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Industry, Academia Discuss Future of Data Storage at DSSC Fall 2008 Technical Review

October 3, 2008

The corridors of Roberts Engineering Hall teemed with industry representatives, faculty members, and student researchers Sept. 23-24, when the Data Storage Systems Center (DSSC) at Carnegie Mellon University hosted its Fall Technical Review. Designed as an opportunity for the DSSC to exhibit its research for the industry it serves, the review featured presentations and poster sessions by faculty members, researchers and students on topics ranging from perpendicular thin film media to heat-assisted magnetic recording.

Since its inception 25 years ago, the DSSC has conducted leading-edge interdisciplinary research to help support and expand the ever-changing data storage industry. While its primary mission is to prepare students for work in the information storage industry or research careers in academia or the government, the center also works closely with industrial partners to define projects that will take data storage further. It also provides leadership in developing novel technologies for future hard disk drives. The DSSC's semiannual technical reviews, held in March and September, provide an opportunity for industry and academia to come together, discuss current research, and examine trends for future data storage technologies.

"Our reviews offer the opportunity for detailed dialogue between industry sponsors and DSSC researchers," said DSSC Director and ABB Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Jimmy Zhu. "The key to the DSSC's success has been that we listen carefully to industry and tailor our work according to what will offer the greatest industrial and scientific impact. Our close ties with industry help keep us relevant, while our academic perspective allows us to bring in creative new ideas. Helping to achieve this balance is the role of the DSSC leadership team. Once again at this review, we received strong positive feedback on the impact of our work and the message that we are responding to and meeting industry's needs. Today, the DSSC's industrial sponsors include most of the hard disk drive-related companies in the world.

The two-day event began with an introduction by Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Head Ed Schlesinger, and an overview of the center from Zhu. Featured presentations on hard disk drive mechanics, novel material development, controls and tribology, materials, nanofabrication and devices, and signal processing and circuits followed. Students, faculty and industry representatives had ample time to discuss other projects and initiatives during poster sessions, lunches and a reception. More than 30 representatives from the DSSC's corporate affiliates, which provide the center with more than $3 million of its $5 million in funding, attended the event.

"The work on commercially available media is good and is showing details of media that the producing companies may not be fully aware of," wrote the DSSC Advisory Board, referring to the center's recent experimental research work on thin film data storage media in current hard disk drives. The board, consisting of members of the center's corporate affiliates, also praised most research projects within the center, including low-temperature heat assisted magnetic recording media development and microwave-assisted magnetic recording, among others.

The DSSC Spring Technical Review is tentatively planned for March 24-25, 2009, in Roberts Engineering Hall.



Data Storage Systems Center / Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890 / Phone: 412-268-6600 / Fax: 412-268-3497