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    • While the EV industry continues to struggle with further improvements in the capacity of lithium-ion batteries and supercharging infrastructure, metal-air and wireless recharging technologies are advancing.

    • It’s still a tough job market for engineers, but the worst may be over for a profession buffeted by the economic crisis, according to the EE Times 2010 Salary & Opinion Survey.

    • Advanced battery design and manufacture have become a strategic battleground for the emerging energy technology industry. EE Times Confidential tells you why it matters.

    • Photos from the USA Science & Engineering Festival, a two-day event held on the National Mall that drew tens of thousands of participants.

    • Aerospace editor George Leopold serves as "flight director" for our space blog, which tracks both human and robotic space exploration and technology.

    • Despite the dire warnings that the emerging U.S. smart grid might be too smart for anyone's good, the folks working on the buildout of a new American power grid insist that they have network security issues in hand.

    • The proliferation of portable medical devices and the explosion of new patient data wrought by widely available imaging technologies are forcing medical electronics designers to devise new ways of integrating diverse biotechnologies with electronics while curtailing power consumption.

    • A strategy unveiled by NASA officials would redirect the space agency's resources to develop new technical capabilities designed to move beyond Earth orbit while leveraging the expertise of the agency's network of space centers.

    • As Space Shuttle Endeavour blazed through Earth's atmosphere during reentry on Feb. 21, commander George Zamka placed the orbiter in what NASA calls a "cold soak" attitude relative to the atmosphere.

    • Standing close to the launchpad-say, 2.5 miles away at the NASA Press Center here-you're aware of your trouser legs flapping against your shins seconds after the space shuttle blasts off.

    • Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are extending the Zip Car rental concept with a project called "CityCar".

    • Standing close to the launchpad-say, 2.5 miles away at the NASA Press Center here-you're aware of your trouser legs flapping against your shins seconds after the space shuttle blasts off.

    • If an analysis of the Japanese car maker's post-recall lobbying efforts is accurate, it spells the beginning of the end for Toyota as a dominant global manufacturer.

    • We're about to see whether Toyota really does have a handle on its gas pedal problem.

    • Now that the decibel level has finally diminished, it's time to take a hard look at Apple Inc.'s latest attempt to influence the direction of consumer electronics and, to a large extent, the way we live: the iPad.

    • The PC era is drawing to a close. Intel Corp., which built an empire on the personal computer, is aggressively seeking new markets. Will it succeed? Here are four diverging views on Intel's strategy.

    • NEMS technology, which combines nanotechnology and conventional MEMS, is being targeted as a next-generation sensor technology that provides a suite of applications that can operate in harsh environments.

    • Engineering students worried about their job prospects and looking to expand their design experience may want to consider a NASA internship program.

    • NASA reported that its recent lunar impact mission has confirmed the presence of water in a crater at the moon's south pole.

    • A Google Map tour of Detroit reveals the stark economic impact of the decline in U.S. auto manufacturing.

    • China's military modernization efforts initially aimed at fielding "networked forces" that can operate throughout Asia are also spurring development of a new cyber warfare capability, according to a government report.

    • Ford has a lot of work to do, but they didn't take a bailout and didn't bail out of the car business.

    • A communications link between plug-in hybrid vehicles and the U.S. electrical grid is designed to allow vehicle owners to determine when and for how long to recharge car batteries.

    • A presidential commission on the future of U.S. manned spaceflight has concluded that a manned landing on Mars must wait while NASA perfects space operations on the moon and pursues a "flexible path" to explore other parts of the solar system.

    • Toyota Motor Co. was the primary beneficiary of the U.S. government's "Cash for Clunkers" program, accounting for three of the top five models purchased by new car buyers, according to a new survey of the auto stimulus program.

    • An advocate of expanded robotic exploration of Mars argues that semi-autonomous operations are the best way to explore the solar system while developing new technologies that can be used on Earth.

    • The automotive semiconductor market may be on the verge of a recovery in the third quarter with a gradual increase in revenues during 2010, according to a market researcher.

    • Can GM's Volt live up to the billing, namely 230 MPG in the city?

    • The crew of Apollo 11 observed the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing by remembering those who helped them reach that historic goal. They also challenged future generations to go to the stars while caring for a "fragile" Earth.

    • As car songs go, the collection on Neil Young's recent album, "Fork in the Road," isn't bad.

    • Regina Dugan, co-founder of a company developing land mine-detection technology, has been named the new director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

    • Pentagon acquisition officials made good on Defense Secretary Robert Gates' pledge to rein in the Army's largest modernization program, announcing that development of the Future Combat System will be broken up into smaller development efforts.

    • With the U.S. economy still in the tank and the ranks of the unemployed still growing, many visitors to this year's Midwest Renewable Energy Association's Energy Fair came looking for work or a career change.

    • There appears to be no shortage of ideas and competition in what is called the "premium sports car" market.

    • Why isn't GM promoting the hell out of its Chevy Malibu, which is getting rave reviews?

    • Those engineers at the cutting edge of automotive design appear to be taking a page from NASA's Apollo program to land humans on the Moon in the 1960s.

    • Mentor Graphics Corp. has unveiled the first in a series of design tools that support the Automotive Open System Architecture (Autosar) standard.

    • An automotive industry watcher said it expects the global auto market to bottom out by the end of 2009, with a recovery expected to begin in the first half of 2010.

    • One of the pioneers of the U.S. Energy Star program has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

    • China surpassed the United States in 2008 as the world's second-largest auto maker and could overtake Japan as the top global car manufacturer in 2009, according to an industry watcher.

    • A temperature-dependent "pre-heat" module from power management vendor Trombetta is designed to control diesel engine "glow plugs" and air intake heating elements.

    • A growing percentage of Americans believe the United States will be unable to compete technologically with emerging powers in the coming decades, according to a survey released last week.

    • Despite the steady stream of bad news coming out of the global automotive industry these days, efforts are underway to remake it a more energy efficient, cleaner enterprise.

    • Energy Secretary Steven Chu told the House Science and Technology Committee that organizing a new R&D agency will move ahead on several fronts despite initial estimates that it could take a year before the agency is fully operational.

    • Vivek Kundra, chief technology officer for the District of Columbia, has been tapped by the Obama administration to serve as the federal chief information officer.

