News & Events
EE Times is turning 50 in 2022. We published our first issue only a few months after Intel ushered in the modern computing era with the introduction of the first microprocessor in November of 1971. This newspaper provided front-line reporting from the original microprocessor wars. We subsequently pioneered reporting of embedded computing, and of artificial intelligence, and more – covering one transformative trend after another.
Along the way we’ve reported on every type of semiconductor, from passive components to mixed-signal ICs to optoelectronics, and we’ve helped our readers keep on top of all the tools of the trade, including electronic design systems, test & measurement equipment, production gear, and more.
Working with our readers, EE Times helped write the first draft of semiconductor history. I’m prone to reminisce, but this article — and our activities this year — will focus foremost on the future.
The Next 50 Years
The next major phase in semiconductor industry history has already begun, and we’re already on the job covering it. The electronics industry as a whole (with you, our readers, contributing) is addressing the biggest natural challenge humanity has ever faced: climate change.
Global society is gradually growing more fervent in its embrace of environmentalism, sometimes from a philosophical standpoint but increasingly out of necessity. People around the world increasingly want to shift from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy, to reduce energy consumption in general, to waste less, and reuse and recycle more — because we all need to.
And so very much of all that of that relies on electrical and electronic engineering. Global society will continue to get progressively more dependent on electronics, and by extension, on the electronics industry and on engineering. Maximizing the efficiency of electrical and electronic systems is an intrinsic value in engineering — engineering starts with a “green” tinge by default. Perpetual innovation means that the greatest efficiency possible is a moving target; it’s always been up to engineers to make sure that power consumption is minimal, whether the end product is a smartphone, a refrigerator or a data center, and it will continue to be.
Every alternative to fossil fuels is dependent in one way or another on electrical and electronic engineering. Dirty power plants are already giving way to solar and wind energy. Harvesting wave energy is becoming increasingly practical, and investors are sinking billions of dollars into fusion energy research, convinced that a viable commercial fusion generator is a real possibility. The accelerating transition from the internal combustion engine to electric vehicles will rank among the most profound and rapid technological transitions the world has yet seen.
Meanwhile, the Internet of things still only at its earliest stages. The promise is to make everything more efficient, from raising cattle to managing road traffic to building semiconductors. The method is to distribute more sensors and, with them, more intelligence. Doing that while keeping power consumption to an absolute minimum is a challenge, but one that the electronics industry is already rising to meet.
The world wants to go green. Engineers are the ones who will make it so.
EE Times has a renewed mission because you, our readers, have a renewed mission. You’ve already started, and we’ve begun chronicling those efforts. A list of only some of the pertinent stories is below. Some are about overtly green programs, such as electric vehicles and fusion reactor research. For others, the green element is subtext; when we write about the adoption of gallium nitride and silicon carbide in power ICs the point of using these technologies is improved power performance.
Coverage of all of this and more will be continuing.
We are also planning the industry’s first green engineering conference (it’ll be a virtual conference) in the third quarter of this year. If you’d like to be involved, or have any questions, drop me a line.
The Last 50 Years
The beginning of the semiconductor industry goes back much farther than 50 years, but it is a remarkable coincidence that both the microprocessor and EE Times are celebrating 50th anniversaries. It was the microprocessor, after all, that democratized computer intelligence, sparking the transition from what my editor at my first newspaper (Electronic News) used to call “big iron” to workstations and desktops.
Throughout this year, we’re going to take some time to look back at the achievements of the industry, and at some of the people who made those achievements possible. We’ve already started; below I’ve included links to a short series of remembrances of the early days of the industry written by Malcolm Penn, founder of Future Horizons, who boasts of more than 55 years of experience in electronics. Keep an eye out for articles, podcasts, and other features that celebrate the industry, and celebrate the engineers who built it and helped make it the extraordinary success it has been.
Magazines like Electronics (now gone) and EDN (established in 1961, and now a sister publication) were there at the beginnings of the industry. Electronic News was the newspaper of record through the early ‘80s, before being eclipsed by EE Times. The common perception was that EN lost its momentum when it missed the transition from big iron to personal computers (by the way, EN was ultimately folded into EDN).
My first stint at EE Times was from the mid-‘80s to the mid-‘90s. I had the privilege to work with and be mentored by some of the reporters and editors who were there at the beginning. I’m proud to be back, and pleased to be working with one of the finest editorial teams in the business, across a set of publications that include the EE Times franchise (EE Times, EE Times Europe, EETimes Taiwan, EE Times China, et. al.), along with EDN, Electronic Products, Embedded.com, EPS News, EE Web, Power Electronics News, and Planet Analog (links to all are at the bottom of this page).
Here’s to the next 50.