TechConnect Magazine | Fall 2021 | Semiconductor Issue

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Sandra Watson Steven G. Zylstra

06 Coming to America


Don Rodriguez

The Arizona Commerce Authority shares how Arizona leads in bringing semiconductor manufacturing back



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Entire contents copyright 2020, Arizona Technology Council. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Products named in these page pages are trade names or trademarks of their respective companies. Publication of TechConnect is supported by the Arizona Commerce Authority.

04 Semiconductor Success Council CEO Steven G. Zylstra discusses how Arizona is ready to take the lead in the nation

05 Like a Good Neighbor

TGen + TSMC work to decyphering covid’s genomic sequence

08 (Re-)innovation

Avnet sheds valuable insight on supply chain challenges and opportunities

View more of TechConnect:

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A Win-Win Situation


Partnership Pays Off


Award-Winning Ways

Energetic Idea

IceMOS addresses the needs of the high-voltage market

From Lab to Fab

ASU’s new graduate program supports semiconductor industry expansion

NAU professor receives award for research and training in parallel computing Applied Energetics innovates through lasting connections with UArizona Council announces winners and finalists of 2021 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation

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...................... A welcome relief for us all

Huānyíng. What? You don’t understand Mandarin? I just greeted you with the word for “welcome.” With the development of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd.’s new facility in north Phoenix, I join others throughout Arizona who offer greetings to a significant addition to the state’s growing technology community. While it’s not expected that we need to learn a new language with the arrival of semiconductor operations for TSMC, as it is more commonly known, nearly all of us will learn what the potential is for Arizona to become the major player when it comes to the U.S. semiconductor industry. Yes, we are that close! Consider that we already are No. 3 in the nation with 107 semiconductor establishments operating here, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). While some may have thought Intel was the only one—which wouldn’t be too bad considering its own expansion project in Chandler—there have been plenty more playing a role, as you will learn when you read this issue of TechConnect. Also worth noting is semiconductors are Arizona’s No. 2 export, with a value of $3.5 billion. While this issue of our magazine focuses on our state, you may wonder how our nation is doing overall. Consider other data from the SIA: • The semiconductor industry directly employs more than a quarter-million workers in the United States and supports nearly 1.6 million additional jobs, with major manufacturing operations in Arizona and 17 other states. • Semiconductors are the nation’s fifth-largest export, accounting for $49 billion in 2020.

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• The U.S. semiconductor industry annually invests approximately one-fifth of revenue into research and development, amounting to approximately $40 billion in 2020. This is second highest of any major U.S. industry, behind only pharmaceuticals. • The semiconductor industry ranks as the No. 11 contributor to labor productivity growth. In fact, the semiconductor technology has made virtually all sectors of the U.S. economy—from farming to manufacturing—more effective and efficient. • More than 300 of 546 different industries in our economy made $86.1 billion in purchases from the semiconductor industry in 2020. This was identified by tracing purchases of semiconductors as inputs into the production of other products, such as aircraft, appliances and automobiles. If you hadn’t understood the overall significance of the industry previously, you may have come close by playing part in that last factoid. Who would have thought a manufacturer waiting for a chip would have you waiting for that new car? But these waits should be a thing of the past as production ramps up and the supply chain strengthens. I for one would call that a welcome relief for Arizona and the rest of the nation. n

As the United States looks to increase chip production and fulfill its semiconductor needs on its own, Arizona is fast-emerging as a base for the industry’s growth and success.


..................... TSMC + TGen accelerate infectious disease monitoring of COVID-19 BY STEVE YOZWIAK The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope, has received a grant from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC), one of the largest manufacturers of computer chips, to sustain the fight against COVID-19. The TSMC grant will boost TGen efforts to track variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the COVID-19 infection. TGen’s program is designed to gain intelligence about the pandemic, as well as prepare for a next potential regional or global disease outbreak. The funds will advance TGen’s genomic sequencing of the virus, which enables the identification of specific variants. TGen is under contract with the Arizona Department of Health Services and the CDC to sequence positive samples of the virus, monitoring for the emergence of mutations and variants that could make the virus either more transmissible or evade current vaccine formulations. Currently, approved vaccines are effective against all COVID-19 variants. So far, TGen’s COVID-19 Sequencing Dashboard includes over 30,000 sequenced genomes of Arizona COVID-19 samples—one of the nation’s most robust such efforts. The dashboard lists all the mutations and variants of concern that have circulated in Arizona. “Arizona is the home state for one of our most advanced semiconductor fabs—as well as home for many TSMC employees. Our company highly values both service and philanthropy. We want to be a meaningful contributor to the Arizona community,” says Rick Cassidy, CEO of TSMC Arizona. “This grant honors not only the important science happening at TGen but it’s also a way to support their efforts to fight the virus and share meaningful research to a global community.”