    • The governments of Hong Hong and neighboring Shenzhen, China, said they will jointly fund eight applied research and development projects.

    • President Barack Obama talked about service, sacrifice, accountability and responsibility last week in the cold and the sunshine on the Mall in Washington. Faced with epic challenges, can he succeed?

    • Julius Genachowski, a venture capitalist who served as a technology advisor to President-elect Barack Obama's presidential campaign, has been tapped to head the Federal Communications Commission, according to reports.

    • Cadence Design Systems Inc. has named Lip-Bu Tan as its new president and CEO, replacing Michael Fister, who resigned in October along with four other senior executives.

    • A U.S. panel that reviews transactions involving strategic industries has cleared a foundry deal between government-owned Advanced Technology Investment Corp. of Abu Dhabi and Advanced Micro Devices.

    • Reflecting the continuing industry downturn, two technology industry trade associations are merging.

    • The potential market for the technology infrastructure needed to transform the nation's aging power grid into a "smart power web" is poised to nearly double over the next five years, according to a new survey.

    • The global semiconductor industry is lining up behind green technologies, but a tough economy is throwing more roadblocks in the way of further investment.

    • MEMS technology that is steadily making its way into cellphones, digital cameras and other consumer devices could soon make the leap to so-called "lifestyle products" where MEMS chips could provide easier-to-use interfaces.

    • Cadence Design Systems Inc. said it will lay off 625 full-time workers, or 12 percent of its global workforce, in an effort to cut operating costs.

    • Global energy supplies will play a greater role in U.S. military strategy and spending, according to an industry forecast that also predicted a modest increase in government IT spending over the next five years.

    • The U.S. Navy has named its next missile-tracking ship after Howard Lorenzen, the "father of electronic warfare" who helped developed the first U.S. spy satellite payloads in the 1960s.

    • On a blistering hot day in September 1962, the president of the United States traveled to Rice University in Houston to reaffirm America's commitment to landing men on the moon by the end of the decade.

    • How a Grumman engineer helped rescue the Lunar Module and land men on the moon.

    • The buzz at a recent solar technology conference was palpable. Engineers stood on long lines waiting to get into technical sessions and, once seated, stayed until the last question was answered.

    • Solar thermal technology that attempts to harness the efficient phase change from water to steam is emerging as the preferred alternative energy technology in the race to replace fossil fuels with sustainable energy sources, experts agree.

    • A congressional commission established to monitor U.S.-China economic and security issues will probe China's domestic and foreign-funded research and development during a hearing scheduled for July 16.

    • This year's Midwest Renewable Energy Association exhibition in Wisconsin illustrated how soaring energy costs are pushing alternative power and green technology into the mainstream.

    • Printed optoelectronics specialist Bioident Technologies Inc. said it has won a government research contract to develop handheld biosensors based on printed optoelectronics.

    • Paul Wolfowitz, one of the architects of the Iraq war and ousted head of the World Bank, has been named to head the board of an influential U.S.-Taiwan lobbying group.

    • Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. clung to its DRAM market lead in the first quarter, according to market researcher iSuppli, cranking up production as competitors retreated in response to weak market conditions and a U.S. economic recession.

    • Growing complexity and the staggering costs associated with designing systems-on-chip are forcing companies to seek collaboration on a variety of intellectual property issues.

    • Targeting the Blu-ray Disc market, Broadcom Corp. said it has acquired optical storage specialist Sunext Design Inc. and will license optical disk reader and writer technology from parent company Sunext Technology Co.

    • According to early federal estimates, GOP hopeful Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a libertarian, is attracting the most individual campaign contributions from employees of major U.S. high-tech companies.

    • The Bush administration on Tuesday (Jan. 22) rolled out a package of U.S. export control policies that seek to balance national security with the globalization of technology.

    • Leading-edge foundries are just beginning to ramp their 45-nanometer processes, but vendors are already looking to the next challenge--perhaps their biggest to date: the race to develop and ship high-k dielectrics and metal gates for the 32-nm node.

    • Advanced Micro Devices Inc. plans to ramp production of 45-nm chips in the first half of 2008 and remains largely unconcerned about trailing rivals like Intel Corp. in the high-k/metal gate processor race.

    • Hjalmar Winbladh, CEO of the Swedish VoIP startup Rebtel, is building a business based on making international mobile calls at local rates by circumventing wireless operators' interconnection fees.

    • Ever since the National Academy of Engineering released its watershed report on globalization, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm," in 2005, conventional wisdom has held that there is a shortage of U.S. engineers, and that American students are falling behind in math and science.

    • Magma Design Automation Inc. reported record revenue totaling $53.5 million in its second quarter, a 27.5 percent jump over the same period in 2006.

    • Intelligence veteran Scott Large has been named director of the National Reconnaissance Office, the Defense Department.

    • Seven electronics companies announced their support for an industry specification for next-generation removable flash memory cards.

    • The Federal Communications Commission has adopted digital TV transition rules that will require cable operators to either carry digital broadcast signals in analog format or downconvert digital signals for subscribers.

    • Intel Corp. confirmed that it has received a "statement of objection" from the Korean Fair Trade Commission as part of a two-year antitrust probe of Intel's activities in South Korea.

    • The Bush administration announced creation of a U.S.-Israel High-Tech Forum on designed to bolster two-way technology trade and investment.

    • Broadcom Corp. claimed another legal victory in its patent battle with Qualcomm Inc., saying a federal appeals court has reversed a lower court ruling and will allow Broadcom to continue pursuing antitrust claims against Qualcomm in New Jersey.

    • OS developer Wind River Systems Inc. said its second-quarter revenues rose 15 percent over the previous quarter to $84.6 million.

    • A senior U.S. export official will meet next week in Israel with government officials and industry executives to discuss dual-use techology exports and trade issues.

    • Mentor Graphics Corp. reported a 15 percent year-on-year increase in quarterly revenues, or $205.7 million.

    • Zarlink Semiconductor has unloaded its shares in Mitel Networks Corp. following the approval of Mitel's merger with Inter-Tel Inc.

    • Much like the consumer electronics and wireless industries, where mobile devices are king, the U.S. military is developing its own version of mobility with autonomous weapons that use less power and are able to sift through and relay large amounts of sensor data using on-board processors.

