June 17, 2004
Carnegie Mellon University has appointed Ed Schlesinger, a professor in electrical and computer engineering, to head the world-renowned Data Storage Systems Center (DSSC). Under Schlesinger's leadership, Carnegie Mellon is helping industry design nanometer-scale technology that will ultimately lead to very fast, low-cost and compact information storage devices.
"We look forward to working with Ed Schlesinger because he is a great asset, and he knows the importance of bringing industry closer to the center," said Adam Torabi, a principal engineer at Maxtor Corporation. "His grasp of the industry's optical research issues is excellent, and his dynamic and immediate response to industry requests is outstanding."
With more than $4 million in government and corporate funding, Carnegie Mellon's Data Storage Systems Center is pioneering theory and research that will lead to the next generation of data storage technology, according to Schlesinger.
Using current conventional technology, a DVD holds about five gigabytes of data. And using current conventional technology, a hard disk drive holds about 80 gigabits of information per square inch with state-of-the-art industrial demos at 170 gigabytes per square inch. But industry's specifically targeted goal is one terabit per square inch, or about one thousand gigabits per square inch of storage capacity. At one terabit per square inch, it is possible to store a small black-and-white image of every man, woman and child on earth on a CD-sized disk, Schlesinger said.
"Conventional storage technology, at best, falls nearly 10 times short of this goal. There is no way we can obtain industry's storage density goals without significant breakthroughs in nanotechnology," Schlesinger said.
And nanotechnology, the wizardry of building devices that are measured in one-billionths of a meter, has electrified many corporate giants seeking these breakthroughs in data storage.
"Breakthrough technology that realizes ultra high capacity of more than one terabyte is needed for hard disk drives and other magnetic and optical technologies," said Katsuaki Tsurushima, senior vice president of Sony Corporation.
"The research in innovative new data storage is what is expected from the DSSC. This will enable new products ranging from mobile AV products that use small-form-factor hard disk drives to video recorders that use large-capacity hard disk drives," Tsurushima said.
"Moreover, with the introduction of an ultra-high performance CPU such as Sony's Cell chip, 'Home Server,' products with huge storage capacity are expected to appear in the near future," he said.
University Professor Mark Kryder, chief technical officer of Seagate Technology, said Schlesinger is an excellent choice to be the new director of the Data Storage Systems Center. "He has new ideas about what the center should be doing and has the leadership style to make them happen. I think the center's sponsors will be delighted with the energy he puts into the job," Kryder said.
Schlesinger received his B.Sc. degree in physics from the University of Toronto in 1980 and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in applied physics in 1982 and 1985 at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests are in materials and physics of optical devices, nanotechnology and systems, and how these may be applied to information storage technology.
Before taking over as director of the Data Storage Systems Center, Schlesinger was the founding director at Carnegie Mellon of the $8 million General Motors Collaborative Research Laboratory and the associate department head of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. He has published more than 200 research papers and received numerous awards and honors, including two R&D 100 Awards for his work on nuclear detectors and electro-optic device technology and the Carnegie Science Center 1998 "Scientist" award. He was awarded the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation and the George Tallman Ladd Award for excellence in research from Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering in 1988. In 2001, Schlesinger received the Richard Teare Award for outstanding teaching from the College of Engineering. He is also a fellow of the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE).
About Carnegie Mellon's Data Storage Systems Center: Carnegie Mellon's Data Storage Systems Center, a multidisciplinary center with faculty from chemical, mechanical, electrical and materials science engineering and physics, works with industry sponsors to improve data storage capacity. Some of the center's aggressive work includes research in optical recording systems, magnetic disk systems, MEMS-based storage and solid-state memory.