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Biden Administration Commits $285M to Digital Twins

Joe Biden’s administration is making moves to bolster semiconductor manufacturing by embracing digital twin technology
May 6, 2024

In simple terms, digital twins are virtual replicas of physical systems or processes. Think of them as advanced simulations that allow testing and optimization without interfering with real-world operations. For instance, automakers utilize digital twins of their factories to experiment with new manufacturing processes without disrupting ongoing production.

The administration has announced its intention to allocate a substantial sum of $285 million to support various initiatives aimed at enhancing semiconductor manufacturing. These include research into semiconductor digital twin development, the establishment and maintenance of combined physical/digital facilities, industry demonstration projects, workforce training, and the operation of the newly proposed CHIPS Manufacturing USA Institute.

During a recent press briefing, Laurie E. Locascio, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, highlighted the potential benefits of digital twins. According to Locascio, these virtual models could significantly reduce chip development and manufacturing costs while fostering more collaborative processes around chip design and development.

Locascio also emphasized the global significance of this initiative, stating, “Currently, no country has invested at the scale needed or successfully unified the industry to unlock the enormous potential of digital twin technology for breakthrough discoveries.”

This funding initiative is part of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, a substantial $280 billion bill that includes $52.7 billion allocated to increase domestic semiconductor manufacturing. President Biden had noted earlier that the United States had seen a drastic reduction in its global semiconductor production share, dropping from 40 percent to less than 10 percent.

Arati Prabhakar, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, echoed the administration’s concerns about semiconductor manufacturing being excessively concentrated in a single part of the world, presumably referring to China.

To provide more information about the application process, an informational webinar is scheduled for May 8. Eligible organizations include nonprofits, universities, governments, and for-profit companies that are considered “domestic entities” (incorporated in the United States, with their principal place of business in the U.S.). 

With these initiatives, the Biden administration is not only focusing on revitalizing semiconductor manufacturing within the United States but is also embracing innovative technologies like digital twins to ensure the country’s competitiveness in the global semiconductor market.

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