Purdue is accelerating its engineering program to increase chip production in the United States

Computer chips power almost everything in this world. From your smartphone in your back pocket to the vending machine, you get snacks. Seriously, they run the computers that process our government’s most sensitive information and the drones that fly over foreign lands.

For the United States, however, most of our chips are not made here. They come from Asian countries like Taiwan. It’s a huge security risk and one that our current government is choosing to change.

As we try to shift chip manufacturing production to be more within the borders, we face obstacles. There is a lack of trained engineers to produce them. This is where Purdue University plays a pretty big role in this initiative.

Purdue University has one of the largest engineering programs in the country. Not only is it one of the biggest, but I have experienced more than a few success stories and high pass rates within the program itself. Many seek to duplicate the program at other universities.

So it’s no surprise that executives from the nation’s biggest tech companies are supporting the program and doing what they can to provide the necessary equipment. The spokesperson reported that a group including Keyvan Esfarjani Intels manufacturing chief recently visited campus to see the program first-hand. After the program director said they needed more computer chips for the students to work on, Mr. Esfarjani practically threw them at him.

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

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

Nor can Purdue fight this fight alone. As they try 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 make them more engaging. There have also been some attempts to expand our visa programs to allow more stupid people to come and study in the hopes that they will stay in the United States.

The general lack of engineers affects us all in the grand scheme of things. I hear a lot about how people want to claim that “China is watching us or Russia is watching us through our phones” – okay, I get it. I can’t tell you if you’re right or wrong. What I can tell you is to help spark your friends and family’s interest in engineering so that we can one day become completely self-sufficient on our technology.

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Ryan H. Bowman