Pataki Says the Road to the Semiconductor Superhighway Points through
Addressed High Tech Symposium at Lake George on Monday
Contact: Vincent Reda (518) 437-4985
New York Governor George Pataki told more than 175 representatives
of the semiconductor industry and investment world that "a large part"
of the future of the semiconductor industry will take place in New York
Delivering the keynote lunch address for the opening day of the Albany
Symposium on Global Semiconductor Issues, held at the Sagamore Hotel
on Lake George, N.Y., Pataki said that New York "has in place all of
the elements that support a robust semiconductor industry." He included
among those strengths a "strong economic climate," a social climate
with reduced violent crime, and "the workforce to get the job done."
New York's semiconductor opportunities were a recurring message on
the first day of the three-day symposium, which is subtitled "A Global
Semiconductor Economics Roadmap for the 300 mm and Nanotechnology Era."
Dr. John E. Kelly III, senior vice president and group executive of
the IBM Technology Group, based in Hopewell Junction, N.Y., told the
opening session that IBM will continue to invest in New York State and
the Northeast because of "the great resources the region offers," including
a skilled workforce and a government-friendly environment.
Kelly also said, "The challenges presenting themselves to the industry
today demand collaboration between industry, universities and government
. . . We've had a great history of partnership and a network to work
with in New York State. Especially noteworthy has been our investment
of $100 million worth of equipment, software, services and technology
licenses with the University at Albany."
IBM's gift to UAlbany of $100 million this year will help create a
$300 million New York Center for Excellence in Nanoelectronics, which
will house the world's first university-based 300 mm chip fabrication
facility. As with UAlbany's current 200-mm chip fab facility, plannes
believe the 300-mm facility will attract semiconductor research while
helping to educate and train workforce for the industry. Gov. Pataki
backed IBM's gift for the Center with a $50 million development grant
from the state.
Kelly, in assessing the overall semiconductor industry, said that microelectronics
firms must continue to invest heavily in R & D "if they want to continue
to drive technological breakthroughs in the next two to three years."
George Scalise, president of the Semiconductor Industry Association,
the leading trade group representing the microchip manufacturing industry,
agreed, saying that "the current economic downturn in the semiconductor
industry is largely an inventory correction and also a response to over-investment."
He predicted that the industry would begin to see sequential in the
quarter beginning in December, "but growth will less robust."
Scalise called for a number of steps that industry and government could
take to renew semiconductor competitiveness. The first was to increase
the amount of money the federal government invests in basic university
research. He noted that government spending on Research and development
as a percentage of the budget has been reduced by 60 percent since 1992.
"We need to get research spending by government back on track," said
Scalise. "If that does not occur, the seed-to-corn for all of the technology
we enjoy today will not be available in the next generation."
His second suggestion was to provide education and incentives for students
to pursue engineering degrees. "The number of electrical engineering
degrees being produced in this country is far too low to sustain technological
innovation," said Scalise.
Thirdly, he said that the U.S. needs to change immigration laws to
encourage masters and doctoral students in technology-related fields
to remain in this country.
Scalise also noted the impact of the microchip industry upon New York
State. "New York has 339,131 I.T. (information technology) jobs statewide,
many in the chip industry; and NY is number three behind California
and Texas in semiconductor jobs." He also noted that the average I.T.
worker's salary in New York is $64,000 - 53% higher than the average
of other higher sector workers.
Governor Pataki said that innovative partnerships among the state,
research universities and industry were proving successful at refueling
the semiconductor industry in New York. He called the $1 billion STAR
program, which had funded technology projects at UAlbany, the State
Universities of Buffalo and Stony Brook, and the University of Rochester,
as "the most exciting technology investment program that the state has
initiated in recent years.
"We are committed to the future of the semiconductor industry occurring
in New York State," said the Governor.
Dale Jorgenson, economist from Harvard University, rephrased the issue
confronting the conference in his talk. "There is a raging debate among
economists about the future performance of the semiconductor industry,"
he said, "with optimists inserting that improvement in U.S. economic
performance is still sustainable and a permanent feature of the economic
While Jorgenson noted that pessimists believe that the boom of the
semiconductor industry in the late 1990s was a bubble that has burst,
his own view is "that while the boom of the late 1990s was not sustainable,
rapid advances in semiconductor technology will continue to drive prices
"The question is, how fast will that technology develop?" The answer
depends on the productivity of the industry."
The conference will address that very issue in its four separate sessions
on Tuesday and Wednesday.
For more University at Albany information, visit our World Wide Web
site at http://www.albany.edu.
September 11, 2001
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