Saif M. Khan is a Research Fellow at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET). His research focuses on AI policy, semiconductor supply chains and related U.S. policy, and has been featured in The Financial Times, The Washington Post, Fortune and other outlets. Saif has a decade of experience as an intellectual property lawyer at Brinks Gilson & Lione and at several technology companies including Hewlett-Packard, where he supported software businesses with machine learning portfolios. Saif has a J.D. (cum laude) from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and a B.S. (cum laude) in physics and an M.A. in Physics from Wayne State University.

To reduce its dependence on the United States and its allies for semiconductors, China is building domestic semiconductor manufacturing facilities by importing U.S., Japanese, and Dutch semiconductor manufacturing equipment. In the longer term, it also hopes to indigenize this equipment to replace imports. U.S. and allied policy responses to China’s efforts will significantly affect its prospects for success in this challenging task.

CSET Research Fellow Saif M. Khan testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for its hearing, "Advancing Effective U.S. Policy for Strategic Competition with China in the Twenty-First Century." Khan spoke to the importance of U.S. leadership in semiconductor and artificial intelligence technology.

The countries with the greatest capacity to develop, produce and acquire state-of-the-art semiconductor chips hold key advantages in the development of emerging technologies. At present, the United States and its allies possess significant leverage over core segments of the supply chain used to produce these chips. This policy brief outlines actions the United States and its allies can take to secure that advantage in the long term and use it to promote the beneficial use of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence.

Semiconductors are a key component in fueling scientific progress, promoting economic advancement, and ensuring national security. This issue brief summarizes each component of the semiconductor supply chain and where the United States and its allies possess the greatest leverage. A related policy brief, “Securing Semiconductor Supply Chains,” recommends policy actions to ensure the United States maintains this leverage and uses it to promote the beneficial use of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence.

The United States has long used export controls to prevent the proliferation of advanced semiconductors and the inputs necessary to produce them. With Beijing building up its own chipmaking industry, the United States has begun tightening restrictions on exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China. This brief provides an overview of U.S. semiconductor export control policies and analyzes the impacts of those policies on U.S.-China trade.

Protecting international security and human rights by using multilateral controls on semiconductor manufacturing equipment and advanced chips

CSET's Saif M. Khan and Remco Zwetsloot joined the Brookings Cafeteria podcast to weigh in on the tech competition between the United States and China.

China seeks to develop an indigenous semiconductor industry. It is in the strategic interest of the United States and democratic friends for China to remain reliant on them for state-of-the-art computer chips, especially as Beijing invests heavily in advanced chips.

Why AI Chips Matter

April 2020

As artificial intelligence is applied to new and more complex tasks, the computational power necessary to develop and deploy it will become increasingly expensive. This policy brief offers a concise overview of the full report, “AI Chips: What They Are and Why They Matter.”

The success of modern AI techniques relies on computation on a scale unimaginable even a few years ago. What exactly are the AI chips powering the development and deployment of AI at scale and why are they essential? Saif M. Khan and Alexander Mann explain how these chips work, why they have proliferated, and why they matter.

The United States and its allies enjoy a competitive advantage in the production of artificial intelligence chips necessary for leading AI research and implementation. This memo identifies chokepoints for limiting China’s access to key chipmaking equipment.