x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Race to the microchip

Two groups of UAE students are in a race to complete work on what will be the Gulf's first domestically engineered microchip. Innovations are forged on the shoulders of shared research ¿ even sometimes the research of competitors.

Does the name Elisha Gray ring a bell? In a fair world, it should. Now how about Alexander Graham Bell? Most will instantly recognise him as the inventor of the telephone. Few, however, realise that Gray and Bell patented the telephone on the same day.

The history of science is strewn with examples of almost simultaneous inventions. Many an innovator has watched his or her invention - with just that little addition - reap acclaim worldwide while they wallow in anonymity.

Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin, Glenn Curtiss and the Wright brothers, William E Sawyer and Thomas Edison, the Winklevoss brothers and Mark Zuckerberg: some of these runner-ups have faded into the annals of history, while others are suing everybody in sight.

As The National reported yesterday, two groups of UAE students are in a race to complete work on what will be the Gulf's first domestically engineered microchip. Regardless of who wins, it is a credit to both the American University of Sharjahand UAE Universitythat their students have taken up the gauntlet.

The commercial applications are still speculative, although Abu Dhabi's Advanced Technology Investment Company will fabricate the winning chip. And so innovations are forged on the shoulders of shared research - even sometimes the research of competitors.