Carnegie Mellon University

Data Storage Systems Center

College of Engineering

students in a data science cluster

May 01, 2017

$16.5M gift for data science and engineering

Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor José Moura; his wife, Computer Science Professor Manuela Veloso; ECE Adjunct Professor Aleksandar Kavčić; and his wife, Dr. Sofija Kavčić, have jointly donated $16.5 million to Carnegie Mellon to support education and research in data science and engineering.

This strategic gift was made possible by Moura’s and Alek Kavčić’s pioneering research, which has made its way into over three billion computers.

In the early 1990s, Moura and Alek Kavčić, who was a Ph.D. student then, set out to accurately recover bits from storage disk drives of the future. They patented a detector that would safely and accurately extract recorded data from disk drives in the future. In the early 2000s, recording technology changed to perpendicular recording, and their detector algorithm invention became a must-have technology. It is estimated that the disk drives in 60 percent of computers made in the last 15 years contain this detector technology.

“We live in a society awash with data,” Moura said. “With its exceptionally talented faculty and students, CMU has an opportunity to lead the nation in finding the new solutions to acquire, store, access, transmit, and intelligently process these data, so we can have better health care, better education, better business solutions, better engineering, and more fulfilling jobs.”

“The result of my work with José is testimony to the excellent opportunities available to students at CMU,” Alek Kavčić said. “This gift will enhance that experience for many more students, researchers, and faculty members while expanding knowledge and ensuring new discoveries in data storage.”

To draw upon the full capacity of the university, the gift will connect engineers and quantitative scientists from the College of Engineering, School of Computer Science and Department of Statistics with domain experts across Carnegie Mellon. It will provide Presidential Fellowships and Scholarships to students, foster course development and research, establish chaired professorships in the Department of ECE, and support activities in the Data Storage Systems Center (DSSC).