Member Spotlight: Jin Lim, SK hynix

Silicon Foundry’s expanding network of Corporate Members are driving transformation at some of the world’s most respected global brands — from leaders in mobility, mining and telecom, to beauty, retail, energy, financial services and beyond.

Jin Lim is Corporate Vice President of SK hynix’s Memory System Research Division (MSRD) and Head of the MSRD Solution Lab (SOLAB), a team tasked with investigating ICT trends and providing the company’s top leaders with perspective and insights on system-related memory trends for cloud, mobile and emerging fields. As part of this role, Jin leads new memory research projects and pilots with a focus on industry collaboration (academia, startups and other sector experts) designed to drive next generation data computing and storage solutions for SK hynix.

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For those of those that don’t know — can you tell us a little bit about SK hynix and the types of activities you’re involved in at SOLAB?

SK hynix is the global leader in semiconductors, such as DRAM, NAND flash and System IC including CMOS Image Sensors.

Since the pilot production of Korea’s first 16Kb SRAM in 1984, SK hynix has consistently led the industry with smaller, faster and lower power semiconductors.

MSRD Solution Lab (SOLAB) is part of SK hynix’s Memory System Research Division (MSRD). We investigate ICT trends and provide the company’s top leaders with perspective and insights on system-related memory trends for cloud, mobile and emerging fields. Through these initiatives, we engage with industry partners and emerging startups on collaboration projects. SOLAB is the technology bridge that connects our external partners to the rest of SK hynix and vice versa.

As a company headquartered in South Korea, what kind of presence do you have within the Silicon Valley ecosystem?

Here in Silicon Valley, SK hynix has a staff of over 300 employees, with core teams focused on sales and technical marketing, along with a subsidiary SK hynix Memory Solution America (SK HMS). We also have dedicated researchers and hands-on engineers who work closely with the technical marketing team in collaborating with major U.S. clients on system architecture discussions, standardization activities and industry networking.

What should startups know about partnering with or working with SK hynix?

SK hynix is one of the top semiconductor companies in the world, with a truly global presence (24 sales locations, four R&D corporate bodies and four manufacturing facilities worldwide). We’re active within the Silicon Valley ecosystem, and if you are working on new emerging technology that could be complementary to our work, then let’s start a conversation. We always look forward to engaging with the startup community to explore collaboration opportunities. That is one of the primary reasons we established SOLAB — to be a U.S. hub for startups to engage with SK hynix.

You have a background in software engineering, software architecture and R&D — how do you leverage your past work in your current role as Corporate Vice President at SK hynix?

My background definitely makes my leadership role at SK hynix very unique.

All my fellow executives and C-level leaders are semiconductor or hardware experts. However, as modern IT systems consist of a heterogeneous set of hardware components and multiple software layers, my system SW expertise allows me to meet the demands associated with guiding complex research projects on a next generation memory-centric data platform.

To cope with the increasing system complexity of customers’ platforms, SK hynix has been putting efforts toward the exploration of HW/SW co-design and creation. One of my primary objectives is to highlight the potential benefits of the proposed HW/SW co-design.

As a Korean-born / U.S.-trained executive, I also play a significant role connecting and integrating technical communities within the company that are separated by the Pacific Ocean.

What projects and initiatives at SK hynix are you most excited about since joining the team seven months ago — and what’s your outlook for the rest of 2019?

Building SOLAB 2.0! I’m very excited to be part of creating the new SOLAB organization. Since I joined last summer, we have expanded the team at a rapid pace. I love meeting emerging startups in the areas of AI, Cloud and Biotechnology — and I’m looking forward to meeting many more throughout the rest of 2019.

Equally as exciting, and part of our work with Silicon Foundry, we are putting together a task force to plan and execute the SK Technology Executive Summit, a private event for SK’s top leaders this summer.

I’m also working on the launch of a new AI initiative that aims to set a corporate-wide AI vision and gain C-level / organization-wide support for a few “quick-win” projects in AI. We’re currently looking for U.S.-based academic researchers and startups for collaboration.

And lastlyin addition to my role at SOLAB, I also run the SW Solution R&D group back at HQ. Because of this, I will split my time between the U.S. and Korea. So to answer your question, outlook for the remainder of 2019 is busy!

Silicon Foundry is an innovation advisory platform that builds bridges between leading multi-national corporations and global startup ecosystems.

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