U.S./China Innovation Race

Intel CTO Justin Rattner

says many people underestimate America’s lead in post-graduate education. Intel has found, for example, that the skills of PhDs from Chinese universities that the company has hired do not yet match those of U.S. graduates, he says.

On the other hand, Rattner says, tougher immigration laws are weakening the U.S. advantage as a magnet for students from around the world. Many Silicon Valley companies were founded by foreign students after they got degrees from Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley, Caltech and other U.S. institutions.

“Now we tell them to go home, and don’t come back anytime soon,” Rattner says. Such a policy could have made it impossible for people like Andy Grove, Intel’s Hungarian-born former CEO, to have risen to the top of the U.S. tech scene. “Nowadays we would have packed him up and sent him home,” Rattner says.

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