May 24, 2006
ECE graduate student Brandon Salmon, the winner of an Intel Ph.D. Fellowship, is conducting research that hits close to home. He is studying ways to store and protect the digital information we have in our houses--everything from our sensitive financial information to our treasured photos. Learning how technology interacts with today's marketplace, Brandon is taking courses in engineering and business to prepare for a promising future. Let's take a look at where Brandon is headed:
California Bay Area, Los Altos
M.S. in ECE from Carnegie Mellon, 2004, and B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University, 2002
Scuba diving, rock climbing, and choral singing (including a tour to England with the Stanford Chamber Chorale).
I have been impressed by how critical market relevance is to technology, even while doing research. I am very interested in not only understanding technology, but understanding how technology interacts with the marketplace. I believe technology that truly changes the way we work and live must keep both the technical and market aspects in mind.
My thesis topic is focused on building storage solutions for personal digital data that are flexible and easy to use. The recent increase in digital information in the home has left us with a large amount of valuable digital data, such as music, photos, financial information, etc. Current methods to store and protect this information are very crude, and are either inadequate or time consuming.
I am working closely with Steve Schlosser [M.S. 2000, Ph.D. 2004] at the Intel lab on my research. The interaction with Intel has been wonderful for my research. It helps me guide my research into areas that may be applicable to the work companies are doing, and understand where the technology may be headed in the future.
I will be doing an internship at Intel research this summer. I will be working with Steve Schlosser on my thesis work. It should be a great opportunity for me to learn about the directions Intel may take, and to tailor my research to be applicable to work that may go on in the future.
My internships at VMware focused on the implementation and design of the host operating system storage stack. I worked with redesigning the storage back end, and also enabling a few extra needed features. My work at Microsoft focused on analyzing and compiling traces they had collected of desktop file system usage.
I TA'ed for the distributed systems class with Raj Rajkumar recently, and very much enjoyed it. The course was built to simulate a set of entrepreneurs creating a new technology, and focused on the motivation and design of this new technology. I really enjoyed working with students, especially with their projects. It is wonderful to help focus the energy of bright, excited people.
Choose an area that interests you and start digging. Talk to both researchers and companies working in the area to figure out what problems people are facing, and what problems they will be facing in the future. Most of all, keep setting goals and digging at the problem, even if you aren't sure exactly what the problem or solution will be.
I am very interested in entrepreneurship, since it is an area that involves taking cutting edge technology and making it work in the marketplace and for people. However, research and development at larger companies is also interesting to me.
Read more about Brandon's NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.