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The electronic chip, this vital link in the digital chain…

For several months, the world has been experiencing a shortage of microchips. Surprisingly, the area where this is most felt is not the computer industry, but the automotive sector. The latter is also apparently the first to blame, due to its high demand for chips, as modern vehicle designs use these components everywhere, from the dashboard to engine management, smart braking system and more. اضافة اعلان

The shortage began with the pandemic, which dramatically increased shipping costs globally due to the initial lockdown and cancellation of orders; due to complex commercial and maritime mechanisms, it is still felt today in industry and commerce, even though the impact of the pandemic has considerably lessened. The shortage is affecting sales worldwide, including in Jordan.

Hardly limited to cars and computers, chips are found in most manufactured devices and appliances today, from audio amplifiers to washing machines, televisions, medical equipment, telecommunications and security systems, to name a few. some.

Ghul Electrical and Electronic Equipment, a well-established major supplier of electronics and digital products in Amman, complains of unusual delays in delivering orders from overseas precisely because of the global shortage of chips, as explained by its manager. General, Abdulnasser Goule.

Retail stores that sell laptops in Jordan are expressing the same concern. Ghul mentioned the case of manufacturers, some of whom have been so affected by the shortage that they have gone bankrupt; others reverted to an older analog design.

The use of digital computing involves a large number of elements and components. This ranges from software applications to networks and devices such as computers and smartphones.

As in any system that has a chain structure, let go of one link and the whole chain is broken, and nothing works, no matter how big or how big the missing link is.

One of these links is truly unique, however, for a simple reason: very few players in the industry can manufacture it. It is the microchip, sometimes also called chip or semiconductor.

As in any system that has a chain structure, let go of one link and the whole chain is broken, and nothing works, no matter how big or how big the missing link is.

His role is essential because he is the brain or the heart of the machine, but that is not why he is unique, because, as we have said, he is only a link in the chain. . It is unique because it can only be made in a limited number of countries and produced by a limited number of manufacturers. It is therefore its strategic and economic role on the world market that makes its difference.

Some of the elements that are part of the digital chain do not involve microchips. Software, for example, is by far the most common part of a computer system, but anyone can develop, market and sell it. The same goes for wired networks. Countless countries and factories manufacture network cables. As trivial and obvious as it may seem, even electrical energy is one of the links in the IT chain. Indeed, how would one operate a device without electricity?

Fortunately, electricity is produced all over the world.

Apart from the exceptions above, virtually all digital devices, from the smallest and simplest to the largest and most complex, require chips. It’s pretty much every device of any kind you can buy and use these days.

What makes the issue particularly critical is that microchips are manufactured by a handful of countries: China, Taiwan and South Korea are the main manufacturers, followed by the United States and Japan. It is therefore useless to underline the politico-economic stakes of microchips.

It is important to distinguish between designing chips and manufacturing them. While both activities, naturally, involve sophisticated technology, advanced science and craftsmanship, the former can be performed in a large number of countries and facilities, while the latter is a different story altogether.

Two months ago, Nathan Reiff wrote on “The modern economy is built on semiconductors. All is said. Other analysts consider that “microchips are so crucial that some call them the ‘new oil’ of the 21st century”. (

The main manufacturers are Intel, Qualcomm, TSM, Micron Technology, Broadcom, Foxconn, Nvidia and Texas Instruments.

Two weeks ago, it was announced that Foxconn and Vedanta had agreed to build India’s first major microchip fab with an initial investment of $20 billion, heavily backed by the government. Indian.

Even bigger news, just two days ago, October 4: “Micron announces a historic $100 billion investment to build a megafab in downtown New York. (rs.micron).

Reuters added: “…Micron claims [this] will be the largest semiconductor manufacturing plant in the world.

The market will undoubtedly be helped and the stress of the digital world alleviated when these two factories enter the production phase proper.

Jean-Claude Elias is a computer engineer and classically trained pianist and guitarist. He has regularly written computer articles, reviewed music albums and covered concerts for over 30 years.

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