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Tech Industry Pioneer Sees Way for U.S. to Lead in Advanced Chips


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Ivan Sutherland was instrumental in helping to create todays dominant approach to making computer chips.

Sutherland is arguing that an alternative technology that predates CMOS, and has had many false starts, should be given another look.

Credit: Will Matsuda/The New York Times

Ivan Sutherland, who helped pioneer the complementary metal-oxide semiconductor decades ago, believes the U.S. can regain the global lead in advanced chipmaking.

Sutherland, the 1988 ACM Turing Award recipient, said computer designers will be able to create faster systems via supercooled electronic circuits that switch without electrical resistance and produce no excess heat at higher speeds.

Also, superconductor-based systems might address the cooling problems that hound the world's datacenters.

Sutherland said such technologies also could be critical to national security, with their high speed and low power requirements benefiting next-generation 6G chips that could replace Chinese-dominant 5G technology.

He also suggested the U.S. should consider training young engineers to conceive of alternative concepts, rather than continuing to focus on ever-less-reliable and costly chip technology.

From The New York Times
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