January 12, 2012

Schumer Seeks To Land New Chip Programs

By: Larry Rulison, Business Writer

Source: Times Union

ALBANY — U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer is putting pressure on the Department of Defense to fund two Navy computer chip programs that could lead to additional chip factories for upstate New York.

Schumer recently wrote to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asking him to push funding for two new types of chips being developed by a California company called APIC Corp. that has research and development operations at the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

APIC, which currently does manufacturing in Honolulu, is developing a unique kind of chip that uses photons, or light, instead of just electrons typically used to power chips through metal wiring.

Such chips are expected to increase computing speeds by 60 percent while reducing power usage by 90 percent.

Schumer wants to locate one of the chip programs at Electronics Park in Syracuse at a facility operated by the NanoCollege. He says another program that needs a few more years of development could do manufacturing at another upstate location — the Capital Region is a possibility — with sensor integration and chip packaging being done at another NanoCollege facility in Canandaigua.

APIC officials could not immediately be reached for comment, but in a statement, Schumer said the company expects that the Syracuse facility could employ as many as 200 people.

"Using photons and fiber optics for information transfer and processing brings profound size, weight, power, performance, and cost advantages over electronics and copper," Schumer said in his letter to Panetta. "It truly is the next generation and our peers will not be far behind us."

The NanoCollege, which until the last couple of years has relied heavily on state funding for its operations, has increasingly sought out federal sources of funding, including money from the Defense Department and the Department of Energy. The school has lobbied heavily to become a federally designated lab for the Defense Department in nanotechnology that could potentially bring hundreds of millions of research dollars and spawn thousands of new jobs.

"New York is primed and ready to host the next level of chip fab work, and these projects would bring nanotechnology jobs to each corner of our state," Schumer said. "APIC is ready to grow jobs across the state; we just need the Defense Department to step up and call on New York."

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