The semiconductor industry has an important strategic position in the realm of science and technology, and Taiwan ranks first in the world in output value for semiconductor manufacturing, packaging, and testing, and second in the world for chip design. In the face of strong competition from Europe, the United States, Japan, South Korea, and China, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) has urged NARLabs' Taiwan Semiconductor Research Institute (TSRI) to continue fostering top-tier master's and doctoral-level researchers. In addition, TSRI will build on the achievements made through large-scale government projects, such as the Green Energy Flagship, Smart Machinery, and Semiconductor Moonshot projects, and cultivate excellent environments for training talented individuals in the field of semiconductor manufacturing.
At this important and critical time, NARLabs welcomed its new Director General of TSRI on October 3, 2022: Tuo-Hung (Alex) Hou, Chair Professor of the Institute of Electronics at National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU). NARLabs President Faa-Jeng Lin is eager to see the ways in which Director General Hou will build on the past achievements of TSRI, playing a strong backing role in the development of Taiwan's semiconductor industry. Director General Hou will also continue to establish next-generation semiconductor R&D environments and train high-level technical professionals in the fields of semiconductor components, wafers, and system design.
Dr. Hou holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from National Chiao Tung University. After working at TSMC for four years, he went to the United States to pursue his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University, receiving his degree in 2008. Shortly after, Dr. Hou returned to Taiwan, taking on a teaching position at the Department of Electrical Engineering at National Chiao Tung University (now the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University) and the Institute of Electronics. He has served as Associate Vice President for Research & Development, Vice Director of the Microelectronics and Information Research Center, and Director of the EECS International Graduate Program at NYCU, a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Taipei Section Board of Supervisors, and Professor (joint) at the Industrial Technology Research Institute Electronics and Optoelectronic System Research Laboratories. Currently, Dr. Hou is a member of the IEEE Taipei Section Board of Directors and Program Director of NSTC's Taiwan Angstrom Semiconductor Initiative.
Dr. Hou's areas of expertise include nonvolatile memory, neural and in-memory computing, metal-oxide thin-film transistors, and two-dimensional layered materials and devices. He has twice received the Outstanding Research Award from the Ministry of Science and Technology (now the National Science and Technology Council), the Ta-You Wu Memorial Award, the Outstanding Electrical Engineering Professor Award from the Chinese Institute of Electrical Engineering, the Outstanding Research Award (Gold Medal) from the Industrial Technology Research Institute, and the NCTU Excellent Teaching Award. He has also published over 250 academic research papers.
Dr. Hou was especially thankful to the late Director General Wen-Kuan Yeh for the foundation he laid for TSRI over the past eight years. Dr. Hou believes that with the long-term support of NSTC, TSRI is building up substantial capabilities for hands-on training. He stated that in the face of fierce international competition and complex technological development, TSRI will continue to strengthen its R&D and talent development efforts. It will also focus on key areas such as next-generation transistor technology, AI and IoT chip design, compound semiconductor chips, emerging memory computing architectures, 3D chips, and heterogeneous integration. In line with NARLabs' vision of "Global Excellence, Local Impact," TSRI will become a cradle for world-class semiconductor technology R&D and professional training, helping Taiwan's semiconductor industry maintain its international competitive strength.