On September 16th at 11am (Lisbon time), CMU Portugal Director at Carnegie Mellon University, José M. F. Moura will give a Distinguished Lecture at Instituto Superior Técnico (Alameda campus, in Lisbon) titled “Uma história que se tece detetando dados em discos rígidos”/ “A story that weaves itself by detecting data on hard drives”.
Abstract: Our digital life generates and consumes massive amounts of data. We take for granted the ever small hard disk drives that store the data and from which we read it back accurately – accurately, so we trust that we will read tomorrow exactly the same data that we recorded yesterday. But recording more and more in less challenges the recording and read back technologies. In the early 90’s, I was part of a team at Carnegie Mellon University that, with support from the US National Science Foundation, set to develop in ten years a hard disk drive that increased by two orders of magnitude (a factor of 100) the magnetic recording density – meaning that, in the same volume, we could store 100 times more data. My part of the deal was to come up with a detector, i.e., the contraption that read accurately those bits recorded in ever small magnetic domains. This became the PhD thesis of my then student Alek Kavcic. In 1997, CMU filed with the US Patent Office a provisional patent on the Kavcic-Moura design. Two patents eventually issued in the early 2000s. I will describe, in the historical context of the disk drive industry in the early 1990’s, the challenge of accurately recovering bits in high density recording, how we went about understanding the problem, developing the “optimal” solution, and then making it practical (to fit a tiny read head in a hard disk drive). By itself, this would appeal to the expert. But there is more to this 25 years saga. I will explain what I learned from the various interactions with industry and with CMU, from the main steps in the seven years litigation in US Federal courts, from the largest ever verdict in information technology (IT) (roughly, US$1.5Billion (thousand millions), and finally, in 2016, from the US$750M settlement between CMU and a chip designer, the largest intellectual property (IP) settlement ever. In 2016, 2.23Billion chips in over 60% of all computers sold worldwide were found to incorporate our patented technology, Today, it is estimated that this number is well over 4Billion.
Moderator: José M. N. Leitão, Retired Full Professor (IST/DEEC; IT).
Venue: Civil Engineering building, Congress Centre, Auditorium, floor 01.
More information at Técnico website.