Presidential Lecture Series: “History and Future of Data Storage Technology” – November 5

The ninth installment of the Presidential Lecture Series, hosted by President Alan W. Cramb, will be held on Thursday, November 5, 2015.

History and Future of Data Storage Technology

The market for data storage technology is expanding at a rapid pace. The total capacity of hard disk drives (HDDs) shipped in 2015 is projected to be 600 exabytes in 2015, but 900 exabytes in 2018. Moreover the density of recording has increased from 2000 bits per square inch in 1956 to 1.38 terabits per square inch today, which is an increase of 690 million fold—a pace commensurate with Moore’s Law for semiconductors. Historically HDDs have been as critical to advances in computing as semiconductors— and continue to be. The 5.25-inch disk drive, first introduced by Seagate in 1978, enabled the IBM PC, and the 2.5- and 1.8-inch disk drives enabled laptop computers. Today, disk drives are enabling the cloud.

For the future, HDD manufacturers and universities are pursuing new technologies that are expected to continue increasing the areal density of recording on HDDs. These technologies include two-dimensional magnetic recording, heat-assisted magnetic recording, and bit-patterned media recording. It is expected that at least an order of magnitude increase in areal density and capacity will yet occur.

Although the areal density and capacity of data stored on a HDD has increased at a pace equal to that of Moore’s Law for semiconductors, the improvement in speed performance on HDDs has lagged that of areal density and capacity. This has contributed to making solid state drives based on flash technology attractive in both mobile devices and highperformance applications, where either a limited amount of storage is needed or where fast read-access time is critical. However, flash is more expensive than storage on hard drives, and this has limited its use in applications requiring large volumes of data, such as the cloud. Recently hybrid HDDs, which utilize a small amount of flash memory in a HDD, have emerged to provide a device with the cost/gigabyte of a hard drive and the access time of flash, and are finding their way into desktops, laptops, and enterprise computing. For the more distant future, new solid state devices such as spin torque transfer random access memory are being pursued.

This presentation will describe the evolution of high-density data storage technology and will project what might be expected in the future.

Thursday, November 5, 2015
3:30 p.m. – Lecture, Hermann Hall Ballroom, 3241 South Federal Street
5 p.m. – Reception, Hermann Hall Gallery

RSVP here no later than Thursday, October 29.

Complimentary parking will be available in the A4 (32nd and State Street) and B5 (32nd and Federal Street), parking lots.

About the Speaker:


Mark H. Kryder

Mark H. Kryder is University Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He received a B.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1965, and a M.S. in electrical engineering and Ph.D. in electrical engineering and physics from Caltech in 1966 and 1970, respectively. From 1969–1971 he was a research fellow at Caltech, and from 1971–73 he was a visiting scientist at the University of Regensburg in Germany. From 1973–78 he was a research staff member and manager of Exploratory Magnetic Bubble Devices at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center.

Kryder joined CMU in 1978; he founded the Magnetics Technology Center and the Data Storage Systems Center there in 1983 and 1990, respectively. Under his direction, the Data Storage Systems Center became the largest academic research center in the world in the field of data storage technology. From 1998–2007 he was senior vice president of research and chief technical officer at Seagate Technology. He led the effort to introduce perpendicular recording technology and foresaw the need for full disk encryption—both of which are used in disk drives today—to protect data on hard drives from theft. He also initiated and championed the program on heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), which Seagate recently announced was used to demonstrate an information storage density exceeding 1 terabit per square inch. Upon retiring from Seagate in 2007, he returned to CMU, where he is continuing research on HAMR and has initiated a research program on materials for spin torque transfer random access memory.

Kryder has more than 370 publications and 25 patents in the field of magnetic memory and storage technology, and has graduated 40 Ph.D. students. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of both the American Physical Society and IEEE. He has been awarded the Carnegie Tech Distinguished Engineer Award, the Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award, the IEEE Magnetics Society Achievement Award, the IEEE Reynold B. Johnson Information Storage Systems Award, the IEEE third Millennium Medal, the American Physical Society George E. Pake Prize, the Public Service Medal of Singapore, and the 2014 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering for his leadership in introducing perpendicular recording into disk drives.

Watch the previous Presidential Lecture Series videos here.