A Big Fight over Tiny Chips

Japan and the U.S. are struggling for supremacy in semiconductors

Traditionally, the industrial strength of a nation has been measured by its ability to make things big: the immense blast furnaces of its steel mills, the vast concrete expanses of its dams and the monumental skyscrapers towering over its cities. In the future, industrial might will flow increasingly from the power to make things small: the microscopic electrical circuits that form the core of computers, calculators, missile control panels, televisions, video games and all other electronic products. Called semiconductors, these circuits are most...

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