    • Along with mini-UAVs and other unmanned sensor platforms, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) wants to use polymorphous processor architectures in weapons systems ranging from intelligent avionics to rapid technology upgrades for existing weapons to extend operational lifetimes.

    • Synopsys Inc. said it has acquired Mosaid Technology Inc.'s semiconductor intellectual property assets for $15 million in cash.

    • Wind power is generating renewed interest as energy prices continue to climb. The U.S. is the fastest-growing market, but must still figure out a way to get wind power from mountain tops to distant consumers.

    • The sprawling cacophony of the Paris Air Show in this northern suburb where Charles Lindbergh touched ground in 1927 brings together not only every flying machine imaginable but also a dizzying array of industries, technology and trade issues that literally go from the ground up to the heavens.

    • The sight of it made Sreelal Sreedhar sad: One of the great aircraft designs of the 20th century had been reduced to a prop at a trade show.

    • A $4 billion transatlantic missile defense program designed to replace the aging U.S. Patriot system is poised to move the program from the drawing board to a detailed design phase.

    • Fifty-eight of the 62 members of the House Armed Services Committee voted on May 9 for a $508.3 billion military authorization bill for fiscal 2008. Four members did not vote. No member voted against the budget legislation. The entire U.S. House of Representatives approved essentially the same bill by a vote of 397 to 27 on May 16.

    • Two competing Senate bills would seek to reform the U.S. high-tech visa program by raising annual visa caps and stopping abuse of the visa program by overseas employers.

    • A pair of competing Senate bills would seek to reform the U.S. high-tech visa program by raising annual visa caps and stopping abuse of the visa program by overseas employers.

    • China is launching a 15-year plan akin to the U.S. post-Sputnik research initiative to achieve "indigenous innovation," a U.S. group concludes in a report on global competitiveness.

    • If the process by which technology standards are forged and implemented isn't broken, it is surely straining under the weight of globalization, relentless technological change, patent-infringement and antitrust lawsuits as well as increasingly noisy standards battles among competing industry consortia.

    • The word "innovation" is on the lips of nearly every politician and half the lobbyists in Washington. But when it comes to the technical standards that form the underpinnings of U.S. innovation, the subject is "a real killer at a cocktail party," said Don Deutsch, vice president for standards strategy and architecture at Oracle Corp.

    • The House Science and Technology Committee has approved a doubling of the budget for the National Institute of Standards and Technology in a budget authorization bill.

    • Our neighbors' son, a freshman engineering student at Virginia Tech University, knows he's fortunate. You can tell by his hushed voice and his sad eyes.

    • The U.S. Marine Corps is preparing to deploy the first operational squadron of the problem-plagued MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor helicopter.

    • A U.S. digital TV standards group will develop a technical standard that will allow broadcasters to deliver TV and data services to mobile phones and handheld devices over their DTV broadcast signal.

    • ITT Corp. has confessed to exporting military night vision technology to China and other countries without an export license and has agreed to pay fines totaling $100 million, the Justice Department said.

    • The chairman of a congressional panel on technology innovation said Wednesday (March 21) he will seek to double the budget of the National Institute for Standards and Technology as a way for the agency to play a larger role in fixing the fragmented U.S. standards-setting process.

    • U.S. households will be eligible to request two $40 coupons beginning Jan. 1, 2008, for the purchase of digital TV converter boxes, according to a DTV transition plan announced by the Bush administration.

    • Under pressure from Congress to come up with rules for the U.S. digital TV transition, the Bush administration will announce guidelines for a converter box subsidy program on Monday (March 12).

    • U.S. retailers will be taking analog TVs off their shelves at midnight on Feb. 28, 2007, when a government mandate takes effect requiring all TVs sold in the U.S. to include a digital TV tuner.

    • U.S. data centers consumed the equivalent of the power generated by five 1,000-kilowatt power plants in 2005, according to an energy consumption study commissioned by Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

    • A federal regulator's decision in an antitrust case against Rambus Inc. sends an unambiguous message to the semiconductor industry about the need to disclose patents in industry standards deliberations, legal experts said.

    • The Federal Trade Commission set maximum royalty rates for Rambus Inc.'s memory technologies and ordered the IP vendor to establish internal procedures to ensure full disclosure of its patents and patent applications to standards groups.

    • An alliance between a U.S. embedded-software services company and an Indian-based partner to outsource avionics software development is raising flags among offshoring opponents, who question whether mission-critical software should be written by international teams.

    • Bad behavior grabbed headlines this year, as the electronics industry hit what all must hope was its ethical nadir.

    • Remember the Wankel? There's a new spin on the rotary engine whose quirky name once made it fodder for a Monty Python sketch.

    • The U.S. engineering community is wrestling with the quickening pace of offshoring--and what, if anything, should be done about it. As they work to document the extent of offshoring in areas such as chip design, experts are trying to get their arms around globalization's implications for the engineering profession and, more important, for the future of U.S. innovation.

    • The market for microelectromechanical systems is "not for the faint of heart," but recent strides in manufacturing, testing and packaging could lead to robust growth in consumer applications, experts said.

    • U.S. military planners, faced with mounting casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan along with a decline in federal R&D spending, are pressing contractors to shift their focus from gee-whiz technologies to "relevant" ones that can save lives and improve capabilities today.

    • The U.S. military is investing heavily in network-centric technologies but must find new ways to expand network capabilities on a global basis while funding network research, industry experts said.

    • Integrators--those large, diversified companies that tackle huge technology projects like advanced aircraft and the U.S. space station--are increasingly targeting wireless telecommunications networks that require greater interoperability and security.

    • An obscure agency, the National Academy of Public Administration, is following up on key conclusions of a suppressed U.S. study on the offshoring of high-tech jobs.

    • U.S. researchers said an experimental mercury clock is five times more accurate than the national clock, which is based on cesium atoms.

    • He is one of history's great inventors, engineers and scientists. Today, we'd call Nikola Tesla an innovator. And not just for his pioneering work on power-distribution systems and alternating current. Tesla is remembered for inspiring generations of engineers.

    • Vor wenigen Jahren noch war die Hightechindustrie der USA weltweit tonangebend. Der massive Druck der Globalisierung sowie der Aufschwung der asiatischen Länder stellen diese Führungsrolle zur Diskussion.