The amount of the grant was not disclosed by TSMC, which is building in north Phoenix what will be the nation’s most advanced chip manufacturing plant. The company has already hired hundreds of new employees for the site who have begun their early training. The plant is expected to begin chip production in 2024. David Engelthaler, director of TGen’s infectious-disease research, says the TSMC grant represents much-needed support that will enable TGen to improve biomedical technology and specifically TGen’s surveillance of the COVID-19 virus at a critical time in its evolution. The grant will push TGen toward its goal of providing a genomic sequence—spelling out the 30,000-letter RNA genetic code of the virus—for every new COVID-19 infection sample in Arizona. By providing a detailed molecular fingerprint, TGen can track the variants in each case, identify the infections responsible for multi-person outbreaks, and identify mutations associated with vaccine breakthrough events. New mutations and strains identified in Arizona can also be compared with new strains appearing around the globe. “Our long-term goal is to ‘democratize’ sequencing, to decrease the costs and time, and make the data accessible and actionable—in essence, to make our society more pandemic-ready by providing rapid ‘pathogen intelligence’ to clinicians and public health officials,” Engelthaler says. “TSMC’s support will help us build a 21st century genomic infectious disease surveillance system in Arizona and beyond.” n Steve Yozwiak is the senior science writer for TGen.


David Engelthaler, director of TGen’s infectious-disease research

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..................... How Arizona leads in bringing semiconductor manufacturing back One number tells the story of Arizona’s international semiconductor leadership: $32,000,000,000. That’s the combined total of projected investments from two of the world’s leading semiconductor producers—announced just 10 months apart. Intel is investing $20 billion to add two plants to its Ocotillo Campus in Chandler, where it already operates four factories, or “fabs.” Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is investing $12 billion to build a fab in Phoenix. “These investments send a signal around the world that our state is the place to be for advanced manufacturing and emerging technologies,” says Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Arizona has gained recognition as a top 4 state in the nation for semiconductors, which is why Forbes recently dubbed the state ‘U.S. Semiconductor Central.’” It’s a label that carries a lot of weight. Amidst a global backdrop of unprecedented demand for microchip technology, Arizona has emerged as the No. 1 place for new semiconductor investments. This is good for more than state pride. Microchip

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factories pay excellent wages, and they don’t stand alone. The economy expands as suppliers and other chip manufacturers follow. Arizona’s history with semiconductors goes back to the 1950s when Motorola began developing and testing some of the earliest transistors on the market. Intel later opened its first Arizona fab in 1980, rising to become one of the state’s largest private-sector employers and a critical workforce education partner. Since then, additional industry leaders to establish operations in the state include TSMC, Microchip, onsemi (formerly ON Semiconductor,) NXP, Qualcomm, Benchmark Electronics, Texas Instruments and more. Advanced manufacturers such as those that make semiconductors are drawn to the state’s highly skilled workforce, dynamic technology ecosystem and premier investment environment. “Arizona has proven to be an excellent location for Benchmark to grow and thrive,” CEO Jeff Benck said after the company moved its headquarters to Tempe and built a new advanced manufacturing facility there. Semiconductor manufacturing employs over 22,000 people in Arizona—No. 4 in the country—with a wage impact of more than $8 billion. Intel’s two additional fabs will add another 3,000 skilled positions; TSMC’s new fab in Phoenix will create 1,600 jobs.

“These investments send a signal around the world that our state is the place to be for advanced manufacturing and emerging technologies,” says Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “Arizona has gained recognition as a top 4 state in the nation for semiconductors, which is why Forbes recently dubbed the state ‘U.S. Semiconductor Central.’”

“For semiconductor manufacturing, you need a big ecosystem to get the best cost position,” McKinsey senior partner Bill Wiseman told Nikkei Asia in a story about TSMC’s decision to expand operations to Arizona. “You need to have not just one company or one fab. You need a big cluster—10 or 15 of these things—to be able to get that world-class performance and to be able to build a big enough ecosystem around you,” Wiseman said.

curriculum and facilitating hands-on opportunities through company partnerships to create a robust talent pipeline.

A recent Bloomberg piece underscored the analysis that the state is creating whole ecosystems around its chipmaking industry. “Arizona’s focus on semiconductors and electric vehicles has given the state an edge in those sectors and allowed it to create networks of suppliers, distributors and transportation hubs to support them,” wrote Bloomberg’s Timothy L. O’Brien, citing industry experts and site selectors.

In The Arizona Republic, ASU President Michael Crow said the state’s universities and community colleges have dedicated themselves “to provide the creativity, the faculty and research, the student workforce and a pipeline of graduates, the spinoffs and the new entrepreneurs that will help Arizona stay at the forefront of this competition.”

Those supplier and distributor networks and transportation hubs are supported by a strong, high-tech workforce; top 10 business climate; ample, affordable energy; modern transportation and infrastructure; lack of natural disasters; thriving innovation ecosystem; and an excellent quality of life. On top of that, the state’s responsive and agile education system is adapting to the innovative needs of a rapidly evolving world. Arizona’s state universities and community colleges, in coordination with private sector leaders, are developing industry-specific

Arizona State University this fall will add the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks to what is already the country’s largest engineering school. It’s one more way higher education ensures a steady stream of talent for the state’s advanced manufacturing industry, including semiconductors.

