White House Pledges $285 Million to Boost Chip Making With Digital Twins

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Key Takeaways

  • The White House plans $285 million in funding for digital twins that help chip manufacturing.
  • The CHIPS Act money could lower chip costs and boost collaboration.
  • The move could help the U.S. compete with China.

The Biden administration has unveiled a $285 million funding plan for the use of digital twins to improve chip manufacturing.

The opportunity will help establish a CHIPS Manufacturing USA Institute that will develop, test, and use digital twins in the semiconductor space. The virtual replicas can lower research and development costs compared to physical models, and help with collaboration when they’re stored in the cloud.

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director Laurie Locascio said no other country had made the investment or cross-industry unification needed make the most of digital twins’ “enormous potential.”

The funding comes from 2022’s CHIPS and Science Act, which earmarked $52.7 billion to bolster U.S. chip manufacturing. The administration has so far committed much of that money toward incentives for building facilities, such as Samsung’s $6.4 billion deal. Intel and Apple partner TSMC have also received funding.

All the commitments are meant to reduce American dependence on other countries for chip production, particularly China. The U.S. has dropped to producing less than 10% of global semiconductors. That has both hurt competitiveness and left the chip industry vulnerable to political tensions that could disrupt the economy.

Digital twins aren’t new. Companies like Porsche are already using them to simulate cars and other systems in high detail. The CHIPS funding could spur adoption, however, and make the twins relatively commonplace.

The White House has pledged support for other technology as well, including electric cars and renewable energy. Whether or not these investments will continue, including digital twins, isn’t clear. A leadership change in the 2024 presidential election could prompt changes to domestic production policy.