Microsoft is recruiting talent this month for its first artificial intelligence (AI) research and development center, which it decided in January to locate in Taiwan.

The American software giant better known for its Windows operating systems will hold several recruitment events at top Taiwanese schools in March and April this year.

The R&D center anticipates employing 100 people within the next two years and 200 within five years. Microsoft is spending about US$33 million for this project.

Microsoft picked Taiwan over other parts of Asia because Taiwanese universities produce talents across a broad manufacturing supply chain, the company’s greater China regional chairman and CEO Alain Crozier said at a media event this February.

Kuo Yu-ting Kuo, a Taiwan university graduate and a general manager with Microsoft’s AI research group, will bring staff people over from the United States to Taiwan to share work experiences and AI-related technologies.

The firm will look for researchers and engineers as well as people who are skilled in human resources and law.

Microsoft plans to open some of the Taiwan AI jobs to applicants overseas, and people hired in Taiwan would get opportunities to work abroad for the company.

“One of our goals is also to cultivate talents locally in Taiwan,” said David Ku, chief technology officer of Microsoft’s AI and Research Group. “We hope that through the establishment of this center, Taiwanese talents will have more opportunities to interact and learn from top talents around the world.”

Recruiters will visit National Taiwan University, National Cheng Kung University, National Tsing Hua University, National Chiao Tung University and National Central University.

The AI R&D Center is just Microsoft’s latest project in Taiwan. In December it formed a partnership with the government’s National Applied Research Laboratories to offer its AI development platform; and in September the company launched its AI Talent Cultivation Project with the Taipei Medical University.

AI research focused on engineering

The Microsoft AI R&D Center in Taiwan will not pursue the basic science of artificial intelligence, which means teaching machines to interpret and anticipate a user’s movements. Instead, the center is designed to be more engineering-centric.

Its research will focus on Microsoft’s “SwiftKey” mobile typing input system for the Chinese language, a technology called “Audience Intent Recognition” and vertical applications for certain industries in Taiwan.

Microsoft plans to make AI technologies available to other companies in Taiwan. By working with those firms, Microsoft expects to understand what they need from AI and help them use the emerging technology to improve business.

A manufacturer, for example, could use image recognition technology installed drones to do pipeline inspections, saving labor costs and getting real-time information.

Image recognition technology can also be used in product inspection to raise accuracy and efficiency. In the manufacturing process, humans normally make final inspections. Computers would take over the job with image recognition technology and AI.

〔Original :meet@Tw〕