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Purdue ramping up engineering program to up U.S. chip production

The little smart chips that power much of our devices, such as phones and computers, are manufactured overseas. Purdue hopes to change that.

Computer chips representing Purdue engineering program

Computer chips run nearly everything in this world. From your smartphone in your back pocket to the vending machine you get snacks. More seriously though, they run the computers that handle our government’s most sensitive information and the drones that fly overheard foreign lands.

For the US, however, most of our chips are not manufactured here. They come from Asian countries like Taiwan. This is a huge security risk and one our current government is opting to change.

Simpsons meme saying "I'm in danger" while riding bus, representing overseas chip production that could affect safety.

As we try to swerve the chip-making production to be more within borders, we are facing roadblocks. There is a lack of educated engineers to produce them. That is where Purdue University is playing a pretty important role in that initiative.

Purdue University has one of the largest engineering programs in the country. Not only is it one of the largest but there have been known to me more than a few success stories and high graduation rates from the program itself. Many are looking to duplicate the program in other universities.

So it’s no surprise that leaders of the country’s largest tech companies are backing the program and doing what they can to provide the necessary equipment. The Spokesman reported a group including Keyvan Esfarjani Intels’ manufacturing chief visited the campus recently to view the program firsthand. After the program director stated they required more computer chips for the students to work on, Mr. Esfarjani all but threw them at him.

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The hope is that campuses around the country can churn out 50,000 new semiconductor engineers every year for five years so they can staff all the new factories around the country being built.

Even then it still won’t be enough, there are still several hundred other subsidies that require engineers. We won’t see ourselves completely reliant on internal chip manufacturing for decades.

Purdue cannot lead this fight alone as well. Whilst they are trying to graduate at least 1000 students a year, there is a desperate need for other colleges, communities, and the elite to advertise their engineering programs to be more captivating. There has also been a few attempts at expanding our Visa programs to allow more stupid to come study in hopes they will remain in the US.

The overall lack of engineers does affect us all in the grand scheme of things. I hear a lot about how people want to claim “China is watching us or Russia is watching us through our phones” – okay I understand. I can not tell you if you are right or wrong. What I can tell you is to help foster your friend’s and families’ interest in engineering so we can become completely self-reliant on our technology one day.

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A native New Englander who migrated to Austin on a whim, Stephanie Dominique is a freelance copywriter, novelist, and certificate enthusiast. When she's not getting howled at by two dachshunds or inhaling enough sugar to put a giant into shock, she is reading, cooking or writing about her passions.

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