Additional focus on the industry from Congress opens additional opportunities for Arizona. In June, the U.S. Senate passed the United States Innovation and Competition Act with bipartisan support. The measure, which aims to increase American scientific competitiveness with China, includes $52 billion to boost domestic semiconductor production. All of these elements have combined to make Arizona “U.S. Semiconductor Central.” Incredible opportunities lie ahead as Arizona leads the way in growing America’s semiconductor manufacturing industry. n

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..................... Ripple effects of chip shortage create long-term waves in the industry BY PEGGY CARRIERES It would be easy to point to the COVID-19 pandemic as a catalyst for the dynamic change happening in the semiconductor industry—one largely driven by the constraints of ongoing shortages. However, easy as that assessment might be, it is also a significant oversimplification. While the pandemic undeniably had a role to play in the current state of the industry, that particular disruption didn’t create issues. It amplified those which were already existing. Long before news about the current chip shortages hit the headlines, several major industry changes had been brewing that always promised to have long-term implications, especially for supply chain professionals. One of the biggest impacts has been extraordinary demand for semiconductors in consumer products— often without shoppers realizing how what they put in their carts fits into this paradigm. Take the automotive market for example. We’ve seen 5G and electric vehicle infrastructure developments steadily drive chip demand up for years. Then, when automakers tried to catch up on orders after a wave of cancellations at the outset of the pandemic, it created a ripple effect across the entire product lifecycle.

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Growing demand does mean growing investment, and that is great to see. We have been particularly aware of it here in Arizona as major semiconductor manufacturers have doubled down on their investments in the region. But those investments will take time to bear fruit. All the while, this steadily rising demand does put an inherent strain on the supply chain—especially in an industry as complex and cyclical as semiconductors. As electronification of everything from stationary bikes to the cars we drive continues, we have to accept that some of the issues magnified by the pandemic aren’t temporary. They’re here for the long-term. However, that’s not necessarily bad news.


Constrained supply means the recent increases in price for some electronic components are no surprise. But even when parts become more readily available, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a return to pre-pandemic prices because, quite simply, it’s costing more to produce parts. Labor costs are rising as is the price of raw materials. And semiconductor companies are not expanding their production to the degree seen in previous cycles due to concerns about capex and the speed of technological change.

With growing pressure to keep costs in check, design engineers need to optimize the footprint and number of components in their designs on both the board and systems level. There will be a natural response from components manufacturers to step up their innovation efforts.

What we’ll eventually see is ongoing advancements in the integration of semiconductor devices. And the development of systems-in-a-package will continue alongside, driven by the same imperative to pack more capabilities into smaller footprints and the desire for “smarter” everything. Basically, everything is a computer these days, meaning impressive levels of integration are popping up in nearly every type of device. For example, smart sensor developers are taking the next step and combining sensors and processing capabilities into a single device. Then they’re incorporating next-gen tech like AI processing into a single sensor package, including all the capabilities needed to truly process AI—from signal processing to memory to the image circuit.

By weaving these capabilities into a standalone package, they offer a level of integration that is a true competitive advantage, not just a way to reduce costs or add fancy features to hike up the price.

SUPPLY CHAINS: DRIVING THE “New Normal” With this ongoing change comes questions: How fast will these changes evolve? How will they impact the way companies source their components? Will there be fewer components moving through the supply chain? You’ll hear different answers across the board, but one certainty is that innovation will drive more change, which will have a ripple effect across the entire product lifecycle. The importance of the design chain leading the supply chain has never been more crucial, as amplified by the parts shortage. In many applications, there simply isn’t a one-to-one swap for a perfect replacement part. Avnet has been partnering with engineers who may be forced to redesign their boards to accommodate parts with better availability. Sometimes, this means they need to undergo an entire recertification process to ensure the final product performs to specifications.

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Companies are seeing that if you’re not leveraging multiple sources for your components, it could come back to haunt you, especially given the rising time-to-market pressures. They are also rethinking the “norm” about inventory. For example, companies are realizing there are serious drawbacks to relying solely on a just-in-time inventory strategy. There has been a shift in perception of inventory as a liability to inventory as an asset, especially as companies realize not having a $2 part stocked could mean they can’t ship their $70,000 product. As a distributor, that’s where customers have come to rely on Avnet. A distributor’s role is to hold inventory for customers—in essence, to serve as a buffer for the industry. It also offers a unique perspective into the supply chain overall, which has also proven critical as companies sharpen their needs for a supply chain strategy that has the resiliency to quickly respond to the unexpected.

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Across the industry, companies of all sizes are looking to reengineer their supply chains, taking advantage of insights obtained from data and market intelligence to get greater visibility across the entire product lifecycle. To put it simply: Constraint drives innovation. Sometimes it’s a matter of getting creative about manufacturing location in order to shorten lead times, which is certainly happening in Arizona as leading companies bring their manufacturing to the state. Other times, it requires significant advancements in a company’s overall supply chain to be better prepared in the face of (inevitable) future disruptions. Most importantly, it puts focus on technological development because in the end, development still has to happen. And while it may be some time until we no longer feel the tight grip of the current environment, there is promise for a more intelligent, innovative future. n Peggy Carrieres is vice president of Global Sales Enablement and Supplier Development at Avnet.


