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Press Release

Chriss Swaney

For immediate release:
September 20, 2002

Carnegie Mellon Data Storage Center Increases Global Reach By Adding Electronics Giants Sony and Sharp to Research Mix

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Data Storage Systems Center (DSSC) has expanded its global reach to include two Japanese electronics giants as the center continues to perform research in promising new data storage technologies for disk and tape systems.

Both companies, Sony and Sharp, will send industry representatives to the first biannual Data Storage Systems Center open house Oct. 1-2 at Carnegie Mellon. Company officials are interested in Carnegie Mellon research, which promises dramatic increases in data storage capacity, performance and reliability.

One new technology being pursued, for example, is heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR). It is expected to help the storage industry meet the challenge of keeping up with demands. Heat-assisted magnetic recording uses a laser to heat the area of a platter where the data is being written, allowing smaller magnetic marks to be written on the disk. This technique, which represents the merging of magnetic recording and optical recording, promises a potential of up to 100 times more capacity per disk.

The industry is also poised to introduce a new recording format called perpendicular recording in which disks are magnetized perpendicular to the plane as opposed to in the plane, which has been the approach for the past 50 years. Carnegie Mellon's Data Storage Systems Center is developing the heads and media for this new approach that will enable higher storage densities, which, in turn, will support new applications being developed by Sony, Sharp and others.

The need for increased storage has been pushed to the limit by the continued expansion of computer networks, the proliferation of the Internet into business and home use, and the extension into the entertainment industry. Larger storage densities mean smaller and less expensive disk drives. Such small drives are appearing now in cameras and hand-held digital products.

According to Robert White, director of the Data Storage Systems Center, Sharp and Sony will bring a consumer perspective to storage that will complement the PC perspective.

In addition to the research, Carnegie Mellon's Data Storage Systems Center is producing a CD-ROM Tutorial about data storage for a new distance-learning course available to interested business and industry leaders and center partners. Other center research partners include Seagate Technology, Hitachi Maxell, Read-Rite, STMicroelectronics, Maxtor, Showa Denko, Storage Tech, Quantum, Veeco, Guzik, Advanced Microsensors and Imation.

Carnegie Mellon's Data Storage Systems Center supports 20 faculty and more than 60 graduate students with a budget in excess of $4 million. The center's 35,000 square feet of operating space includes state-of-the-art magnetic and optical measurement equipment, radio frequency-shielded labs and a 4,000-square-foot nanofabrication facility.


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