Semiconductor Science Initiative

Accelerating Semiconductor Science and Technology

The College of Engineering’s Semiconductor Science Initiative is working to establish and nurture a community of partners, expand our semiconductor technology research portfolio, and become a competitor for a national center of excellence in semiconductor science in the future. Connect with us as we build our expertise and unique manufacturing capacity: Join us at a Semiconductor Engineering Seminar Series event or join our community.


Presentation and Q&A with Jim H. Thompson

February 1, 2024 | 3:00PM-4:00PM | Teams

Join us for a presentation and Q&A from Qualcomm’s Chief Technology Officer and UW-Madison ECE alum Jim Thompson. In his role, Thompson is responsible for global research and development activities associated with all wireless chipsets in QCT, Qualcomm’s semiconductor business, as well as overseeing the companywide technical and product roadmaps across all business areas. Additionally, Thompson directs Qualcomm Research and Corporate Engineering.

Dr. James H. Thompson serves as Chief Technology Officer of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Thompson also serves on the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) Board of Trustees, a nearly 100-year-old foundation that supports research and technology transfer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also a member of the Council of Advisors for the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego.

Fireside Chat with Mike Splinter and Dean Robertson

November 17, 2023 | 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Zoom

Dean Robertson and Mike Splinter, who currently chairs the Industrial Advisory Committee for the CHIPS and Science Act, will discuss CHIPS and UW–Madison’s approach to competing for CHIPS-related research funding opportunities.

Mike Splinter, ‘72/’74 BS/MS ECE graduate, 2015 honorary PhD, spent 20 years at Intel leading technology, manufacturing, then sales and marketing. He was Chairman and CEO of Applied Materials for 12 years and, since retiring in 2015, has been active in board work and consulting, currently serving on three boards: TSMC, Kioxia, and NASDAQ. His current interests are Semiconductors and Clean Energy.

The most important thing is everything – building chips in an interconnected world

October 23, 2023 | 10:00-11:00 AM | Union South, TITU

Speaker: Rob Aitken

Rob Aitken is a distinguished architect for the Synopsys EDA Group and an experienced technologist with broad-based expertise and connections across the semiconductor industry and academic ecosystem. An IEEE Fellow and associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computing, Rob has 50 patents and has published about 100 technical papers. He has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from McGill University.


The CHIPS act and other announced government spending are designed to rebuild advanced semiconductor manufacturing capability in the US for national security and other purposes. This is an ambitious and laudable goal, with a huge number of interacting and interconnected technologies needed to bring it to fruition. This talk focuses on three of those: 3D integration of heterogeneous multi-die systems, advanced design technology, and novel computing system architectures. Each of these enables advances in performance and energy efficiency but even higher gains are attainable by co-developing all three together. These examples are not unique – the chips of the future will need a workforce with a broad range of skills and expertise to extract benefits from silicon that is increasingly challenged to provide them.

Semiconductor Manufacturing Innovation: Past, Present, and Future

April 28, 2023 | 2:00-3:00 PM | Mechanical Engineering, Room 1106

Speaker: Dr. David J. Hemker

David earned his BSChE from UW-Madison in ’84, followed by his MSChe in ’85 and PhD in ’80 from Stanford University. He serves as the senior vice president and chief technology officer (retired) at Lam Research Corporation and was recently honored by the College of Engineering “as a chemical engineer and technology leader whose numerous innovations have advanced semiconductor processing and thin-film applications.”


Semiconductors play an integral part in nearly every technological advancement today. This is made possible by the ability of the semiconductor manufacturing industry to relentlessly increase the integrated circuit’s functionality while simultaneously decreasing the cost per function.

Join Dr. David J. Hemker for a special presentation on the innovations that got us to where we are today, as well as some of the technical challenges that need to be overcome in order to keep this trend going.


Join our community of semiconductor science and technology partners.