Desperately Seeking A Discreet High Tech Matchmaker

Wanted: An honest broker to manage delicate technology partnerships between U.S. and Japanese researchers. Compensation: $1 million a year for two years. The offer is being made by directors of the U.S.-Japan Joint Optoelectronics Project. The organization, sponsored by both governments, is seeking to promote cooperation between the nations on a future generation of computers that use optical or optoelectronic components. Under the two-year experiment, one broker in each nation will pair up researchers who have good ideas for computer designs with other researchers who have the necessary components. The Japanese broker has already been selected: It's the Optoelectronic Industry & Technology Development Assn. Now, project directors are seeking a U.S.-based counterpart, probably a company or university. The goal is to pick one by October.

The broker's job is sensitive because neither nation wants to let the other learn its secrets in optoelectronics. Judson C. French, co-chairman of the project's joint management committee, says all exchanges of information between designers and component suppliers must be done by the broker or in the broker's presence. Says French: "It's an experiment to see if we can cooperate in a competitive, high-tech area."

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