that being the case, one understands how many papers were submitted. I thought a policy that places importance on presentations is rather something as a national strategy. Taiwan has made semiconductor development power, in particular establishing LSI design power, a national policy, and I got the impression that their having newly established LSI design courses at national universities is being faithfully reflected. Actually, prior to Taiwan, I was in Shanghai. Recently, Japan-China relations haven't necessarily been good in the political arena, but I think we should continue exchanges in technical arena, and the Chinese side also thinks so. In China, T-Engine has begun to spread, and so also for the purpose of not letting the flames die out, I went to China and returned on the basis that I cannot but go out there.

In China, at the end of October, the "3rd Asia Smart Label (RFID) Conference and 1st uID Technical Forum--Shanghai 2005," where we discussed RFID technologies and policies in China, took place in Shanghai, and it was there that I gave a keynote lecture. High officials from the Chinese government also participated, and when I listened to their lectures, I recognized that our ucode technology also is an important choice for them.

In the lecture by the person in charge of radio wave administration, there was the comment in regard to frequencies that in China it is impossible to assign a broad band in the same manner as the U.S. to UHF band tags, because cell-phones are using the 900 MHz band, and thus I learned that analysis of technical problem points is also being accurately carried out. Also, concerning the ucode scheme that we are promoting, the statement "the code possesses no meaning; premised on a network, it distinguishes things and places based on identifiers called ucodes," was significant, too; it seems like they have at last come to understand.

From here, how they will go on to use ucodes in China is important, and verification trial plans are also moving forward in China; it seems like actual examples of ucodes being used in China will come to be successively reported in 2006. On this occasion, I also made an on-the-spot inspection before returning.

Also, in regard to T-Engine, the course at Peking University has been drawn up and shortly will be launched, but, on this occasion, a course also started at Shanghai's Fudan University, and thus people developing T-Engine software will come to increase. Development using T-Engine/T-Kernel is moving forward, results appearing one after the other are being looked forward to. In Asia, doing things on cordial terms in all areas is difficult as there is also the history of the past, but, even so, it is important not to put an end to communication with various nations, and thus this was a trip during which I reconfirmed that science and technology are effective as the first step toward that end.

Well then, as soon as I return to Japan, I fly off to Korea, where there is a large ubiquitous computing-related conference. When I was doing the preparations for making the keynote lecture there in the hotels in Shanghai and Taiwan, it was just like being made to feel the surge of Asia.

The above opinion piece by TRON Project Leader Ken Sakamura appeared on page 1 of Vol. 96 of TRONWARE. It was translated and loaded onto this page with the permission of Personal Media Corporation.

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Copyright © 2005 Sakamura Laboratory, University Museum, University of Tokyo