China’s highest-ranked university creates school dedicated to integrated circuits

Expects breakthroughs in design, materials and more. No pressure: Xi Jinping dropped in ahead of launch

China's highest-ranked university has opened a new school dedicated to integrated circuits and given it the job of achieving breakthroughs and creating a generation of tech talent for the nation.

The home of the new school is Tsinghua University, ranked China's finest and the world's 20th best by Times Higher Education and 15th on the rival QS rankings.

The university this week celebrated its 110th birthday, an occasion deemed worthy of a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who stated: "Chinese education is capable of nurturing maestros. We should have faith in that."

And some of those maestros are clearly hoped to work on integrated circuits, because the University's announcement mentions the new school is expected to house studies that deliver strategically significant results to China, partly by making breakthroughs on technologies that befuddle other nations and help the nation to become self-reliant.

The university said the new school will teach courses on IC design, manufacturing, packaging and system integration, and even investigation of new materials.

A senior exec of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), China's largest semiconductor outfit, spoke at the opening and said the School is just the sort of resource the company needs.

Tsinghua University hasn't said how many students the new school will house nor detailed its curriculum.

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But all concerned – from Xi down – have called for students to sign up and do their patriotic duty by helping China to transform its economy and society through mastery of technology.

China knows it has a silicon problem. While the nation houses advanced manufacturing facilities owned by the likes of TSMC, domestic IC companies can't satisfy local demand or match foreign technologies. China wants to change that, fast, because it has identified AI-driven business applications, and pervasive networks, as key technologies for its future prosperity and security. ®

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