>> We are looking into a Plutonium chip which we expect to self power a SOC and external memory.
You may need to use any description as most may be turned off by knowing Plutonium is inside your product. What if there is fire and the thing explodes? Are they safe?. Think of the reason we have MRI as a name to hide what makes people uncomfortable.
>> If the hypothesis is that semiconductor innovation requires VC investment in semiconductor manufacturing, I disagree.
I am not sure anyone is talking about fab. We are discussing fabless strategy where innovation in circuits and systems rule and dominate. If you check very well, we are not attracting a lot of dollars in the design innovation phase. No one is talking of the production innovation - that is not a VC kind of game.
Also, if Intel's "first product" was in 1969 and the Apollo mission were from 1961 to 1975, then that begs for many questions your assertion, like, which Apollo mission do you refer to below? And how many device did those rocket use? Enough to sustain Intel's quick early growth? That's not likely, even at the out-of-control prices that govt. pays. That leaves direct funding then. NASA directly funded Intel's develpment of the products listed above? How much? Were there any other significant investors or would Intel have failed to launch (pun intended) without NASA's (ah.. I mean our father's) money?
There are few of these types of shows that I regret not being able to attend. This one looks like a glaring exception to that rule. I would love to have been there to hear these movers and shakers speak.
Every development has a cycle. Computer gets faster and faster everyday. A regular user probably don't feel a different between a 3 years old laptop and today's laptop. However, more products and information are moved to the Internet. Those require software engineers to develop. In addition, today's web-based application isn't so easy anymore. A software engineer can hardly go by with knowing only 3 languages. Today belongs to software engineer. Yet, for example, when there is a breakthrough of semiconductor such as using different material than silicon, hardware engineer will thrive again.