    • Microsoft's decision to delay release of its new Vista operating system will surely cause pain, but it may also have the beneficial effect of plugging network security holes.

    • Le secteur nord-américain de la robotique a enregistré un record de commandes en 2005, avec une croissance de 23% en glissement annuel. Les perspectives du secteur semblent, toutefois, assombries par l’incertitude dans le secteur automobile.

    • The North American robotics industry reported record orders for 2005, jumping 23 percent over the previous year.

    • The Bush administration's proposed 7-percent increase in military spending for fiscal 2007 invests in a range of advanced technologies for combat, communications and homeland defense.

    • Underlying government initiatives to boost U.S. innovation through increased R&D spending and federal support of science education is the big question of how to pay for it all. At the federal level, direct support targets university-based basic research and tax breaks for industry R&D. U.S. chip makers, for example, invest about $15 billion annually on R&D.

    • The promise of presidential support for technology funding, combined with two new bills advancing a similar agenda in the U.S. Senate, is generating plenty of enthusiasm within a U.S. technology community withered by years of underfunded programs in education and research. Now the industry must hope that the pros- pect of new funds does not evaporate in the heat of political infighting over a tight federal budget.

    • Market researchers are predicting chaos unless details of a government DTV transition plan to subsidize converter-box purchases are resolved soon and communicated effectively to consumers who rely solely on broadcast TV.

    • The government said the annual exemption cap on H-1B visas was reached four months into the current fiscal year.

    • A solar initiative approved by the California Public Utilities Commission could make the Golden State one of the world's largest producers of solar energy.

    • Des scientifiques du Massachusetts Institute of Technology et du National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) affirment que la formule d’Albert Einstein E=mc2 est correcte.

    • As the competitive threat from Asia -- especially China --grows, innovation emerged in 2005 as a key technology and economic issue in America.

    • Taiwanese chip makers will likely gain even greater access to the mainland Chinese market with the expected adoption of new regulations governing cross-Strait trade, according to a business group.

    • The Pentagon is searching for new technologies needed for everything from reducing roadside bomb casualties in Iraq to securing cyber-space and gaining control of the emerging high ground of space.

    • Fuel cell developers foresee growing market demand for micropower devices in mobile applications that could extend beyond the wireless market to include automotive uses.

    • Wie das US-Justizministerium mitteilt, muss der südkoreanische Chiphersteller Samsung 300 Millionen Dollar Strafe zahlen: Das Unternehmen hat sich der unerlaubten Preisabsprache schuldig bekannt.

    • South Korean chip maker Samsung Electronics will plead guilty to federal price-fixing charges and has agreed to pay a $300 million fine, the Justice Department said.

    • Semiconductor executives in the United States made their annual pilgrimage to Washington last week in search of federal aid for their ailing industry. The latest "competitiveness" initiative seeks government funding for basic semiconductor research, an area the industry correctly warns is woefully underfunded.

    • The FCC will meet in Atlanta to determine how telecom networks collapsed in the aftermath of Hurricance Katrina and to find ways to prevent future failures.

    • Chinas Entwicklung zur wirtschaftlichen und militärischen Großmacht nimmt regen Einfluss auf die in den USA geführten Debatten über die militärischen Absichten und die eng damit verbundene wirtschaftliche Strategie der Volksrepublik. Gleichzeitig stellt sich die Frage, wie die USA, Europa und Asien auf die chinesischen Aktivitäten reagieren sollten.

    • China wants to strengthen its ability to project force beyond its own shores, seeking with military modernization to become a regional power, the Pentagon told Congress last week.

    • China's military modernization efforts are focusing on upgrading its ability to project force beyond its own shores as it seeks to become a regional power, according to a Pentagon report.

    • Die Anzeichen mehren sich, dass sich die US-Chiphersteller auf eine wachsende Nachfrage vorbereiten. Vorsorglich schmieden sie bereits Pläne für eine Expansion – vor allem in Fernost, aber auch in Deutschland.

    • Der boomende Markt für Multimedia-Geräte verschlingt immense Mengen an Flash-Speichern. Die Industrie kann diese wachsende Nachfrage möglicherweise nicht mehr lange uneingeschränkt bedienen; Lieferengpässe zeichnen sich ab.

    • Surging demand for flash memory driven by multimedia consumer devices could lead to future memory shortages, a Samsung Semiconductor executive warned.

    • Citing stronger than expected chip sales, the Semiconductor Industry Association revised its annual forecast for global chip sales to a record $226 billion in 2005.

    • L’Inde et le Japon cherchent à obtenir un statut commercial spécial dans cette zone industrielle, soutenue par le gouvernement, située près de Singapour et qui est dominée par la production électronique, a indiqué le chef de l’Autorité du développement industriel de Batam.

    • India and Japan are seeking special trade status in this government-sponsored industrial zone near Singapore that is dominated by electronics production, according to the head of the Batam Industrial Development Authority.

    • Mit einem simplen Plan will Infineon seine Position im Halbleitermarkt weiter ausbauen. Elemente des Plans sind größere Wafer, kleinere Strukturen, maximale Auslastung – und antizyklische Investitionen. In dieses Raster passt der Ausbau der 300-mm-Fab, den das Unternehmen zurzeit in Richmond im US-Bundesstaat Virginia vorantreibt.

    • Die Installation der Maschinerie in Infineons neuer 300-mm-Produktionsanlage in den USA ist seit Mitte Dezember in vollem Gang. Noch in diesem Jahr wolle das Unternehmen dort erste DRAM-Chips vom Band laufen lassen, erklärten Manager des Chipherstellers anlässlich einer Besichtigung der Baustelle.

    • In a blow to U.S. broadcasters, the Federal Communications Commission has moved to invalidate dual-carriage rules that broadcasters argued required cable operators to carry both analog and digital channels on the systems.

    • Electronics manufacturers rocked by overseas competition are scrambling to either improve or restore profitability and are groping for solutions. A change at the top seems to be the preferred method.

    • Fünfzehn Unternehmen, unter ihnen Chipdesigner und –Hersteller, haben sich zusammengetan, um IBMs Power-Architektur zum offenen Standard zu machen. Eine enstsprechende Initiative wurde gestern in Peking der Öffentlichkeit vorgestellt.