..................... Power semiconductors are critical to data center efficiency

Phoenix has become one of the most dynamic data center growth markets in the country. Users have long sought space in the Valley of the Sun as an alternative to California locations with higher cost and disaster risk.

BY RAYMOND WILEY According to research from datacenterHawk, Phoenix is home to 1.97 million square feet of commissioned data center space, representing 295 megawatts of power at the end of 2020. That makes it the fifth-largest market for data center capacity in the nation. Don’t expect the ranking to stop at No. 5. In June, Microsoft opened a data center in El Mirage, with plans for at least two more facilities. In August, Facebook announced it intends to build a 960,000 square-foot data center in Arizona—the company’s first here. With this rise in data center capacity comes the rise in energy usage, making energy efficiency critical to data center operators for both controlling costs and being responsible environmental citizens. After the initial investment to build a data center, powering it is the largest operating expense. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that can range between 40% and 80% of total annual expenditures. Classic power transistor devices capable of controlling the flow of large amounts of electric current without a significant drop in electric potential along the current path are essential in power electronics. Today’s high-power switching devices are dominated by solid state transistor technologies, which include the metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET). For cloud computing systems, these devices are employed in almost every stage of power distribution, from AC-DC conversion through DC-DC down conversion to the point of load.

Addressing energy efficiency issues is Paradise Valley-based IceMOS Technology Corporation, which is developing a new class of semiconductor power MOSFETs. The current IceMOS portfolio of devices meets the needs of today’s data center requirement. However, as the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles and data centers continue to increase, the path to greater energy efficiency by improving high-voltage distributed power systems for voltage and current distribution. IceMOS made the decision to investigate a new manufacturing process that merges available silicon semiconductor fabrication technologies with other material types. The company’s engineers concluded that wide bandgap materials such as silicon-carbide and diamond offered the greatest potential when combined with silicon power semiconductor technologies for both improved device performance and improved thermal performance to address the needs of the high-voltage market, which includes data centers. The company is positioned for making improvements. It was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research project by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for its Moon to Mars campaign in March 2021. The innovation of semiconductor companies such as IceMOS will keep the Phoenix market competitive at a global scale and on the list of primary markets with the greatest number of data centers. The improvements that can be made using this merger of technologies is beneficial to the high-voltage power management in data center power supplies but also critical to charging stations for electric vehicles and many more applications. n Raymond Wiley is general manager, Power MOSFET Business, at IceMOS Technology.

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from lab to fab

..................... BY GARY WERNER

ASU’s new graduate program supports A global shortage of computer chips is disrupting the production of goods ranging from appliances to automobiles. Fully catching up with demand may take a year or more, but the semiconductor industry is already responding by expanding its manufacturing capacity. As part of this effort, the Phoenix metropolitan area is an emerging locus for new fabrication plants, or “fabs.” Intel recently announced the construction of two additional fabs at its campus in the city of Chandler, adding 3,000 new jobs when they open in 2024. Simultaneously, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has started construction on a north Phoenix fab that will create up to 1,900 new jobs when it opens the same year as Intel’s new facilities. In the meantime, Samsung Electronics is still deciding whether to open a fab employing 1,800 people at one of two potential sites around Phoenix. These industry giants are attracted to Arizona for several reasons, but key to their plans is the pipeline of technical talent emerging from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. Even so, the semiconductor industry is developing rapidly, and equipping new engineers to succeed in such a dynamic environment is a challenge for any educational institution. Meeting that challenge is the purpose of a new Certificate in Semiconductor Processing program at the Fulton Schools. Launched during the fall 2020 academic term, the 15-credit, graduate-level course framework provides professional training in multiple aspects of chip production. “We’re not saying our certificate students will become experts in photolithography or chemical vapor deposition,” says Terry Alford, a professor of materials science and engineering, as well as associate director of the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, one of the six Fulton Schools. “But they will understand the terminology and fundamentals of

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the semiconductor manufacturing process to a level that enables them to immediately engage with colleagues at a fab and get work done well.” Alford initiated the certificate program two years ago, and created the framework in collaboration with Michael Kozicki and Trevor Thornton, both professors of electrical engineering in the Fulton Schools. All three colleagues have commercial experience in the semiconductor industry, and those connections played a crucial role in program development. “More than two dozen of my Ph.D. students and 60 or 70 of my master’s students work in the semiconductor industry,” says Alford, noting that Kozicki and Thornton possess similar professional networks. “These people include hiring managers at Intel, for example, and we drew directly on what they told us they need when we designed the content of this certificate.” Beyond the core courses, all certificate program students choose two electives from among 11 options. Doing so makes the most of their current knowledge and supports the development of areas in which they want or need additional depth. “People can customize this certificate experience according to their goals,” Alford says. “If someone has an electrical engineering background, they already know solid-state devices. So, perhaps they’ll want to take an industrial engineering elective in statistical

At the heart of the program are three core courses: Advanced Silicon Processing, an electrical engineering course; Design Engineering Experiments, an industrial engineering course; and Advanced Materials Characterization, a materials science and engineering course. This combination provides the foundation upon which students build their practical understanding of semiconductor fabrication work.

semiconductor industry expansion analysis to learn more about yield enhancement. Alternatively, they can take an elective to better understand cleanroom operations.” The new certificate is open to current Fulton Schools graduate students, as well as to undergraduates participating in the accelerated 4+1 bachelor’s and master’s degree program. But Alford says this platform also serves as an invitation to current tech industry professionals who may be considering a return to university. He adds that the same is true of students who have completed an undergraduate degree in chemistry or physics and want to enhance their marketability in their field.

