The Milken Institute, a nonprofit think tank, has announced the results of a study of US tech centers, and the San Jose, California, Silicon Valley remains number one. The study says, "the gravitational pull of the San Jose area is unparalleled," but it also names some unexpected cities as high-level technology centers. Dallas, Texas, was second, and Los Angeles, California, was third. The Seattle, Washington, area (home of Boeing and Microsoft) came in fifth, right behind Boston, Massachusetts. Chicago, Illinois, in eighth place, pulled ahead of New York City, which was ninth. The report says that tech industries are critical in gauging the health of the economy, and determining whether a metropolitan area is succeeding or failing. I asked Perry Wong, a research assistant at the Milken Institute, if there were tech centers similar to San Jose outside of the United States. "Yes, but not quite on the same scale," he said. The island of Kyushu is the Japanese version of Silicon Valley, with a very high concentration of research and development companies. The Japanese government, through the Ministry of Industry and Trade, has invested a huge amount of money in Kyusu. Perhaps better known is the technical center in Taiwan. Wong told me the center started in the early 1980s, when an older gentleman, a scholar who had worked in the United States, advised the government to sponsor technology programs. The government created a science park in Hsinchu, a small city just outside Taiwan. Hsinchu is a self-contained city and science park, running all its own municipal services. The center opened an international school to attract scientists, especially to lure back native scientists who had come to the United States to study and work. Hsinchu has launched some very successful programs, which are self-supporting, so the government funding decreases yearly. ACER and other technology companies have a presence there, and as a result, there's a strong association with the technology companies in San Jose.