    • A broadened definition of manufacturing contained in corporate tax legislation has engineering groups wondering whether the U.S. electronics industry could gain new tax breaks.

    • Rambus Inc. and Federal Trade Commission attorneys appeared before the five-member panel to present opening arguments in an appeal of a ruling dismissing the agency's antitrust case against the memory IP vendor.

    • A panel tracking Chinese technology developments and its implications for U.S. national security said the government needs a coordinated national strategy to meet China's challenge to U.S. scientific and technology leadership.

    • In ihrem Jahresbericht für den Kongress werfen US-Militäranalysten einen besorgten Blick auf China: Mit militärischen Modernisierungsprogrammen versucht das Land der aufgehenden Sonne, seinen Weltraum-Programm voranzutreiben. Gleichzeitig würden die im zivilen Bereich gewonnenen Technologien für die Aufrüstung von Waffen und die militärische Vernetzung genutzt, sorgen sich die USA.

    • Largely unnoticed amid the flurry of trade-related agreements last month between the United States and China was an accord tightening export-control procedures on U.S. dual-use technologies shipped to China.

    • Die für Wettbewerbsfragen zuständige US-Aufsichtsbehörde FTC hat gegen die Entscheidung eines Verwaltungsrichters Berufung eingelegt, der im Februar die Kartellrechtsklage der Behörde gegen Rambus abgewiesen hatte.

    • The Federal Trade Commission has released a brief appealing an administrative law judge's decision in February dismissing the agency's antitrust case against Rambus Inc.

    • The Bush administration has dropped the other shoe on China, filing a formal trade complaint over what U.S. trade officials and the industry groups allege is discriminatory tax rebate policy on semiconductors that hurts U.S. suppliers.

    • U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick reiterated in congressional testimony this week that the Bush administration is pressing China to drop value-added taxes on semiconductors.

    • President George Bush's ambitious space exploration initiative is getting mixed reviews in Congress as lawmakers sifting through details of a NASA spending plan question how to pay for a program that could cost between $30 billion and $55 billion in its initial phase.

    • U.S. engineers and their allies descend on the nation's capital this week to lobby for "balanced" federal funding for research and development. The two-day lobbying effort begins against a backdrop of record unemployment among U.S. engineers.

    • Mobile-phone and chip makers acknowledged last week at the 3GSM World Congress here that they're under pressure to shelve once-cherished proprietary technologies in favor of generic interfaces for tying cell phones to multimedia peripherals such as higher-resolution displays and cameras.

    • Les fabricants et les fournisseurs de téléphones portables à la base de l'intégration de dispositifs et de services sur des appareils de troisième génération tentent de trouver le moyen d'attirer plus de clients tout en s'accaparant les activités propres à leurs concurrents.

    • Die Hersteller und Vertreiber von Mobilfunkgeräten bemühen sich bei den 3G-Modellen zwar um eine immer höhere Integration und Verbesserung der Serviceleistungen, um weitere Kunden zu gewinnen. Aber sie müssen auch aus dem laufenden Geschäft mehr Umsatz herausholen.

    • Mobile phone makers and the vendors who are driving the integration of devices and services on 3G handsets are looking for ways to attract more customers while squeezing more business out of existing ones.

    • The intensely competitive Chinese wireless market is biding it's time on issues ranging from which 3G technology to adopt to whether or not to proceed with a controversial Wi-Fi encryption scheme, a China market researcher said.

    • When U.S. officials moved in January 2003 to tighten up high-tech export regulations, they touched off a year-long scramble by the EDA industry to keep simulation software off the list of controlled technologies.

    • Le passage à la conception au niveau système (SLD), que l'on considère comme critique à l'heure où l'industrie adopte des procédés au 90 nm et inférieur, a été ralenti en raison du manque d'investissements, de doutes quant à un rendement rapide des investissements et d'une pénurie de concepteurs de systèmes et de normes adéquates, indiquent certains experts.

    • Die internationalen und US-amerikanischen Exportrestriktionen für EDA-Softwarepakete sollen überprüft werden. Das teilten Industriemanager auf der Fachmesse DATE 04 mit. Eine Lockerung würde bestehende Hindernisse beim Verkauf modellbasierender Simulationssoftware aus dem Weg geräumt werden.

    • I tend to agree with "fundamentals" about myopic CEOs focusing only on short-term gain at the expense of long-term stability. While interviewing a semiconductor CEO several years ago, he checked his company's stock price at least twice in an hour. I quickly realized he was more interested in tracking the value of his stock options than discussing his company's strategies for growth and innovation. This is no way to run a railroad.

    • As our story on EE Times Confidential points out, A123 Systems has received plenty of help from the Energy Department for technology development and tax breaks from the State of Michigan to spur manufacturing and, with it, job creation. These appear to be sound investments in a technology company with a good track record of innovation and moving a proprietary technology (nanophosphate materials used to make battery components) to volume manufacturing.

    • Thanks for posting this link. Here's the relevant passage: "Nolans Project in Central Australia, the remote Hoidas lake project in northern Canada and the Mt. Weld project in Australia. The Hoidas Lake project has the potential to supply about 10% of the $1 billion of REE consumption that occurs in North America every year."

    • Excellent suggestions, Duane, and glad you liked the Apollo quote. When in need of inspiration, we often look back on the moon landing program and the 400,000 men and women who built Apollo. As I wrote during the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing: "Those engineers figured out a way to send men to the moon and bring them back. They showed that the unthinkable could be achieved. What will the next generation of engineers do to match them? Somewhere, there are girls and boys gazing up at the stars, just as we looked up at the moon on that warm night 40 years ago. And the first flicker of an idea is forming for humanity’s next adventure in space exploration."

    • In much of the reporting on the rare earth issue, including ours, there has been precious little perspective on the Chinese view. Thanks, "Pixies", for your post on how the Chinese media is reporting on this issue. It underscores again how globalization continues to add new layers of complexity to the technology supply chain.

    • Again, the White House science fair is part of a series of events that culminates with a two-day science and technology festival on the National Mall. I've been in Washington for 25 years, and haven't seen these topics receive this much high-profile attention since the end of the Apollo program. We have to get the brightest kids focused on science, not Wall Street.