The program’s adaptability extends to its delivery format. Access to equipment, cleanrooms and other physical aspects of the semiconductor fabrication process might seem mandatory, but extensive curricular innovation during the pandemic now means that any of the courses can be completed on campus or online.

“If someone applies to this new certificate program, they can also apply, for example, to the online materials science and engineering master’s degree program. And they can do both for just one application fee,” Alford says. “Then, when they complete their certificate, they can step away, if they choose. They are not committed to do anything else. But we fully expect the certificate coursework will encourage people to continue their education and apply those same credits to completing their graduate engineering degree.” Alford also points out that the value of this certificate program is not restricted to chip manufacturing. He says the program also supports the needs of equipment manufacturing—from aircraft to air conditioners—in which semiconductors are central to production. “These businesses need good process engineers at their sites,” he says. “These are the people who communicate with the fabs to ensure successful technology transfer, and a lot of expensive decisions are based on this kind of expertise. So, the application of the new certificate is quite far-reaching.” n Gary Werner is a science writer for the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

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..................... Award supports research, undergrad training in parallel computing BY KERRY BENNETT An assistant professor at Northern Arizona University’s School of Informatics, Computing and Cyber Systems has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to support his research in the emerging field of parallel computing architectures needed to process large volumes of data generated by major astronomical surveys, including the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). The $411,964 grant awarded to Mike Gowanlock also will support development of a new undergraduate course that teaches parallel computing, ensuring that graduates of NAU’s computer science undergraduate program have the skills needed to exploit future generation computer systems. The NSF awarded Gowanlock through its prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program “in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.” Designed to lay the groundwork for the launch of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory on the Cerro Pachón ridge in north-central Chile, the 10-year LSST project will

begin in 2024. The groundbreaking survey will transform many areas of astrophysics by delivering huge sets of images that will enable scientists to address some of the most pressing questions about the evolution of the universe and the objects in it. “Modern scientific instruments are generating huge volumes of data, and these volumes remain a critical challenge for astronomers,” says Gowanlock, a computer scientist and astroinformaticist. “The LSST will enable us to understand how astronomical objects may change over time. “Because many interesting astronomical events are transient in nature, it is critical that data from the LSST are processed quickly to enable follow-up observations of transient phenomena using other telescope facilities. New scalable parallel algorithms are needed to enable astronomers to both make sense of large data volumes, and carry out time-sensitive research objectives. Consequently, one goal of the project is to create new parallel algorithms that exploit emerging computer architectures to enable scientific discoveries in the era of time-domain astronomy,” he says. The LSST will generate 20 terabytes of data each night. Preprocessed data will be sent downstream to NAU to be analyzed by the Solar System Notification and Alert Processing System (SNAPS), a collaboration between Gowanlock and professor David Trilling in the Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science. The SNAPS system will monitor the solar system to determine whether any interesting astrophysical phenomena are occurring, such as an asteroid that is outgassing or changing color. SNAPS will act as an international clearinghouse for solar system research, where astronomers from around the world will listen to the SNAPS data stream, find potential objects of interest and follow up on those objects using other telescope facilities. Parallel and high-performance computing are fields that examine splitting up large amounts of work to be processed by multiple computer processors at the same time. Recently, special purpose processors such as graphics processing units (GPUs) have been used to solve general purpose problems because they have thousands of processors on a single card and are more power efficient than standard central processing units (CPUs). The project aims to find new ways to exploit the strengths of differing computer architectures as applied to computer science problems that are integral

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to SNAPS, including problems in databases, unsupervised machine learning and outlier detection. The NSF funding will support Gowanlock’s research at the intersection of computer science and astronomy to enable several LSST science goals, and will yield standalone parallel algorithms that can be used by domain scientists in other fields. The project will combine research and teaching, integrating activities to ensure both computer scientists and astronomers receive the necessary training to exploit future generation computer systems. “GPUs are used in the world’s fastest supercomputers,” Gowanlock says. “The grant will support the development of a new upper-division undergraduate course that teaches parallel computing using GPUs. This course will ensure that graduates of NAU’s computer science undergrad program have the skills necessary to exploit these new architectures in their future careers and enable recent graduates to apply for jobs that require knowledge of parallel computing or background in other systems-related topics.”

In addition, the local community will be engaged through outreach activities that promote science, technology, engineering and mathematical fields, particularly through activities targeting K-12 students. Another outcome of the project is the development of internship opportunities that primarily serve underrepresented groups in partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL). “Computer science is severely lacking in representation from underrepresented groups,” Gowanlock says. Undergraduate students will first perform parallel and distributed computing research with Gowanlock at NAU and will then intern at LLNL for a summer. “Internship opportunities enable students to get early job experience and have the potential to lead to full time employment upon graduation,” he says. “These opportunities can help retain underrepresented groups in computer science, consequently enabling a more diverse and inclusive workforce.” n Kerry Bennett is a science writer for Northern Arizona University.


