JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 9, 2004--The Semiconductor
Industry Association (SIA) today called for creation
of a Nanoelectronics Research Institute to direct
and coordinate a massive research effort to assure
continued U.S. leadership in information technology
after current semiconductor technology runs up against
insurmountable physical limits.
Most researchers believe that CMOS (complementary
metal-oxide semiconductor) technology will encounter
such limits in 15 years. After that time, the ability
to deliver continuous improvements in information
technology will require the use of new materials and
devices with features so small that they are measured
in a few nanometers. One nanometer is one one-billionth
of a meter.
"The price for not starting now on a massive,
coordinated research and development effort in nanoelectronics
could be nothing less than a loss, in just two decades,
of U.S. economic and defense leadership," said
Dr. John E. Kelly, III, senior vice president and
group executive of the IBM Technology Group. Dr. Kelly
spoke at the SIA Leadership Luncheon in Redwood City,
"The ability to collect, analyze, and distribute
information is essential to virtually every productive
human endeavor in today's world," said Dr. Kelly.
"Economic prosperity and high-value jobs have
come from decades of leading revolutions in mainframe
computing, personal computing, wireless connectivity,
and Internet technologies. All of this and the resulting
increases in productivity have been driven by the
relentless engine of making semiconductors smaller,
more powerful, and less expensive."
Dr. Kelly said that U.S. research and development
efforts in semiconductor technology currently face
an annual shortfall of approximately $1.5 billion
compared to the investment necessary just to stay
current with the CMOS technology roadmap outlined
in International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors
(ITRS). The ITRS is a plan that identifies technical
obstacles (known in the industry as "red brick
walls") that must be overcome in order to continue
historical patterns of advances in semiconductor technology.
Since the mid-1960s, advances in semiconductor technology
have followed "Moore's Law," which postulates
that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit
doubles every two years. Dr. Kelly noted that the
R&D shortfall is even larger if the effort needed
to develop technology beyond CMOS is included.
Nanoelectronics Research Institute (NRI) proposed
by the SIA would be a joint effort of the semiconductor
industry, academia, and government. Researchers from
university faculties, students, and assignees from
industry would be charged with generating new ideas
and discoveries and demonstrating the feasibility
of creating a new switch with associated interconnects
and memory using novel materials and manufacturing
techniques by the year 2020.
Dr. Kelly and SIA stressed the vital importance of
maintaining U.S. leadership in information technology
in the era beyond CMOS. "The U.S. must be a leader
in innovation," said Dr. Kelly. "The U.S.
cannot compete in an arena where low-cost labor is
the differentiating factor. Constant innovation is
the key to being competitive while paying high wages
to our workforce."
SIA estimates that the U.S. semiconductor industry
has approximately 163,000 employees in the U.S. with
an average annual total compensation of $97,000. If
research investment is insufficient to support continuation
of technological advances in accordance with Moore's
Law, the semiconductor engine driving productivity
gains will slow down, or perhaps even stall, with
adverse consequences for job creation, economic prosperity,
and national defense.
Dr. Kelly noted that other regions of the world are
accelerating research efforts in nanotechnology and
investing heavily in state-of-the-art semiconductor
manufacturing facilities in an effort to challenge
U.S. leadership. "As we speak, state-of-the-art,
300-millemeter fabs with 90-nanometer process technology
are coming on line in other parts of the world. No
one doubts that the links between R&D and manufacturing
are becoming more important, that these links are
dynamic, and that proximity between labs and fabs
is also an issue. Public policy must not only encourage
R&D activities in the United States, but also
provide an attractive climate for investing in production
capacity in the U.S."
About the SIA
The SIA is the leading voice for the semiconductor
industry and has represented U.S. semiconductor companies
since 1977. Collectively, the chip industry employs
a domestic workforce of 255,000 people. More information
about the SIA can be found at www.sia-online.org.