Semiconductor Math

Danny Quah
Oct 2023

Suppose you were in charge of Planet Earth, and you know semiconductors are the single most critical component in producing what importantly increases the well-being for all humanity. Which of these would you do:

( #sarcasm )

  1. Plunk down 90% of the world's most technologically advanced semiconductor production on a tiny island that is the geographical focus of US-China rivalry. Arrange it so that (i) everyone relevant agrees that that island and one of the Great Powers, the world's second most populous nation, are a single country; (ii) the other Great Power promises to make available sufficient weapons as needed for that island's self-defense capabilities and will come to its aid if that island's social and economic system is jeopardised; (iii) the first Great Power will do whatever it takes to maintain the unity and territorial integrity of their country; and (iv) that island has had 5 earthquakes in the last 7 days, 9 in the last 30, and 114 in the last 365.
  2. Set up the world's critical chipmaking machinery on the San Andreas Fault.
  3. Go to where they have the most earthquakes on the planet and put a fifth of the world's chip manufacturing there.
  4. Is there a secretive rogue nation on Earth, whose policies are incomprehensible to everyone outside it but who has nuclear missiles? There. Put 44% of the planet's memory chipmaking capacity right up against it.
  5. In an abundance of caution, however, safely place in the Netherlands 100% of world's extreme ultraviolet photolithography machines - the O-ring for painting by light today's cutting-edge chips.

Yes, each of the above occurs in reality. Also, yes, all else equal, your calculations will surface exactly none of them in your solution for optimal geographical location.

#semiconductors #sarcasm #OptimalProgram #SocialPlanningProgram

Tech on Earth // World Globe Design - Image by kjpargeter on Freepik

Chris Miller 2023 Chip Wars. The Three Communiques of 1972, 1979, and 1982, The Taiwan Relations Act. Image by kjpargeter on Freepik