    • Reader Jerry Banks sent this by e-mail: Personally I think it should be a strategic initiative for the US government to retain as much manufacturing in the US as is possible. If that means tax credits and/or other subsidies then so be it. I’d rather “lose” a few tax dollars and see people gainfully employed than keep the tax rates high and watch our jobs disappear.

    • Thanks for your response. Specifically, U.S. board makers have told us logistics hassles and spotty manufacturing quality at operations in China have convinced some to move board manufacturing back to the United States. I don't have specific examples from elsewhere in Asia or India. Does anyone else?

    • I just heard a caller on NPR's "Diane Rehm Show" express frustration about U.S. companies with lots of cash not hiring. The caller said her response is to horde her own cash, and not buy products from companies she suspects are buying back their stock rather than investing in American innovation. That's one strategy, I guess.

    • This is a valuable and enlightening discussion led by you, the readers, the engineers on the ground. Interestingly, U.S. markets shot up on the same day (Tuesday, Oct. 5) this story was posted on reports that hiring jumped in the U.S. service sector, now the economy's largest. Wall Street apparently interprets this news as a sign that a "double-dip" recession may have been avoided. The question is whether growth in the U.S. service sector jobs can support a sustained economic recovery?

    • I'll concede that FDA new drug approval may be somewhat "off topic" as some have suggested (I am notorious for this), but my intent was to use the example of Dr. Kelsey's courage to illustrate ethical issues across all areas of science and technology research. Another thing to remember is that the electronics industry is quickly becoming a player in the medical devices market and will have to develop a deeper understanding of how devices are regulated. There are many parallels here to drug regulations. Besides, Dr. Kelsey's story is inspiring.

    • You are correct, Missy. We also should have mentioned EFPs in our story. The threats to U.S. troops keep evolving, and the challenge for the Army is to try to keep pace. My sense is that Secretary Gates and his acquisition staff are making a concerted effort to address the armor problem and get something in the field that really works as soon as possible. Given recent statements by U.S. military commanders, we may still get a chance to deploy systems like the Global Combat Vehicle in places like Afghanistan.

    • A big deal for the only American company pushing the envelope on battery technology. The scale of this project will provide A123 with real-world experience storing and distributing energy produced by renewable sources. The U.S. energy industry needs more deals like this one.

    • NXP declines to say when the IPO will commence. Our story has been adjusted accordingly.

    • I don't disagree with the points you make. What concerns me is that Applied Materials is a key player in what is clearly a strategic market. With some patient capital and some good ideas, they should be able to succeed in making a renewable energy operation work here in the U.S., which means scaling it up over time.

    • Update: The House Science Committee released its version of the fiscal 2011 NASA authorization bill late Monday (July 19). The panel's version is similar in many respects to the Senate budget bill approved last week. Significantly, the House version also would put NASA on a fast track to develop a heavy-launch rocket. Specifically, it directs NASA to develop and demonstrate "a government-owned crew transportation system and evolvable heavy lift transportation system" that would minimize "the human space flight 'gap'." No timetable for development is included, but it's clear the House panel agrees with the Senate that a fire needs to be lit under NASA to get going on a new solar system-exploring rocket. Stay tuned.

    • This from Friday's Washington Post on the key role played by battery technology in the Obama administration's energy strategy: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/14/AR2010071406046.html

    • Battery technology is increasingly becoming a strategic area of energy research. It is significant that DOE and Princeton University are trying to move this technology from the lab to commercialization. Their industrial partner, Vorbeck Materials, is already featuring its graphene-based conductive ink on its Web site.

    • As we have reported, there are some U.S. electronics industry segments like pc-board makers who have begin bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. from China, apparently having concluded that "you get what you pay for."

    • This from reader "Aliali/ENG: What hypocrisy! Intel under Grove worked hand in hand with Microsoft to bring hundreds of thousands of foreigners here to do jobs that should have been done by citizens! Is he waking up to the situation or just mouthing platitudes? Tell him to talk to Microsoft, which still is working with their Democrat buddies in Congress to bring foreigners here under H1B visas while U.S. citizens can't find jobs. Oh and the Democrat media are the biggest of hypocrites. Telling us we would have a "service economy" as though that would be a wonderful thing! Services don't heat your house or clothe your family or keep food cold or cook your meals - manufactured goods do those things. The Democrat media keeps hurling accusations against "big business" or "corporate whatever" or simply "Bush did it", but the fact is Democrat Bill Clinton signed GATT, Democrat Bill Clinton signed NAFTA, and the Democrat unions and media instead of working for justice just want to steal what other people have. Greedy Democrats working with the greedy RHINOS to destroy our county's political and economic systems and impoverish the people here who work for a living. Ask Grove how many foreigners he brought to the US when he was in charge of Intel! Ask Grove which companies he invests in and do they try to keep jobs in the U.S. I'm tired of hypocrites. We have Obama's Eric Holder refusing to prosecute Black Panther members that used clubs to keep whites from voting, but the same Eric Holder is bring suit against Arizona for trying to protect its citizens. Hypocrites!

    • Weather forecast at Cape Canaveral for Friday, launch day, is 60 percent chance of scattered showers. Not promising. This test flight is all about data collection. SpaceX has been too secretive about the launch sequence. They are overreacting to criticism, much of it from rivals who would not mind seeing them fail. But the U.S, space program operates in the open, for all to see, whether the launch is a huge success or a spectacular failure. As Alan Shepard said, "Let's light this candle!"

    • JFK speech writer Ted Sorensen wrote in his 2008 memoir: “The ‘moon shot’ was the making of America’s superiority in space” and of “all scientific, diplomatic and national security benefits that followed."

    • Might one of the lessons of the Toyota recall saga be that we need to go back to more mechanical and less electronic implementations for "mission-critical" functions like throttles and brakes? Could this be addressed specifically in a revisit of human interface standards?

      George Leopold

    • I recently had to drive back to Washington from Orlando after all flights were cancelled. The rental car clerk asked whether I'd mind taking a Toyota Camry that had gone through the recall process. "I'll take it," I replied. The front-wheel drive helped get me back into my snowed-in neighborhood in northern Virginia. Still, it was interesting to see a rental car agent reluctant to offer a customer a Toyota.