Mike Gowanlock, an assistant professor at Northern Arizona University’s School of Informatics, Computing and Cyber Systems TechConnect | FALL 2021 | 15

Partnership PAYS OFF

..................... Applied Energetics pioneers optical systems, thanks to help of university

Applied Energetics believes that real-world experience is an integral part of the student education and career path decision-making process. “Taking the knowledge of optics and applying that insight to developing technology breakthroughs is remarkable work,” says CEO Greg Quarles. “It is amazing to see students get excited about the opportunities available when they start working with us on our R&D.”

BY JESSA B. TURNER Tucson-based company Applied Energetics is continually innovating the research and development of high-performance lasers, high-voltage electronics, state-of-the-art optical systems and integrated directed energy systems through lasting connections with The University of Arizona. One differentiator that sets it apart from competitors is the deep knowledge drawn upon from collaborations with partners in academia. They include UArizona’s James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences, one of the cutting-edge educational and research institutions in optics and photonics worldwide. Applied Energetics has an ongoing, multi-year partnership with both faculty and staff, ensuring access to premier researchers and resources from the university. Working with Professor Alan Kost at the college, the company utilizes research expertise to rapidly advance its technology made for defense, aerospace, industrial and scientific customers. Applied Energetics’ engagement with the university also includes graduate and undergraduate students. Kost has been providing his expertise to assist with the simulation and modeling of the generation of ultrashort optical pulses and providing oversight with the students working to test and verify the results as they compare simulation with laboratory data. Over the past several years, the manufacturer has employed two to four students per semester.

Working directly with the college, employers like Applied Energetics have the opportunity to engage students by providing internships to test-drive talent. UArizona is eager to partner with industry, as well as provide real-time, leading-edge laboratory experience in the industrial sector. This opportunity integrates what students are learning in the classroom with hands-on application of theory and experiments. Applied Energetics pioneered and holds the intellectual property rights to the development and use of Laser Guided Energy (LGE) technology and related solutions for commercial, defense and security applications. Students test and demonstrate the new technology, which aids in product development and speed to market. With 26 patents and 11 additional government patent applications, Applied Energetics offers an unmatched working experience. The primary focus of its research and product development spans the use of ultrashort pulsed optical sources to the interaction of these pulses with materials. These material effects could be utilized for additive and subtractive manufacturing applications to the interaction with threats in the defense and homeland security markets. Applied Energetics’ engagement with UArizona extends beyond faculty and students to include the world-class facilities of the UA Tech Park. Over the past several years, the company gained significant momentum. To keep pace, the business needed to expand. After a multistate search, the company relocated its headquarters to the UA Tech Park.

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“It is amazing to see students get excited about the opportunities available when they start working with us on our R&D.” GREG QUARLES, CEO of Applied Energetics The UA Tech Park offered Applied Energetics high-quality space with an expansive cleanroom, space to assemble lasers, and room for cooperative work. The move to the UA Tech Park also connected the business to a network of like-minded professionals through an established innovation community.


University of Arizona grad students Pedro Alcaraz (forefront) and Damon Colpo gain experiential learning through the R&D, testing and demonstration phase of leading-edge laser tech in Applied Energetics, which is headquartered at UA Tech Park.

The unique mix of office, lab and R&D space combined with the campus culture provides the perfect platform for the aggressive business plan of Applied Energetics to rapidly scale. Currently, Applied Energetics has a mix of UA alumni and interns from the College of Optical Sciences as employees and consultants. They have been instrumental in many aspects of the company’s growth, from the development of advanced optical source technologies to the relocation of the company’s headquarters. And they continue to have a valuable experience working hands-on with engineers and professionals in the new workspace at the UA Tech Park. n Jessa B. Turner is the director of communications for Tech Parks Arizona.

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..................... Honoring state’s best and brightest

The 2021 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation will honor visionaries, innovators and future leaders making critical contributions to technology, bioscience and education. More than 750 of the state’s business leaders are expected to pay tribute Oct. 13 to Arizona’s technology innovation and leadership. In addition to a theatre-style awards ceremony, the evening will include networking, entertainment, a strolling dinner and a Tech Showcase. We introduce you to the winners and finalists. AccountabilIT Lifetime Achievement Award

Future Innovators of the Year Award Winners

The 2021 AccountabilIT Lifetime Achievement Award honors outstanding leaders whose contributions have consistently elevated Arizona’s science and technology landscape. This year’s finalists are:

The Future Innovators represent the best of the best of the 2021 Arizona Engineering and Science Fair (grades 9-12). Each winning student will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

• Barbara Barrett Former secretary of the U.S. Air Force, and owner and CEO of Triple Creek Ranch

• Arjun Gupta, Paradise Valley High School, Phoenix

• Bruce Wright Retired vice president of UA Tech Parks • Jack Schumann Co-chair of Optics Valley • Phil Gallagher President and CEO of Avnet

