In the United States there is no overall national vision of superconductivity, although an industry- determined technology roadmap is in preparation. At best, there is a collection of smaller independent visions, perhaps in keeping with our more decentralized philosophy and our dependence on small start-up companies for innovation. We have no equivalent of ISTEC. Also, Japan has so far been less affected by the massive restructuring so evident in the U.S. electronics industry that has brought with it a very short- range point of view for research, even in large corporations. Research and development on advanced electronics in the United States is also impacted by the decline of defense budgets as a result of the end of the Cold War. The U.S. Department of Defense has traditionally been the principal federal supporter of electronics research in the United States, and therefore this area is being particularly strained. As a result of these factors, at a minimum, the United States is behind in deciding which long-term visions to follow and what level of investment to make in superconducting electronics in the decade ahead. Some argue that superconducting electronics research in the United States has become fragile and is in jeopardy unless new programs are initiated very soon. The WTEC panelists share this concern.

Published: July 1998; WTEC Hyper-Librarian