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Taipei launches CPU project

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Four years ago From The Register, No. 19, June 1995 The quote of the week comes from Wu Chung-yu, technology director of the Taiwanese National Science Council. Commenting on Taipei's plans to develop the world's most powerful CPU by 2001, he said the project wouldn't necessarily be in direct competition with Intel, and that he'd even look forward to the opportunity to cooperate with the company. Intel's reaction to this kind offer should be interesting, to say the least. At the moment Wu has four companies, Macronix Acer, United Microelectronics and First International Computer, interested in the project, but if it flies it's likely that it'll turn into a multi-company Great Leap Forward of the sort the RoC government specialises in. Presumably by 2001 we won't be talking about an x86 clone, and the smoke surrounding Intel's VLIW project should have cleared sufficiently for it to be possible to make out who's winning the CPU wars. There's certainly a possibility that the market will be sufficiently fragmented by then for the Taiwanese to get a toehold, although the intention to build the world's fastest is ambitious - what Taiwan has so far done in CPU technology has been low-end stuff of the sort that plays in the developing world, but doesn't command high prices elsewhere. The RoC shouldn't be under-rated, however. It's currently fixing its historical weakness in semiconductor technology, and ought to have a fair say in the development of mainland China, where blood ties will go a good distance to cancel out any technological advantages development projects from the likes of Samsung and Motorola have. ®

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