• Marina Galasso, Galasso Homeschool, Tucson • Nathan Lam, Perry High School, Gilbert • Karah Mayer, Tanque Verde High School, Tucson • Lilli Seebold, Perry High School, Gilbert • Bailey Tischer, San Tan Charter School, Gilbert • Katherine Wei, BASIS Chandler, Chandler

2021 Teacher of the Year Award Winner The winning teacher will receive a $1,000 cash award. This year’s winner is: Jeremy Jonas, Tucson High Magnet School, Tucson

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In advance of the Governor’s Celebration of Innovation, the individual GCOI award winners were previously announced and will be recognized Oct. 13. They are: 2021 Judges Award Winner Qwick, Scottsdale

2021 Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year Intel Corporation, Chandler

The 2021 Outstanding Technology Senator, Outstanding Technology Representative and Tech 10 recipients also will receive their honors. Outstanding Technology Senator of the Year Sen. David Gowan, District 14

One company/individual in each of the following categories will be announced as winner at GCOI: 2021 Innovator of the Year – Academia • BIO5 Institute The University of Arizona, Tucson • Hong Hua, Ph.D. James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson • Jim Schwiegerling, Ph.D. James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson

2021 Innovator of the Year – Large Company • Aligned, Phoenix • IBM, Tucson • Involta LLC, Tucson • State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Tempe

Outstanding Technology Representative of the Year Rep. Daniel Hernandez, District 2

2021 Innovator of the Year – Small Company • CP Technologies, Prescott

2021 Tech 10 Legislators • Senate President Karen Fann, District 1

• Digital Air Strike, Scottsdale • GT Medical Technologies, Inc., Tempe • QuakeWrap, Inc., Tucson

• Sen. Sean Bowie, District 18 • Sen. Paul Boyer, District 20 • Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios, District 27 • Rep. Regina Cobb, District 5 • Rep. Justin Wilmeth, District 15 • House Majority Leader Ben Toma, District 22 • Rep. Michelle Udall, District 25

2021 Innovator of the Year – Start-Up • Anuncia, Inc., Scottsdale • EnPower, Inc., Phoenix • SaiOx, Inc., Tucson • YellowBird, Phoenix

• House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding, District 27 • Rep. Aaron Lieberman, District 28

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..................... Transformative leadership behind Arizona taking flight

When it comes to Arizona’s becoming a top-tier technology state, this pinnacle wouldn’t have been reached without leaders who embrace change and evolution. In acknowledgment of this, the MSS Business Transformation Leader of the Year Award was born.

With the approach of the 2021 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation (GCOI), where the Transformation Leader of the Year will be named, TechConnect spent time with 2019 inaugural winner Paul Green, chief development officer at Scottsdale-based Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance. After his joining the company in 2014, a number of technology firsts occurred, ranging from creating Angel MedFlight’s own medical record charting application to building the very first connector between Salesforce and Amazon S3. “All these really cool things that you just wouldn’t traditionally see coming out of a small company like ours. But for us, it’s a necessity. It’s not like a want,” Green says. While carrying the expertise shaped in previous roles as chief information officer to help make this happen, he is quick to deflect the spotlight. “I didn’t win the award. The team won the award,” he says. “Everybody had something to do with it. This is what made this happen. It wasn’t me by myself.” In fact, Green views himself as more of an advocate. “I might have the fancy title, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not just another one of the guys,” he says. “We joke that I call my fellow team members ‘customers.’ ”

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Paul Green, chief development officer at Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance


“Arizona is recognized as one of the top states for companies on the forefront of technology and innovation in industries such as health care, higher education, technology, non-profit,” says Keith Latchaw, president and CEO of Phoenix-based MSS Business Transformation Advisory. “We want them to have a chance to be recognized and share their transformation experiences with Arizona.”

This feeling captures his stance on what it takes to be a transformative leader. “Make sure people understand you’re willing to do whatever it takes and that you’re willing to get dirty just like they are because if you’re not, then you’re not going to have the environment needed to be transformative,” Green says. With his background, he knows such a view has brought successes in the technology world. “Like some of these applications that have come out in the last 10 to 15 years, one person might have sparked the idea,” he says, “but it takes a whole chain to actually deliver a real product that’s usable.” From there, a leader can start taking an organization to the next level. “If you’re in a business, just look at your entire business and start going through every single one of the processes and start changing those individual processes to be better,” Green says. “You’re transforming your business by making it better.” n

The 2021 MSS Business Transformation Leader of the Year finalists are: • Howard Stewart AGM Container Controls, Tucson • Lev Gonick Arizona State University, Tempe • Amy Wolters Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Goodyear

NEW MEMBERS Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Acena Consulting is an expert research and development tax credit partner by helping CPAs, business owners and finance professionals evaluate and qualify innovation projects.

To join the Arizona Technology Council, a member-supported group representing the interests of the state’s technology ecosystem, visit Cyber Security Training and Consulting provides solutions via its CMMC Training Academy, Cyber Crisis Response and CyberCertify.Me brands. Dickinson Wright is a full-service law firm with lawyers serving clients from 19 offices across the U.S. and Canada. Attorneys counsel clients across 40 practice areas and industries.

