Chief Government Affairs Officer
General Manager of Governments, Markets and Trade
By Jeff Rittener
Today is National Manufacturing Day, a good time to reflect on the importance of investing in a strong domestic semiconductor manufacturing industry in the U.S.
America’s leadership in the semiconductor industry is a major contributor to our country’s economic and technological success. A recent report from the Boston Consulting Group and Semiconductor Industry Association points out that a strong domestic semiconductor manufacturing presence is critical to America’s economic competitiveness, national security and supply chain resilience. It also notes that a modern fab can support from 3,000 to 6,000 jobs with local multiplier effects, and that the U.S semiconductor industry drives significant trade surplus.
As America’s semiconductor design and manufacturing leader, Intel has spent decades investing in U.S. innovation and job creation. Today, we operate leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing facilities in Oregon, Arizona and New Mexico, providing tens of thousands of direct high-tech, high-wage jobs and many more indirect jobs in those states.
On this Manufacturing Day, we find ourselves at a crossroads. Eighty percent of the world’s semiconductor manufacturing capacity is now in Asia. Intel and the entire U.S. semiconductor industry face fierce competition in the global semiconductor marketplace. The U.S. risks falling behind in an industry it once dominated and that its economy and national security depend on.
More: Intel Celebrates Manufacturing Day 2020 | Intel and Sandia National Labs Collaborate on Neuromorphic Computing | Intel Wins US Government Advanced Packaging Project | Why manufacturing matters: Intel’s 40 years in Arizona (Bob Swan’s Arizona Republic Op-Ed)
The sole U.S.-based advanced semiconductor manufacturer, Intel is committed to protecting industry leadership and to our continued partnership with the U.S. government. A reliable, secure, domestic source of leading-edge semiconductors remains critical to our country. Three current collaborations between Intel and the U.S. government demonstrate the importance of silicon technology and next-generation computing innovations for the nation and society.
First, Intel is announcing a three-year agreement with Sandia National Labs to explore the value of neuromorphic computing and how it can be applied for large, complex computational problems that require real-time processing, problem solving, adaptation and learning.
Neuromorphic computing is a complete rethinking of computer architecture from the bottom up. Neuromorphic systems replicate the way neurons are organized, communicate and learn at the hardware level. Intel’s Loihi research chip and future neuromorphic processors are defining a new model of programmable computing to serve a rising demand for pervasive, intelligent devices.
Through this collaboration, Intel and Sandia hope to advance research in scaled-up neuromorphic computing to determine how these systems can help address some of the country’s most pressing scientific and engineering challenges, including counterproliferation, counterterrorism, energy and national security.
In another collaboration, Intel and the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) are partnering to deliver the Aurora exascale supercomputer at DoE’s Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago. Aurora will give researchers an unprecedented set of tools and applications to address scientific problems and advance scientific research and discovery.
According to Dr. Robert Wisniewski, Intel’s chief architect for high performance computing, Aurora can perform in one-second calculations that would take 8 billion people 40 years to complete, assuming each person completed a calculation every 10 seconds. This compute horsepower will provide the U.S. capabilities to better understand the world around us, ranging from studying the universe, to enhancing climate modeling, to discovering new approaches for drug response prediction. With Aurora, doctors will be able to better predict how a specific drug will respond to an individual patient based on their genetic makeup.
Beyond Aurora, Intel and DoE have entered into a long-term agreement to further support the United States’ leadership in advanced computing systems, including exascale, neuromorphic and quantum computing. The collaboration will focus on creating next-generation semiconductor technologies, manufacturing processes, advanced system design and software enablement, including future silicon development, future architecture co-design for high performance computing and AI, and software ecosystem enablement for exascale computing.
Lastly, Intel was among the companies awarded the second phase of the U.S. government’s State-of-the-Art Heterogenous Integration Packaging (SHIP) prototype program. SHIP enables the U.S. government to access to Intel’s state-of-the-art semiconductor packaging capabilities in Arizona and Oregon and take advantage of capabilities created by Intel’s tens of billions of dollars of annual R&D and manufacturing investment.
SHIP will develop prototypes of multichip packages and fast-track the advancement of interface standards, protocols and security for heterogeneous systems. These prototypes will integrate special purpose government chips with Intel’s advanced silicon products, providing new paths for the government’s industry partners to develop and modernize mission-critical systems while taking advantage of Intel’s U.S. manufacturing capabilities.
Each of these projects show how important a reliable, secure supply of leading-edge semiconductor technology is to the U.S. government, and to the entire country. Intel is committed to the success of the U.S. government’s advanced computing programs. U.S. policymakers recognize that silicon underpins every modern technology and understand the value of retaining a domestic semiconductor industry. We continue to be encouraged by bipartisan efforts to increase semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. through federal incentives.
Now more than ever, we – in partnership with others in our industry, government and academia – need to continue to invest in U.S. manufacturing, local economic growth, sustainability and training for the next generation of talent.
America’s technology leadership is on the line.
Jeff Rittener is Intel’s chief government affairs officer.