TSMC to mass produce chips for Artificial Intelligence applications

TSMC to mass produce chips for Artificial Intelligence applications
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chip maker, will focus more of its efforts on developing chips suited for artificial intelligence (AI) applications and high-performance computing, according to a report of Nikkei Asian Review.

The shift in direction was planned as smartphone sales reached a plateau, prompting TSMC to seek the next big thing. The company wants to avoid the mistake made by semiconductor firm Intel, which stumbled over the last decade because it did not switch focus in time from the PC to smartphone markets, Nikkei says.

“We expect high-performance computing to become our major growth engine from 2020. By 2020 to 2025, that’s the time the need for high-performance computing products will really pick up,” TSMC Co-Chief Executive Mark Liu said during the first-quarter earnings conference in mid-April.

Half of the customers placing pre-orders for the advanced 7-nanometer chips plan to adopt them for high-performance computing related applications, said TSMC, which intends to produce the world’s first 7-nanometer chips in 2018.

TSMC had begun to produce data center chips for the high-performance computing sector, according to Liu. Data centers, which offer high-performance computing capabilities, are an essential piece of infrastructure required to develop next-generation technologies such as AI and autonomous vehicles.

Apple, Qualcomm, MediaTek and Huawei’s chip unit Hisilicon Technologies are among the companies that will adopt TSMC’s upcoming 7-nanometer chips, while Nvidia – a company that now focuses on AI development – is the most high-profile customer on the high-performance computing side.
Samsung and Intel, in contrast, have not disclosed detailed schedule for the development of 7-nanometer chips, according to Nikkei.
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