      George Leopold

    • (A reader sent the following letter to the editor responding to Bill Schweber's opinion piece):

      I cannot believe you allowed this person to write an anti-climate change article.

      I'm an EE and feel I have more science in my little pinky than him... so blatently political!!

      First off, he pretends to have real scientific backing by bringing up astrophysics and predict-test-observe cycle: "Due to the constraints of having only one Earth and our inability to run controlled experiments on it, climate researchers can't do that. .....This capability is not available for long-term climate research. Therefore, it isn't science."

      Let's be clear: astrophysicists can only observe the stars, not run experiments!! Climate scientists "observe" hundreds of thousands of core samples which cover many years of our planets history. They use highly sophistcated scientific instruments. They can run "models" that try to emulate the change they "observe" and correlate with those samples.

      'Climate researchers point to "up" data as confirming their theory, while dismissing "down" data as mere noise or localized fluctuations within the bigger picture. In other words, all data—whether up or down--maps to the desired conclusion. '

      This author is clearly expressing a biased opinion... I **seriously** doubt he reads all the journals and published papers and checks references. Most climate data is **openly** available for public scrutiny. The recent "scandal" on tv involves one group's analysis of this public data that other groups have also analyzed.

      There is so much real science behind the study of climate and you allowed this ignoramus to publish his fallacious views.... I have lost all respect for this magazine.... You basically allowed him to disparage a large group of dedicated researchers who spend many years studying statistical math and science in college.

      My opinion: this writer should not be allowed to post an editorial ever again and should keep their ultra-conservative blather out of this once-respected magazine.

      -Ian

    • As noted elsewhere, we are attempting to move beyond the hype to provide a thorough analysis of what's in Apple's new product and whether it is indeed the beginning of a new product category. We are preparing an analysis to be posted later today based on interviews with developers who, along with our reporter, were denied access to the Apple rollout. Please watch for it.

    • Eagle-eyed reader Jake Hendrickson points out that we messed up our gallery of rocket launchers. We published the wrong photo of the Ares-1 rocket on page 21 of our Nov. 16 issue as well as on our Web site. Here's a link to the Ares-1 photo we should have published: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/ares/index.html

    • Reader Thomas Carlins of Pittsburgh writes:

      I read your article with great interest. I have always had an interest in space. I also have a sister and brother-in-law that work in the space program at Cape Canaveral. I was dismayed by your second paragraph when you stated: "the once-supreme U.S. manned space program". I would disagree. We are still supreme. No one else is capable of putting the manpower or equipment in orbit that we have done. The international space station is only international because we have allowed others to come on board. We could just as easily have accomplished it alone. Later in your article you stated: "the United States can no longer afford to mount, say, a manned mission to Mars on its own." The federal government just wasted $770 billion dollars to bail out AIG and is proposing a nationalized health care system whose costs will dwarf the AIG bailout. It is not a lack of resources, but too many people in the government wasting money on pet (pork) projects and social (redistribution of wealth) programs. Further, your statement that we must: "overcome narrow political difference and rivalries" is naive at best. The sooner we once again realize that we are the greatest country on the planet and that we do not need the assistance of the other countries the sooner we can move forward. If other countries wish to join us, we should not exclude them, but as long as we are the major shareholder in the venture they must abide by our rules. I agree with you that we need a definitive purpose such as JFK gave us. The time frame for a Mars mission (2036) is too far away. We need an intermediate step to keep people excited about the future. I propose that a permanent colony/spaceport on the moon is the next logical step. It will give us practice landing on another planet and give us a stationary point to launch a craft to Mars from without having to fight Earth's gravity to get started. We need to stay in space and keep moving forward. You are correct that: "the biggest hurdles...political and budget squabbles". NASA needs to begin to wean themselves from government funding. Sell trips into space for the wealthy (and make a profit), charge foreign countries what it really cost (and make a profit) to get their experiments and astronauts into space, allow NASA to make money off of the countless patents they have had over the years in developing product for space exploration which are now in use in everyday life, and whatever else it takes to get the money needed to continue this work. Finally you referenced commercial space ventures. Why doesn't NASA sell its shuttle technology to a private venture that can keep it going rather than stopping the program, burying the plan and losing years of valuble experience.

    • You make good points about the value of a permanent moon base, which does address the costly problem of getting equipment to Earth orbit. Perhaps we should instead invest more in robotic exploration of Mars, or telepresence, as one of our contributors refers to it? What do you think?

    • For readers who missed it, here is today's EE Times newsletter commentary on the manufacturing debate: The argument is advanced by a Harvard University professor of business administration that it costs too much to make stuff in the U.S. In a forum we are highlighting, Harvard's David Yoffie maintains that "the future of U.S. competitiveness in high tech industries such as computers, software, communications and electronics may depend more on the transition to services than trying to retain the country's manufacturing base." Yoffie was replying to critics who say excessive outsourcing of U.S. manufacturing jobs in undermining U.S. high-tech competitiveness. Yoffie's argument may hold some water in sectors like auto manufacturing where wages and benefits don't reflect the global nature of the business (nor does executive compensation at U.S. auto companies, for that matter). He also chooses to ignore the skills and high productivity of American workers and the reality that we have documented among electronics manufacturers: Manufacturing quality at overseas plants is uneven at best, prompting many to companies to shift some design and manufacturing work back to U.S. facilities.

    • Thanks for your comments. There is another limiting factor involved in reaching Mars and other "gravity wells." As one writer has noted, "The energy requirements of going up and down those steep gravity hills are so great that it would take many heavy-lift rocket ships to carry supplies and fuel on a mission to the Martian surface." This reality argues in favor of either robots or the option Buzz Aldrin and others have proposed: One-way trips for human explorers. While there may be many adventurers willing to make such a trip, it seems robots will be the only way to reach Mars for the foreseeable future. Agree?