AHEAD builds platforms for digital business. By weaving together cloud infrastructure, intelligent operations and modern applications, it helps enterprises deliver digital transformation.

DocSolid Airmail2 is the essential digital mailroom software engineered for daily mail scanning in law firms.

Airth Solutions was founded with a strong vision: to become the earth resources’ industry standard for making near real time, fast, impactful data-driven and evidence-based decisions.

Edgecumbe Group specializes in filling critical positions for companies by recruiting passive candidates in the roles of cyber-risk, engineering, finance and legal.

Amin Talati Wasserman has gained renown for its work at the cutting edge of food and drug law, responding nimbly to rapid changes in the regulatory climate and the marketplace.

ELE Optics creates of cloud-based software for optical project collaboration, version control and deep insights.

Anuncia develops better solutions for patients with hydrocephalus + peace-of-mind. Arizona Municipal Strategies is a law firm that specializes in municipal level lobbying, procurement and government relations. Axis Recruiting Solutions is a full-service staffing and recruiting company with the goal of bringing together organizations with the highest caliber of professionals while providing unsurpassed customer service. Banyanbaum specializes in providing CBO/COO/CFO services to small to midsize companies. The company accelerates clients in fundraising, business development, strategic planning, M&A and successful exits. BestCompaniesAZ validates and elevates the very best companies to work for in Arizona, showcasing award-winning employer brand and culture. Cadence Advisors helps organizations maximize revenue by driving alignment between marketing, sales and service teams across technology, process and people through its revenue operations and talent technology practices. CGI is among the largest IT and business consulting services firms in the world. It is insights-driven and outcome-based to help accelerate returns on your IT and business investments. Cintana Education enables universities around the world to increase quality and scale to provide more students with the education they need and deserve.

Emerge Tech reduces shipping costs with its digital freight marketplace, giving access to the lowest rates on live capacity with just a few clicks. EscrowTab is a mortgage tech company featuring a patented eMortgage platform that provides best in class software solutions for the loan-closing process. G Force Global Technologies provides tech solutions, telecom, carrier services and IT services to the public and private sectors, focusing on increasing productivity and reducing technology costs.

Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations is dedicated to growing Arizona’s global prominence by providing forums that explore critical foreign policy issues and build enduring international connections. Phoenix Cyber Academy offers cyber training for veterans, the underprivileged and incarcerated to rapidly provide employable industry-accepted certifications. Scynce LED develops patented LED technology, research and development for commercial operations. Sky Harbor International Airport is part of the Phoenix Airport System, which is owned and operated by the City of Phoenix. Other members of the system are Deer Valley Airport and Goodyear Airport. Spirit Electronics is a veteran- and women-owned business that provides superior supply-chain solutions and electronic component distribution for global leaders in aerospace and defense. Streetwise Studios provides professional studio solutions (equipment, editing and support) that allow clients to create unlimited YouTube video content. Summit Consulting Group is a full-service public affairs firm that provides management consulting services to political campaigns, public relations and corporate clients.

Gift of a Lifetime is changing the way that the lives of everyday people are celebrated, documented and remembered.

Teknipure develops, manufactures and distributes cleanroom and controlled environments’ consumable contamination solutions.

GR Financial Group helps clients live the life they desire with perspective, accountability and peace of mind. www.

The Data Strategy Lab provides unparalleled results from data strategy. That means offering invaluable insights and tools to make better, more informed decisions.

ITYUG builds technology products in edtech, agile project management and custom applications. It provides full-services consulting and project-based services. ITeffectivity offers leadership and consulting to help CIOs and their direct reports meet the challenge of leading and delivering business solutions. Medefy Health is a modern tech company on the cutting edge of health care, benefits and human behavior with clients in all 50 states.

City of Scottsdale (IT Dept) is rated one of the nation’s most desirable cities.

NGT Academy offers job-ready training and certification to help clients master the most in-demand networking skills in six months so they can break into a tech job or get promoted.

Clutch Solutions brings together talent, partners and products to drive ahead of the competition in technology and create success for business and government.

Nymbl Systems provides healthcare management software to serve the orthotics and prosthetics specialty, with seamless integration and security needed to grow a practice.

CP Technologies designs, fabricates and integrates high-performance computing platforms, data links and LCD displays for military, industrial and commercial markets.

Nymbus Media is an entertainment technology platform that enables live music artists to connect with fans at live shows using patented LED wearables and mobile apps.

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Per Scholas advances economic equity through rigorous training for tech careers and connects skilled talent to leading businesses.

3D Management & Consulting provides analytic tech solutions within the operational readiness, info dominance and workforce development enterprises to enable superior decision making. UArizona RESTRUCT DLR Group is a member of a scoping study team exploring the topic of Innovative learning environments and the student experience (ILE+SE). WANRack provides dark fiber and lit fiber over private fiber optic networks to digital schools across America. Wilco Source integrates cloud applications and communication platforms within an enterprise quickly and seamlessly. It offers salesforce implementations, managed services, migration, integrations and training services.

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