Rumor has been smoldering around the online community alleging that HYSIS, the first made-in-China Digital Signal Processing (DSP) chip might have never existed.
It was alleged that professor Chen Jin of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) mail ordered some Motorola freescale 56858 chips (56858 data sheet) in August 2002, and masked off the freescale mark and stamped an SJTU mark. Professor Chen worked for Motorola as a test engineer before he went back China to lead the effort of developing China's own processing chips.
Although it's uncommon to find a research fake their data, it's very rare to find a collaborated project by several research groups to be faked, not to say the project involved several first class manufactures and national and governmental agencies. The success of HYSIS project was hailed in China on the same level as the manned space project. It was seen as the evidence that China can directly compete with developed countries in areas of microelectronics, and received more than $10 million government grants. The project participants include Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), Global Advanced Packaging Technology Limited (APT), Amkor Technology, Shanghai Research Center for Integrated Circuit Design, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. It was also alleged that the Ministry of Science and technology and the military who funded the project were informed of the scandal but decided to cover it up for unknown reasons.
The Shanghai Jiao Tong University where the research is conducted issued a brief statement on its website claiming they stood by the research.
If the allegation is proven to be true, or never clarified to be false, the incident will be remembered as the largest scientific scandal in China ever. According to people familiar with the field, it would take five seconds to tell whether the chip was a masked off and repackaged one. Every chip has an internal ID that could be read by testing instruments. Also, even after the chip was remarked, after removing the surface paint, the original MOTO mark would still be visible. However, the top Chinese scientists in this field certified the work anyway. The experts who endorsed the 'faked' product are:
- Professor Wang Yangyuan 王阳元 of Peking University, academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences. Professor Wang is the Dean of the School of Software and Microelectronics of Beijing University, associate Director of the China Institute of Electronics (CIE), associate chief editor of Acta Electronica Sinica, associate chief editor of Chinese Journal of Semiconductors, IEEE Fellow, IEE Fellow.
Professor Wang has been on vacation with his family in Hainan Province ever since the story broke out. His assistant in Beijing University said he might not return even after the regular semester started (Feb 13th, 2006) due to 'health reasons'.
- Professor Yan Xiaolang 严晓浪 of Zhejiang University. Professor Yan Xiaolang is the Dean of College of Electrical Engineering of Zhejiang University, Dean of School of information Engineering of Zhejiang University City College, Director of the Institute of VLSI Design of Zhejiang University, Head of the VLSI Design Expert Group of the National 863 Program. Professor Yan also holds a position at the School of Microelectronics of SJTU.
Professor Yan refused to make a comment.
- Mr. Zou Shichang 邹世昌 of Shanghai Institute of Microsystem And Information Technology, academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Mr. Zou could not be reached for comments.
- Mr. Xu Juheng 许居衍 of Wuxi Microelectronics Scientific Research Center, academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, alternate member of the 14th Central Committee of the CCP.
Mr. Xu could not be reached for comments.
Also involved in the project are: professor Xie Shengwu, Wang Zongguang and Zhang Wenjun of SJTU. Dr. Wei Shaojun of Tsinghua University.
On January 23, all mainland Chinese media were prohibited from reporting this incident.