Kettering professor talks benefits of CHIPS Act for U.S. manufacturing, education
FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - The future of U.S. manufacturing and the field of computer science and engineering received a boost from the newly adopted, bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act. President Joe Biden signed it into law Tuesday with the goal of investing tens of billions of dollars in scientific research and the production of semiconductors.
“A lot of our manufacturing has gotten focused on the coastlines, so we’re trying to bring it back and spread it out,” said David Foster, Ph.D.
Foster is an associate professor of practice at Kettering University. He also graduated from the Flint university with a B.S. in electrical engineering.
It’s his students who may be the beneficiaries of this long term investment.
WNEM-TV5 cameras observed a lab during which Foster provided one-on-one instruction.
“You have to sit next to an expert and get the wisdom from them,” Foster said. “The knowledge comes out of the book. The wisdom comes out of the people.”
On this day students were learning the fundamental concepts of what goes inside of a chip, also called a semiconductor or microprocessor.
“There are hundreds of thousands of varieties of microprocessors. We’re probably most familiar with the ones that are in our desktop computers or our laptops because they have brand names that we all recognize,” Foster said. “But there are tiny processors in toothbrushes and toasters, sneakers, wrist watches and cars.”
Also in the session students learned how to create the chip’s functionality.
“Then we go into class and decide, now how do you design the logic and functionality of that chip? Are you going to make something that can decode video very well or filter out audio signals or decompress various other kinds of signals?” Foster said.
The bipartisan Chips and Science Act will include more than $50 billion for companies to manufacture semiconductors and conduct scientific research. This includes investments in building a STEM workforce through expanding access to STEM education, particularly in rural areas.
Foster says this will bring more people into this area of study.
“It will give people in the United States the idea that this is a valid field to go into. There’s a future for this because the country is very invested in this,” Foster said.
It’s an investment he feels is well worth it, especially for the bright minds he teaches every day.
“Companies love our students. We have an integrated co/op program that starts in the freshman year,” Foster explained. “Most students will graduate in a four and a half year standard track. Some students get a jumpstart and get done in four years.”
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