The semiconductor is one of the most pervasive and powerful inventions in human history—the material core of the Internet age. In a recent poll of scientists, historians, and technologists, asked to rank the top innovations since the wheel, the semiconductor came in fourth—just behind the printing press, electricity, and penicillin, but ahead of eyeglasses, paper, and the steam engine. An Oxford Economics analysis found that the semiconductor contributed $2.7 trillion in global GDP in 2012, and directly supported 1.3 million high-value jobs.
As our planet grows ever more connected and our societies become more able to measure, analyze, and predict behaviors in the physical world, continued advances in the capabilities of the semiconductor will help whole new industries flourish, while stimulating further dramatic increases in global productivity, economic growth, innovation, and sustainability. As a result, it will be crucial for policy-makers to support a healthy semiconductor ecosystem, and for educators to provide a steady stream of young minds to reach new frontiers.
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