Tech Boot Camp

Wednesday, Oct 19, 2011, 12:00am

by Semiconductor Industry Association

Last Week, Congressional staffers learned that you don’t need to be a semiconductor engineer in order to understand the tremendous economic and societal benefits that this American-invented technology has brought to our country.

In fact, we brought the engineer to them. Qualcomm and SIA hosted a Tech Boot Camp on Capitol Hill, which attracted nearly 60 Congressional Staffers. The event was designed to educate this key audience on the basics of mobile communications and the impact of semiconductors on the American economy. Qualcomm’s engineer, Michael Koenig was on hand to explain in laymen’s terms how mobile phones are able to connect people with friends around the world, send pictures and search the web in the blink of an eye.  

Michael started off with the basics and explained the concept of a transistor, the basic building block of a semiconductor, which he likened to a water faucet; there is a flow of water from one end to the other and in the middle there is a faucet which controls the flow. Similarly, a transistor controls the flow of electrons moving through it. In order to make powerful semiconductors which enable small laptops, cell phones and other technology the transistors have to be very small.

But just how small is small? Get ready to be amazed—1,000 transistors can fit across the width of a single human hair! But it doesn’t stop there, the typical semiconductor that controls your cell phone contains 1 MILLION transistors, this is packaged with other components into a chipset that is about the size of a dime. This small package represents the very best of American ingenuity, research & development and years of innovation.

Our audience was indeed amazed and were further impressed to learn that where we are now with semiconductor technology is nowhere compared to where we will be in the next 5, 10 or 50 years, thanks to ongoing R&D efforts.

SIA’s goal is to bring our audience inside the amazing world of semiconductor innovations, and last week that is exactly what we did. Stay tuned for more Tech Boot Camp opportunities where we will explore the technology that enables automobiles, healthcare, energy efficiencies, defense and many other industries.