Industry Experts Gather for DSSC Spring Review


April 20, 2010

Nearly 100 members of academia and industry gathered at Carnegie Mellon last month for the Data Storage System Center's Spring 2010 Technical Review. Held twice each year, the technical reviews allow the center to spotlight its latest research findings for industry sponsors and collaborators, while also providing an opportunity for data storage experts from across the globe to gather and develop plans for the industry's future.

Since its inception more than 25 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 into the future. 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 discuss current research and examine trends for future data storage technologies.

The March review began with a "State of the DSSC" overview by center director and ABB Professor of Engineering Jimmy Zhu. During the talk, Zhu outlined the center's current funding sources, highlighted the DSSC's research initiatives and updated attendees on new state-of-the-art equipment available in the center. Zhu also reported on the latest progress from the HDD Working Group, the center's collaboration with industry to develop a roadmap for future hard disk drive technology.

"Throughout our history, the key to the DSSC's success has always been our close interaction with industry. We're dedicated to maintaining that interaction in the center's future," Zhu said. "Our relationships with our sponsors and the input we receive from them allows us to tailor our research to projects that offer the most scientific and industrial impact. In return, we provide our sponsors with an academic perspective that helps generate creative new ideas to solve tomorrow's data storage problems."

Technical presentations on those creative data storage solutions followed Zhu's talk and highlighted the latest DSSC research on media and heads; channels, mechanics and memory; and heat assisted magnetic recording and bit patterned media recording. Specific topics discussed included advances in L10 materials, FePt/C L10 for high coercivity media, high resolution 2-D contact testing, spin torque oscillation, mobile dopant semiconductors, HAMR testing and modeling, methanol etching for magnetic film patterning, and fine pattern transfer and self-organized structures. Each session also included overview talks that provided highlights of all DSSC research taking place in that area.

In addition to technical talks, the review featured a small ceremony to highlight a new collaboration between the DSSC, Carnegie Mellon's Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and the Magnetic Materials Center at the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan. The center hopes to propose "guidelines for magnetic materials that express excellent properties." The institute's managing director, Kazuhiro Hono, signed a memorandum of understanding with Zhu and ECE Department Head Ed Schlesinger, pledging to work together to advance the field of magnetic storage research.

"The signing of this MOU represents yet another expansion in the global impact the DSSC has in information storage," Schlesinger said. "This collaboration will no doubt yield the kinds of advances that the DSSC is known for and which have been critical in advancing information storage technologies."

The DSSC's fall technical review is tentatively planned for the last week in September. Stay tuned to for more information as the review approaches.

ECE PhD student Mark Lin discusses his research with a member of industry during the Spring 2010 Technical Review.