    • Reader Tom Matheson writes in response to the EE Times Apollo digital edition: . Thanks for the great article on the Apollo 11, the Epic mission to the moon. I was a 15 year old young Amateur Radio operator at the time on that night of July 1969. I knew at a young age I wanted (maybe even 5 years old) I wanted to be an engineer and build things and figure out how things work. Well, that night I was on my Ham set, an R. L. Drake R4-B receiver. I was just detuning and listening around the non-amateur frequencies and just happened to land on a communication with the Apollo 11 space craft and mission control giving telemetry (temperatures, nitrogen, various gases, etc) data on its way to the moon. I can’t even tell you how many miles they were from earth at the time. You couldn’t believe my excitement and unbelievable feeling that I had just by chance ‘got’ them giving that data on the HF freqs. I can’t even tell you what frequency I was on. I was so beside myself and being young didn’t even think to document the time and freq. Which is strange because has Hams we log everything. I was just blown away. I ran to my parents to tell them and come in to my Ham shack and listen. I had a reel-to-reel tape recorder but I didn’t get a chance to get it and set it up and record. I’m kicking myself to this very day that I didn’t do that. That hobby and that epic day shaped my future and my career as I’m now an embedded software/hardware engineer and still love this stuff. I’ve been in this field for over 30 years. I have such a passion and it started at a very young age and has continued for all these years. My scenario is very familiar to the movie, ‘Contact’ when the young girl as W9HFO is a Ham listening around the Ham bands and wondering what is out there in space and that shaped her career in radio astronomy motivated by her dad which is exactly what my dad did for me. Good work. Regards, Tom WA7PTG

    • Reader Will Hayes writes:

      Wanted to say that I really enjoyed your article, especially the philosophical thinking behind it. Got my mind spinning....

      I also wanted to make a comment on a part of your article: "Yet young people have become so desensitized by the constant barrage of images of today that they fail to appreciate the achievements of the past." I forgot which philosopher mused it, but there was a line that always stuck with me from my philosophy studies in college that went something like this: If a baby was to witness his father fly they would think it no more miraculous than their father's ability to walk, or to provide food. The logic was simple: If we experience something at a young age and it becomes just as apart of life as walking and breathing, then we will accept it as is and move on, not really taking the time to appreciate which struggles took place, how difficult that achievement could have been, or how impossible this once may have been seen.

      Today’s youth lives in, by far, the largest technology boom in history. Since Apollo's landing we have witnessed pagers, then cell phones, then smart phones and then the iPhone, and the greatest leap forward with the iPhone is the opening up of the technology and allowing the development of apps that literally change the way we do things in our everyday lives. We’ve seen televisions move from analog to 1080p, Dubai "create" land in the shape of the globe, and a sheep cloned. The only limit that seems to exist today is the limit of the imagination. And with our youth coming of age with this technology widely available, can we really blame them for not being able to relate to the landing on the moon? In their minds, how could they relate? It was a social milestone that took a huge step forward, but did it really change the life of the everyday man, and our those repercussions obvious to today’s youth? Do you relate to the irrigation advancements of the Greeks back in the time of Caesar, or Edison's creation of the light bulb, or Bell's "telephone"? Or do we simply move on and accept the advancements of the past.

      The technology that made Apollo possible was by far more useful than our ability to say we've been on the moon. Did Neil Armstrong walking on the moon make it easier for me to find a restaurant within a 3-mile radius of my current location, complete with a menu and images? Did the moon rocks help me witness the Super Bowl on my 60-inch HD flat screen? Although the delivery of that image is a by product of satellites and consequentially further advancements.

      While everything has served its place in the line of development, the key part of our society is that is keeps questioning what’s next by asking why not. And we should take pride that our youth takes this for granted. If they were made aware of the huge struggles to get to where we are would we not stifle creativity? If everyone knew how many times it took just to perfect the light bulb would they not see further development as nearly impossible? What keeps technology advancing is that every generation comes refreshed with an entirely new outlook, and instead of trying to relate to past struggles they push forward with new ideas, and they do not limit themselves to the sky, but the further reaches of the imagination.

      Lastly, I love when you guys focus on the bigger picture because, in my opinion, what makes engineers become innovators is the ability to step back and see the "whole picture," and how technology can be applied to everyday life.

    • Yours is a decidely different "take" on the moon landings, and one that the rest of us would do well to remember. We in the U.S. viewed the moon as a technological goal. To a poor mother in India, it represented only a means to divert a fussy child at feeding time. Still, human beings landing on the moon was a global event. The crew of Apollo 11 said they were struck during a global tour after their successful landing the way everyone they met remarked that "we" did it, "we" sent humans to the moon. If nothing else, the first moon landing did in a small but significant way bring the world together.

    • (Editor's note: We have received several other letters from readers in response to Junko Yoshida's April 27 story on the Accenture engineering employment report and George Leopold's related EE Times Newsletter commentary. Here they are):

      To the editor:

      I was amused to see "semiconductor engineers are 'distrustful' of management," but about your advice to upper management to see this as a wake-up call. After 20 years of working for MBA-types who consider themselves the "chosen few" and look on engineers as easily-replaced commodities, I finally had quite enough. I've been the proud owner and CEO of my own company for 20 years now ... and never been happier. I'm also happy to say there are no MBAs (mindless bottom-line analysts) on my payroll. If I want advice from one of them, I'll ask ... but put one in a position of power, never!! Engineers are indeed the lifeblood of any company whose success depends on innovation. In my opinion, much of the financial mess we have today can be laid at the doorstep of Harvard Business School and its philosophies about "running a business" and being fixated on the next quarter's bottom line. Yeah, I feel pretty much the same about "marketing weasels" too!
      Thanks for the "venting" opportunity!

      Cordially, Bill Whitlock, president & chief engineer Jensen Transformers, Inc.


      To the editor:

      You touched a nerve with this article. As a software provider to the silicon industry we've been fighting the offshoring culture for years now. In my opinion there are a few key issues here: 1. Managers and executives who make offshoring decisions move on to new jobs before the total impact of their offshoring decision is known. They are never held accountable for wrong decisions.
      2. A basic assumption is made that one engineer in the U.S. is equal to one engineer in Bangalore or Shanghai
      3. Any industry has an ecosystem which is like a fabric. Once you start offshoring one element, it is like pulling the thread. The process only ends when the whole fabric has been undone. We tend to not hear about the macroeconomic analysis of offshoring.
      Regards,
      Gopal Miglani, President
      BitRouter
      Message was edited by: Yo Yo

    • A reader responds: "This is not 'the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression'. It is however the worst downturn since the early 80's. Please retire the aforementioned phrase until the US reaches 25% unemployment." Do you agree?