SMU Forum Focused on Opportunities for U.S. and Taiwanese Semiconductor Industry Development

Dominant North Texas chipmakers have ‘skin in the game’

SMU US Taiwan Semiconductor Forum
L to R: Robert Lo, director general, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston; U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson; U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions; William Tsao, honorary president, Greater Dallas Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce; and Paul Voelker, mayor of Richardson, Tx.

Dallas (SMU) –A roundtable discussion at SMU focused on semiconductor development in the southern United States gathered U.S. and Taiwanese government leaders as well as academic and industry experts to discuss innovation, competition, and productivity for global semiconductor industries.

The July 16 roundtable on the SMU campus included these topics:

  • Challenges and opportunities to semiconductor industries, including materials, hardware, software and artificial intelligence.
  • Workforce development, training and education
  • Innovation and research directions
  • Strategy for the next 10 years

Semiconductor shortages are currently slowing worldwide production of everything from automobiles to washing machines to mobile phones. Collaboration between the United States and Taiwan for semiconductor development is an acknowledged priority for both governments.

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, chair of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, told the group that the national security implications of chip production cannot be overstated, and thanked SMU for taking leadership on the issue.

“This is the area that will steer our future,” Johnson said, noting that semiconductor chips embedded in everyday products touch every life. “It will close down the economy if we don’t get them supplied,” she said.

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions told the gathering that the United States needs strong academic support and the prowess of the U.S. system to fuel opportunity.

“We’re here today because we are hooked on chips,” Sessions said.

“SMU intends to fully support this important effort and the companies behind it through research and workforce development,” said Suku Nair, interim associate provost for research and founding director of the University’s AT&T Center for Virtualization. “It was an engineer, Jack Kilby, at Dallas-based Texas instruments who changed the world with his invention of the integrated chip, and we will continue to build on that legacy.”

The Dallas Fort Worth region leads Texas in semiconductor manufacturing, and the region got a big boost with two recent business developments out of Sherman, about 65 miles north of Dallas. GlobiTech, a subsidiary of Taiwan-based GlobalWafers Co., Ltd., announced in June that it would expand its current Sherman operation and open a new silicon wafer manufacturing facility that will create about 1,500 jobs. Texas Instruments broke ground in May on four new wafer fabrication plants in Sherman that could create as many as 3,000 jobs.

“We have two major challenges – the workforce and education,” said J.-C. Chiao, Mary and Richard Templeton Centennial Chair in electrical and computer engineering at SMU, who organized the forum. “We are short of talent for semiconductor jobs; it is an advanced topic that undergraduates in college usually have limited exposure to. This will not only deter great business opportunities now but also hinder innovation in the future.” He added, “the panelists brought vision for industry, device, material, design and application challenges; government research funding strategies; as well as state and local business opportunities in Texas.”

Bi-khim Hsiao, Taiwan’s Representative to the United States through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office; Texas Secretary of State John B. Scott; and U.S. Representatives Collin Allred, Beth Van Duyne and Jake Ellzey spoke to the group via taped messages. Texas State Representatives Jasmine Crockett, Matt Shaheen and Carl O. Sherman, Sr., and Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker also made opening remarks. 

The panel discussion featured:

  • Nicky Lu, chair, president and founder, Etron Tech, eEver Tech and eYs3D Microelectronics companies and AI-on-Chip Taiwan Alliance in Taiwan
  • Yung-Chung Kao, president and CEO, IntelliEPI
  • Ji Zhao, senior vice president, Diodes Inc.
  • Brett Wilkerson, fellow, AMD (Advanced Micro Devices)
  • Taylor Hogan, distinguished engineer, Cadence Design Systems
  • Donald Y.C. Lie, Keh-Shew Lu Regents Chair professor, Texas Tech University Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
  • Shekhar Bhansali, director, Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems Division at NSF (National Science Foundation)
  • Glenn Hamer, president and CEO, Texas Association of Business
  • Kent Sharp, president and CEO, Sherman Economic Development Corp.




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