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Always Be Curious #176: Intel's back in black, American chip jobs, and James Webb telescope on Netflix
This week in ABC: Intel says its five nodes in four years strategy remains on track, there are tens of thousands of American chip jobs needed but missing, and Netflix does JWST.
Housekeeping! 🧹 First of all, a big welcome to all new subscribers. It’s a pleasure and an honor to publish Always Be Curious to more than 2,500 people around the world. 🥳👏 You can ask me anything on Substack Chat, you can see what I’m reading, and you can follow me on Instagram and on LinkedIn. Please consider sharing Always Be Curious on your socials and amongst your friends. And if you think my work is valuable to you as a subscriber, please hit the “Pledge your support” button on ABC’s landing page. 🙏 Now then. On to my weekly intro.
There’s a lot of emotion in science. ❤️ Many scientists are driven by purpose and they strongly identify with their work and its impact. If it concerns an idea that they themselves birthed (either by brain or by hand), then that identification can grow into personification. You are your work—your work is you. 🧑🎓👩💻👨🔬 There are few better examples of this than NASA’s multi-decade and 10 billion dollar project, the James Webb Telescope. 🛰 Netflix captured this dedication and passion really well in their brand new documentary “Unknown: Cosmic Time Machine”, which tells the story of the James Webb telescope from inception to launch. I’ve spotlighted the trailer below in this week’s For The Love Of Tech section. Timing-wise, this documentary marks the moment one year ago that the international team at NASA beamed down the first images from the telescope and shared them with the public. It was a moment of great emotional significance to the many men and women that dedicated their lives and careers to this space telescope. In NASA’s press conference, Scientific Missions lead Thomas Zurbuchen put it like this: “We are in the middle of getting the history-making data down. It’s really hard to not look at the universe in a new light and not just have a moment that is deeply personal. It’s an emotional moment when you see nature suddenly releasing some of its secrets, and I would like you to imagine and look forward to that.” At the same press conference, NASA’s deputy administrator Pam Melroy said: “What I have seen moved me, as a scientist, as an engineer, and as a human being.” 🙏❤️
Have a good week, stay safe and sound,
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👨💻The round-up in sci-tech💡
Because time is a flat circle, flip phones are hot right now.
In 1985, Robert Mears’s EDFA was just gearing up to interconnect the world.
The story of personal computing in the United States is not about the evolution of hackers but about the rise of everyday users, argues Laine Nooney, in the new book, "The Apple II Age: How the Computer Became Personal."
Ships without crews. Self-directed drone swarms. How a US Navy task force is using off-the-shelf robotics and artificial intelligence to prepare for the next age of conflict.
The world’s largest community of 3D-printed homes is being built in Texas — and the neighborhood just unveiled its first completed house.
This startup’s platform teaches math using simulated real-world situations.
Avi Loeb, a Harvard astrophysicist, says that material recovered from the seafloor could be from an extraterrestrial spacecraft. His peers are skeptical.
🤓This week in chips⚠
Intel pulls profit out of its hat.
"We are seeing robust demand for N3 and we expect a strong ramp of N3 in the second half of this year, supported by both HPC and smartphone applications.”
Driven by a surge in demand for artificial intelligence, Taiwanese chip maker TSMC plans to invest nearly T$90 billion ($2.87 billion) in an advanced packaging facility in northern Taiwan.
Fastest, densest and most power efficient high-bandwidth memory yet.
Samsung said the worst is over for the global memory chip market but announced plans to extend production cuts, because a demand recovery is largely constrained to high-end chips used in artificial intelligence.
🇰🇷 Samsung reportedly investing in R&D for 3D stacking Gate-All-Around transistor technology (Digitimes)
“After memory products like NAND Flash and DRAM, it's reported that Samsung Electronics will conduct R&D for a "3D stacking" technology that can vertically stack system semiconductor transistors. Whether or not Samsung can gain dominance in advanced semiconductor technology with this move has drawn attention.”
Rapidus only wants to serve five to 10 companies, at least initially.
🇯🇵 Homegrown Japanese 2nm chips to cost 10x more than Japan's mainstream chips: Rapidus (Tom’s Hardware)
Chip manufacturing is going to get more expensive.
Intel and TSMC set to get lion's share of Germany's chip subsidies.
Huawei preps a 5G smartphone comeback with in-house-designed SoC.
📈By the numbers📉
“Intel remains on track to meet its goal of achieving five nodes in four years and to regain transistor performance and power performance leadership by 2025. The company announced an industry-first implementation of backside power using Intel PowerVia in a test chip, resulting in notable performance and efficiency gains. PowerVia will be incorporated into Intel 20A, expected to launch in the first half of 2024.”
“Global demand is expected to gradually recover in the second half of the year which should lead to an improvement in earnings driven by the component business. However, continued macroeconomic risks could prove to be a challenge in such recovery in demand.
STMicroelectronics revenue in the second quarter rose 13% from a year earlier, slightly beating expectations, as demand from the auto industry drove sales.
”We project the semiconductor industry’s workforce will grow by nearly 115,000 jobs by 2030, from approximately 345,000 jobs today to approximately 460,000 jobs by the end of the decade, representing 33% growth. Of these new jobs, we estimate roughly 67,000—or 58% of projected new jobs (and 80% of projected new technical jobs)—risk going unfilled at current degree completion rates. Of the unfilled jobs, 39% will be technicians, most of whom will have certificates or two-year degrees; 35% will be engineers with four-year degrees or computer scientists; and 26% will be engineers at the master’s or PhD level.”
❤️For the love of tech❤️
The James Webb Telescope stirs imaginations with vivid photos of distant galaxies. This documentary tracks its historic journey from inception to launch.
Always Be Curious is the personal newsletter of Sander Hofman, Senior Creative Content Strategist at ASML. Opinions expressed in this curated newsletter are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.