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posted by janrinok on Thursday January 20, @03:56AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the try-again dept.

Reasserting US leadership in microelectronics:

The global semiconductor shortage has grabbed headlines and caused a cascade of production bottlenecks that have driven up prices on all sorts of consumer goods, from refrigerators to SUVs. The chip shortage has thrown into sharp relief the critical role semiconductors play in many aspects of everyday life.

But years before the pandemic-induced shortage took hold, the United States was already facing a growing chip crisis. Its longstanding dominance in microelectronics innovation and manufacturing has been eroding over the past several decades in the face of stepped-up international competition. Now, reasserting U.S. leadership in microelectronics has become a priority for both industry and government, not just for economic reasons but also as a matter of national security.

In a new white paper, a group of MIT researchers argue that the country's strategy for reasserting its place as a semiconductor superpower must heavily involve universities, which are uniquely positioned to pioneer new technology and train a highly skilled workforce. Their report, "Reasserting U.S. Leadership in Microelectronics," lays out a series of recommendations for how universities can play a leading role in the national effort to reattain global preeminence in semiconductor research and manufacturing.

"In this national quest to regain leadership in microelectronics manufacturing, it was clear to us that universities should play a major role. We wanted to think from scratch about how universities can best contribute to this important effort," says Jesús del Alamo, the Donner Professor in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and the leading author of the white paper. "Our goal is that, when these national programs are constructed, they are built in a well-balanced way, taking advantage of the tremendous resources and talent that American universities can bring to bear."

[...] Reasserting leadership in semiconductor manufacturing will also require thousands of new highly skilled workers, and universities contribute a sizable fraction of the workforce for the industry. Expanding the size and diversity of this workforce will be key, but educational institutions face an uphill battle as more students abandon "hard tech" for fields like computer science. Attracting more students will require exciting hands-on lab courses, inspiring research experiences, well-crafted internships, and support from industry mentors, as well as fellowships at all levels, among many other initiatives.

"We are already in a situation where we are not producing enough engineers at all levels for the semiconductor industry, and we are talking about a major expansion. So, it just doesn't add up," del Alamo says. "If we want to provide the workforce for this major expansion, we need to engage more students. The only way, in the short term, to provide many more graduates for this industry is expanding existing programs and engaging institutions that have not been involved in the past."


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @05:28AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @05:28AM (#1214073)

    1. Raise prices, a lot.

  • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Thursday January 20, @06:03AM (1 child)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday January 20, @06:03AM (#1214074)

    Attracting more students will require exciting hands-on lab courses, inspiring research experiences, well-crafted internships, and support from industry mentors, as well as fellowships at all levels, among many other initiatives.

    They should do that [youtu.be]! Ahh, screw it, maybe they can just import some H1-Bs.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @06:06AM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @06:06AM (#1214075)

    Well, out side of whoring ourselves out to Microsoft, and Intel, how about a little fluffing of the old MIT? Boston Dynamics, where is EthanolFunneled? Oh, how low the SoylentNews has fallen! For fellation of the janrinok, see Here [soylentnews.org]

    He was much appreciative.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @06:31AM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @06:31AM (#1214083)

      US imperialist twaddle.

      Love, an international reader who couldn't give a rat's arse about your cold war global hegemony.

      The future is RISC-V, controlled by no single entity.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @12:44PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @12:44PM (#1214130)

        Maybe. I think some VLIW or exotic manycore-optimized architecture has potential to steal RISC-Vs momentum during the next 5-10 years. The difficulties with shrinking process nodes gives FPGAs time to grow, and they will totally devour any use that doesn't require modern ASIC performance.

      • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Thursday January 20, @02:41PM (3 children)

        by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 20, @02:41PM (#1214159) Homepage Journal

        RISC-V is controlled by the RISC-V foundation. You don't get far in proposing improvements to the architecture without signing a nondisclosure agreement.

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday January 20, @03:34PM (2 children)

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 20, @03:34PM (#1214183) Journal

          What exactly would one NOT be disclosing?

          What about the architecture is not already on their web site?

          --
          Difference between inlaws and outlaws: outlaws are wanted.
          • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Thursday January 20, @03:40PM (1 child)

            by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 20, @03:40PM (#1214186) Homepage Journal

            The architecture extensions being designed for future deployment.
            What else? I don't know, having never signed the nondisclosure agreement.

            • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday January 20, @04:28PM

              by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 20, @04:28PM (#1214208) Journal

              If there is a non disclosure agreement, this itself is interesting.

              Especially if that NDA is for any level of participation. Not just some certain architecture extensions.

              --
              Difference between inlaws and outlaws: outlaws are wanted.
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @09:16AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @09:16AM (#1214102)

    Lower your tuition

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @09:56PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @09:56PM (#1214362)

      That'd help.

      But if the jobs aren't there because the student's aren't there, and the students aren't there because the jobs aren't there, that's a difficult problem. Even more so if entire relevant industries and all their supply-chain needs have been moved offshore thanks to deregulation and trade agreements.

      Maybe cheaper tuition might help jump-start part of it (rope in a few price-conscious students who might not all move away or work remotely) but the scope of the whole problem is much larger.

  • (Score: 2) by Username on Thursday January 20, @11:51AM

    by Username (4557) on Thursday January 20, @11:51AM (#1214122)

    University publishes article saying how much they're needed. That we shouldn't forget to cut them in on that pie.

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @02:23PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @02:23PM (#1214153)

    Distributed manufacturing will change the world. 3D printers are still very early, robotics is spreading and growing rapidly... It's never been cheaper or easier to be very self-sufficient.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @03:23PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @03:23PM (#1214179)

      I'm not sure you fully understand how microelectronics are made, unless you happen to have a Class 100 cleanroom in your garage.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @05:30PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @05:30PM (#1214234)

        Not yet, but in 10 or 20 years, you might have one on your benchtop. There is a *lot* of time and energy being put into this stuff right now.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @05:43PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @05:43PM (#1214237)

    moar university!

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