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By Karthik Mudaliar
TSMC agrees to not leak sensitive client information upon US transparency requests
by Karthik Mudaliar
Taiwan's TSMC, which is the world's largest contract chipmaker and a major Apple Inc supplier, has put out an official statement saying that it will not leak sensitive data. The statement was put out in accordance with a US request for greater transparency in the supply chain. Although the company's statement shows its willingness to protect its clients and customers, there's no mention to what degree they would agree to such a compliance request.
TSMC lawyer Sylvia Fang, in a statement to Reuters, said:
Last month, the White House had made a request to automakers, chip manufacturing companies, and others to provide information on the ongoing semiconductor crisis that has forced a surge in price for existing chips, while cutting US auto production. The request was made to Detroit's Big Three automakers, Apple, Daimler, BMW, GlobalFoundaries, Micron, Microsoft, Samsung, TSMC, Intel, and Ampere Computing.
Recently, information about the iPhone 14 was leaked even before the iPhone 13 was released. Leaks like these have made Tim Cook put out an internal memo saying "people who leak confidential information do not belong [at Apple]", which was ironically leaked itself. Moreover, chipmakers like TSMC know well in advance what Apple and other companies are planning, which allows the scope of potential harm in the form of leaks to the respective companies.
Both the TSMC and the Taiwan Government have repeatedly said that they are doing everything they can to resolve the chip shortage. In addition to that, TSMC has also pledged to spend $100 billion over the next three years to expand chip capacity amid the global shortage.
Regardless of that, Taiwan's government has also said that although they respect US commercial law and rules, they will back up the Taiwanese companies if they receive any "unreasonable requests."
Google's Grace Hopper subsea Atlantic cable lands in the UK
by Paul Hill
Google has announced that its Grace Hopper subsea cable has landed in the UK from the U.S., just days after connecting Spain to the U.S. too. According to the search giant, the new cable will improve the resilience of the Google network that provides its consumer and enterprise products.
The company said that Grace Hopper is the first Google-funded cable to connect to the UK. It said that it recognises the importance of technology in the country, noting its contribution to the economy has been growing around 7% year on year since 2016. By strengthening its network, the tech sector in the country, which has grown 40% in the last two years, will benefit. Not only that, but 10% of all job vacancies in the UK are in tech roles.
Commenting on Grace Hopper, Jayne Stowell, Strategic Negotiator, Global Infrastructure, Google Cloud, said:
One of the interesting things about Grace Hopper is its use of switching architecture that provides network flexibility and resilience to protect against failures and unexpected traffic patterns. Once the cable is switched on, you should expect a more reliable Google services experience.
Microsoft helps to bring TEALS computer science curriculum to more North American schools
by Paul Hill
Microsoft has announced that it has partnered with FECHAC, FUNAX, as well as community and government leaders to expand the Technology Education and Literacy Schools (TEALS) program to four high schools in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and 252 high schools in the United States.
One of the major bits of information about the expansion of the TEALS curriculum is that it’s the first time that it has been translated into Spanish. This was accomplished through partnerships with curriculum providers including Carnegie Mellon University.
Commenting on the expansion of TEALS, Omar Saucedo, Microsoft TechSpark regional manager based in Ciudad Juarez, said:
With the translation of the curriculum into Spanish, Microsoft and its partners will be able to plan for a wider rollout in Mexico as well as the rest of the Americas if they choose to do that. Curricula like TEALS are growing in importance as 59% of all new STEM jobs are in computing, however, just 10% of STEM graduates hold a computer science certificate; with TEALS, this gap can be closed.
Samsung offered tax breaks from a Texas city to build new chip plant
by Paul Hill
The Texan city of Taylor has said it will give Samsung extensive property tax breaks if it chooses its city to build a new $17 billion chip plant there instead of Austin, Texas which it’s competing with, according to a Reuters report. Should Taylor, Texas become the site of the new plant, around 1,800 new jobs will be created which should be good for people in the surrounding area.
According to Reuters, not only will Austin, Texas be competing for the factory but Samsung has apparently been looking to set up at sites in Arizona and New York. As things stand, Taylor city is the only location that has said it will offer tax breaks to the Korean firm but other locations could do so in time.
As part of the plans, Taylor would offer a 92.5% tax waiver on the new property for 10 years and it would repay Samsung the development review costs. The proposal is set to be considered by the Taylor City Council and Williamson County Commissioners on Wednesday so Samsung should be keeping a close eye on the matter.
If Samsung does decide to build in Taylor city, it will break ground by the first quarter of next year with the factory ready to begin producing chips by the end of 2024.
NASA is conducting pioneering research into flying taxis
by Paul Hill
NASA has announced that it has begun trials with Joby Aviation’s all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The flight testing is being done under the space agency’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign and will run until September 10 at Joby’s Electric Flight Base near Big Sur, California. The work being done by NASA now could unlock flying taxis as a means of transport in the not-too-distant future.
With these flight tests, NASA is collecting data about the vehicle’s performance and acoustics. This data will be used for modelling and simulation of how this technology could be used on a wide scale in the future and will help to highlight any gaps in the Federal Aviation Administration’s regulations. Plugging these regulatory gaps will ensure flying taxis can take to the skies in the years to come.
Commenting on the news, Davis Hackenberg, NASA AAM mission integration manager, said:
As an end result, NASA wants to see AAM providing an efficient and affordable system for passenger and cargo transportation that’s fully compatible with FAA regulations. It would enable applications such as flying taxis, package delivery drones, and medical transport vehicles. NASA said that the testing campaign will run for several years at different locations before aircraft are ready for prime time.