SK Hynix established a subsidiary in Silicon Valley that specializes in developing artificial intelligence (AI) solutions.
On Sept. 22, SK Hynix announced that Gauss Labs Inc., which established its headquarters in Silicon Valley last month, will establish its Korean office at the end of this month.
Although various companies in SK Group are operating AI research organizations separately, Gauss Labs is the first company to be incorporated separately.
Gauss Labs' capital is about $55 million (about 64 billion won) and SK Hynix is planning to invest in the company in full by 2022.Until now, major affiliates such as SK Telecom and SK Hynix have been carrying out various AI businesses on their own.
However, Chairman Chey Tae-won stressed the need to develop integrated AI solutions at the SK Icheon Forum in August last year, saying, "We should create social values by utilizing innovative technologies such as AI and digital transformation (DT), while expanding the scope of customers and creating customer happiness.
"In the future, Gauss Labs is going to start research and development with the goal of innovating semiconductor manufacturing using AI.SK Hynix is planning to push for overall intelligentization of production processes such as process management, yield prediction, equipment maintenance, and defect inspection.
Kim Young-han, a tenured professor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), was appointed as the first CEO of Gauss Labs. Professor Kim, who is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (IEEE), has also been working as a data research fellow at SK Hynix since last year.
Gauss Labs hired Yoon Sung-hee from Amazon as its chief R&D officer to lead the technology development. Yoon Sung-hee is a former researcher at Stanford University's Stephen Boyd, a world-renowned authority in machine learning and Convex Optimization. He is an AI and optimization expert who has built up his skills in various industrial sites such as semiconductors and e-commerce.
In the future, Gauss Labs is planning to expand its business to global customers as well as SK Group's manufacturing affiliates such as energy and bio. Previously, B2C-based AI services were the mainstream, but recently, B2B-based AI systems have emerged to reduce costs at production sites, focusing on manufacturing.
CEO Kim said, "We will secure 20 global AI experts by the end of this year and actively recruit talented people who will be able to compete at headquarters in the U.S. and Korean offices in order to raise the company's manpower to 200 by 2025."