By Jordan Frakes and Shala Marks
ASU engineering students may have the opportunity to work with unique advanced technology after Intel Corp. opens a new facility in the Valley.
The company plans to build Fab 42, a factory that will use cutting-edge technology to manufacture more powerful and efficient computer chips. The facility will be located next to an existing Intel site in the Ocotillo area of Chandler.
“This will be the most advanced, high-volume semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world,” said Intel education manager Cathleen Barton.
The computer chips will be manufactured using a 14-nanometer process. One nanometer is one ninety-thousandth the width of an average human hair. Intel is the only company in the world to utilize this technology, Barton said.
The company hires more engineering students from ASU than from any other university in the nation. Barton said she expects the new site will help this relationship to continue.
“Arizona has a wonderful supply of engineering talent,” Barton said. “ASU has been the key to meeting our recruitment challenges.”
Once opened, Fab 42 will provide positions for a wide range of ASU graduates, including statisticians, electrical engineers and environmental engineers.
Intel Corporation has partnered with Arizona State University since they first came to the Valley in 1980, Barton said. The company offers engineering students yearlong internships at their Chandler site.
Computer systems engineering senior Patrick Lu has worked at Intel for one year. He started as an intern, but was recently hired as a full-time employee.
“They treat interns very well,” Lu said. “People are very knowledgeable and willing to share.”
Lu conducts performance analysis on new hardware and says this hands-on experience is a great way to learn outside the classroom.
Assistant engineering professor Aviral Shrivastava said Intel also provides funding for several faculty research projects.
He is teaching students how to program multi-core processors in a project backed by Intel.
The growing Intel presence in Chandler will produce more research and development opportunities for engineering students, he said.
State Rep. Bob Robson of Chandler said the company’s expansion will provide both temporary construction jobs and long-term engineering positions.
“Chandler over the years has had a great relationship with Intel,” Robson said. “It has been a continuing dream of being able to bring quality jobs.”
Robson was a part of negotiations between Intel and the city of Chandler to establish the old Ocotillo location. He said not only has the company expanded employment opportunity, but has boosted economic development and helped retail sales as well.
Last month, President Barack Obama spoke at Intel’s Oregon location applauding the company for its new innovations and dedication to educating students.
“It was a pretty spectacular day for us,” Barton said. “His presence reflected that we are a strong company doing business in the United States.”
The company is committed to providing knowledge and opportunity to the engineers of the future, investing more than $1 billion in education over the past 10 years, she said.
Mechanical engineering junior Meelad Nikpourian said the new facility is a “shining beacon for engineers.”
He said it will provide incentive for students to work harder so they can ensure a job at the company after graduation.
“Having this opportunity in our backyard will be unbelievable,” he said.
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