ICT Research Institutes under the State Academy of Sciences of North Korea

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Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

In North Korea, ICT research institutes are being run by the State Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, the Ministry of Electronics Industry, companies, universities, etc. Among them, the largest ICT research institutes that carry out large-scale, extensive studies are those under the State Academy of Sciences.

The Academy of Sciences, established in 1952 during the Korean War, was elevated to the State Academy of Sciences in 1994. The National Science and Technology Commission, North Korea’s administrative body for science and technology, was incorporated into the State Academy of Sciences in the late 1990s, but it has recently been spun off from the State Academy of Sciences again, leaving the State Academy of Sciences purely dedicated to research.

ICT Research Institutes under the State Academy of Sciences

 

Branch

Name

Year of Foundation

1

Eunjung Branch of the State Academy of Sciences

Math research institute

1952

2

Electrical research institute

1949

3

Automation research institute

1967

4

Electronic engineering research institute

1973

5

Microelectronics research institute

1999

6

Integrated circuit research institute

1987

7

Electronic material research institute

1988

8

Control system research institute

1984

9

Information science and technology research institute

2011

10

Industrial information research institute

2007

11

Research institutes installed directly under the State Academy of Sciences

Information joint research institute

2001

12

Science and electronics publishing house

2006

(Source : the State Academy of Sciences) 

ICT research institutes under the State Academy of Sciences used to be part of the Electronic Automation Science branch in the 1990s. However, as the application of ICTs has widened and more institutions have participated in ICT development, the Electronic Automation Science branch seems to have been disbanded. The disbandment of the Electronic Automation Science branch was also accelerated by the opening of the Eunjung Branch of the State Academy of Sciences in Eunjung district, Pyongsung, where most ICT research institutes are located.

Choi Sung, Professor of computer science at Namseoul University

Choi Sung, Professor of computer science at Namseoul University

The math research institute initially participated in developing computers but it is now focused on basic sciences and software development. The electric research institute is dedicated to developing power generation and supply systems while the automation research institute is intent on machinery automation, relevant devices and the development of application systems. The electronic engineering research institute develops various kinds of IT facilities and parts; the microelectronics research institute and the integrated circuit research institute focus on the development and application of semiconductors.


The electronic material research institute is keen on semiconductor materials, highly-purified reagents and magnetic substances while the control system research institute intelligent mainly develops machine tools like CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machines. The information science and technology research institute is committed to developing operating systems and parallel computers; the industrial information research institute develops industrial automation software.

Apart from those research institutes, information centers that collect, process and supply science and technology information, have also been set up. Under the State Academy of Sciences, which developed North Korea’s tightly controlled national intranet, “Kwangmyong,” is the Central Scientific and Technological Information Agency (CSTIA), which also collects foreign documents on science and technology and translates them.

Under the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications is an information and communications research institute, which was created by restructuring the Electronic Engineering Research Institute. The information and communications research institute, devoted to both research and production, is a large research center staffed with over 500 researchers. It occupies a five-story building located on Tong-il Street (Reunification Street) in Pyongyang. The information and communications research institute has made great strides in developing automatic telephone switchboards, mobile phones and telephone repeaters and building fiber optic communications networks.

On the software development front, there is the Korea Computer Center (KCC), set up directly under the Cabinet of the DPRK. The Information Technology Bureau (formerly known as the Pyongyang Information Technology Center which was under the National People's Congress) is under the Ministry of Finance.

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