Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger likened semiconductors to oil, suggesting that computer chips will play a central role in international relations in the decades ahead. “Oil reserves have defined geopolitics for the last five decades. Where the fabs [factories] are for a digital future is more important,” Gelsinger said in an interview on CNBC. So understanding the ecosystem of semiconductor industry might be the key for the future.
The semiconductor industry is a complex ecosystem that involves multiple players working together to create the chips that power our modern world. The semiconductor industry has a long and storied history, dating back to the invention of the first transistors in 1947 by William Shockley, Walter Brattain, and John Bardeen at Bell Labs. Since then, the industry has gone through several waves of innovation, with each new generation of chips bringing increased performance and functionality. For example, the introduction of the microprocessor in the 1970s, which combined the functions of a CPU on a single chip, led to the development of the personal computer. And more recently, the shift to sub-10nm nodes has enabled the creation of powerful mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, that are now an integral part of our daily lives. At the heart of the ecosystem are the companies that design the architecture of a chip, such as Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Microchip, and ARM. These companies employ teams of engineers and designers who create the blueprints for a chip's electronic circuits and components. The chips they create can be microcontrollers (MCUs), central processing units (CPUs), graphics processing units (GPUs), or application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) that are tailored for specific applications.