Skip main navigation

Data Storage Systems Center



Data Storage Experts Gather for Fall Technical Review

October 2, 2009

Get the flash player here:

Data storage experts from companies around the globe gathered with DSSC faculty, students and staff on Thursday, Sept. 17, for the center's 2009 Fall Technical Review. Held twice each year, the technical reviews bring the center's data storage researchers together with members of industry to discuss recent research developments and highlight plans for the future of the field. The fall review attracted nearly 100 participants from both industry and academia.

Since its inception 26 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 reviews, held in March and September, allow industry and academia to come together, discuss current research, and examine trends for future data storage technologies.

The September review began with a "State of the DSSC" address by DSSC Director and ABB Professor of Engineering Jimmy Zhu, who outlined current sponsorship and plans to attract new members. Zhu also provided an overview of the center's research and highlighted its four-part mission: innovation, education, research and being a resource for industry.

Following Zhu's presentation, DSSC faculty and students delivered talks on topics including the exchange decoupling ability of various oxides in present PMR media, a novel approach for achieving high coercivity and high ordering of L10 FePt granular media at relatively low deposition temperature for HAMR applications, HAMR NFT design and fabrication; and a systematic study on the area density extendability of present PMR technology. Recent innovations in channels, directions in contact recording and new electrothermal actuators were also discussed. In addition to hearing research updates from students and faculty during oral presentations, attendees also viewed the latest on all student projects during two poster sessions scheduled throughout the day.

"The key to the DSSC's success has always been — and will continue to be — our close interaction with industry," said DSSC Director Jimmy Zhu. "Through the relationships we have with our sponsors and the input we receive from them, we can tailor our research and work on projects that offer the most scientific and industrial impact. In turn, we provide our sponsors with an academic perspective that helps generate creative new ideas to solve tomorrow's data storage problems."

The importance of that perspective was underscored by the center's Advisory Board, which met following the review and offered minimal suggestions for improvement, noting that it was very happy with the current progress and direction of the center.

The DSSC's next technical review is tentatively scheduled for the week of March 22. For more on the DSSC, visit

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