Check out what you missed: news from week of February 17

President Trump sounded off on China trade through a series of tweets read during a panel discussion in Washington. (Pixabay)

China has dominated global news recently because of the ongoing coronavirus concerns. But prior to that, the country generated headlines due to ongoing tariff and trade concerns.

Well, President Trump made it loud and clear that the U.S. wants to do business with China. The controversial leader made a number of tweets stating that our country should do what it can to expedite trade with China. The president’s tweets were read aloud in real time during a panel discussion in Washington titled “Controlling U.S. Tech Exports to China: How to Get It Right.”

The experts largely agreed that Trump’s recently proposed export restrictions on semiconductors and other products sold to Chinese companies could result in lower sales for U.S.-based companies as well as a loss of engineering talent.

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Speaking of coronavirus, the death toll from the deadly disease has soared over 2,100, affecting stock market results and continuing to test resolve and confidence of global economic and political leaders. Several industry observers and analysts warned that the full effects of coronavirus have not been felt yet, but the situation could easily worsen if the virus is not brought under control soon.

More specifically, coronavirus has adversely affected sectors such as IT, electronic manufacturing services, semiconductor packaging and test, and displays. In displays, the situation is acutely affecting the production of large video displays used in public places, according to a new report from business intelligence firm Omdia.

Large digital sign displays are heavily concentrated in Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces, the epicenter of the coronavirus impact, according to Omdia analyst Tay Kim. Labor shortages from workers not going to work are wreaking havoc with display production.

While coronavirus has adversely affected industry trade shows, one conference that has gone on as scheduled as the International Solid State Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco, a rich treasure trove of research papers previewing the potential chips of tomorrow. This week did not disappoint.

One hot development area is quantum computing. On Tuesday, Intel and partner QuTech unveiled research on a quantum control chip called Horse Ridge designed to control up to 128 qubits. Some recent systems operate with about 50 qubits, but the ultimate goal is many thousands and possibly millions.

Horse Ridge is an integrated cryogenic System-on-Chip that measures just 4 x 4 mm2 and is implemented on Intel 22nm FFL (FinFET Low Power) CMOS technology. Functionally, it scrunches together digital core, analog/RF circuitry and SRAM memory to use microwave pulses to manage and manipulate the state of the qubits in a quantum system.

Not surprisingly, security also remains a hot topic as the Internet of Things becomes an ever-greater presence in consumer and industrial applications. At ISSCC, Rice University researchers discussed a hardware-based technique that blocks information leaked out by power management circuits. The researchers claim this technique is 14,000 times more secure than state-of-the-art encryption-based hardware, including key-based encryption hardware Rice developed last year.

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