A Message From the President

It was Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute that sparked my interest in semiconductors as an undergraduate, and the possibilities in the field at Rensselaer, and the greater Capital Region, are a big part of what drew me back as president.

The passing of the CHIPs and Science Act by the federal government, the advocacy and support of the State of New York, and the concentration of industry leaders including IBM, GlobalFoundries, and now Micron, has created an environment that will address the manufacturing and national security challenges facing the field. At the same time, it also offers us all the opportunity to shape the future.

The next generation of chips may be made with a material other than silicon. They may use photons instead of electrons. They may enable quantum-based, rather than traditional, computing. This next generation of technologies is going to require innovation in materials, manufacturing, and design, and history shows us that when you do advanced research in an ecosystem where cutting-edge methods of production are being deployed, serendipitous innovations come about.

It's a cliché, but it’s true: a rising tide really does lift all boats. Working together, we can make Upstate New York a microelectronics powerhouse, and RPI is devoting significant resources to make that happen.

This academic year, Rensselaer is hiring 50 new faculty. Of these, 10 will work in microelectronics and related fields, many of them as part of the Future Chips Constellation, an interdisciplinary team of endowed chairs who will perform high-impact research in semiconductor technology to address next-generation challenges in computing, including heterogeneous integration, advanced logic, advanced packaging, power electronics, and physics of materials. 

These researchers will collaborate with each other and with our already-strong faculty in everything from electrical engineering to ethics. Just as importantly, they will work with an expanded pool of both graduate and undergraduate students to train the next generation of chip scientists. Add to this a planned enhancement of our already versatile clean room, and we are ready to take a leadership role in the region.

I’m excited for the future, both of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and this area. I believe the work we’re doing now will have an important long-term impact, one that'll last long beyond my tenure as president of RPI.

Martin A. Schmidt '81, Ph.D. 
President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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