Director's Welcome

Eric FullertonWelcome to the website of the Center for Memory and Recording Research (CMRR), a multi-disciplinary organized research unit (ORU) at the University of California, San Diego.

At CMRR, our mission is to excel in research, education, and the transfer of innovative ideas in the field of information storage technology and systems, particularly advanced data storage based upon magnetic recording.

Why Magnetic Recording?

Advanced data storage systems represent one of the pillars of today's information age. They enable the computing and communication technologies that help drive our economy and improve the quality of our lives. Among the various approaches to storing information, magnetic recording on disks and tapes offers an unmatched combination of large storage capacity, small physical size, random and fast access to data, non-volatility, and low cost. This accounts for the ubiquitous presence of magnetic recording devices in information systems at all scales: central computing facilities, desktop workstations, and portable computers. Increasingly, they are enabling very popular consumer electronics applications, such as digital cameras, "smart" video recording units (such as TiVo), video game machines (such as Microsoft Xbox), and personal digital music players (such as Apple iPod). As of Fall of 2004, over 2 billion disk-drives had been sold, and the growing number of applications such as those just mentioned should push that number to over 3.5 billion within the next few years.

Storage - Nanotechnology in Action

Magnetic recording is extremely "high-tech." It has had to be, in order to sustain the remarkable progress that, in the past 15 years, has increased areal density by a factor of about 2,500 - from 60 Megabits (60 million bits) per square inch to about 150 Gigabits (150 billion bits) per square inch - while reducing the cost per bit by a factor of 5,000 - from $5 per megabyte to under one-tenth of one cent per megabyte.

From another perspective, the rate of growth in areal density during the past decade - greater than 60% annually, and 100% annually since 1998 - has exceeded the growth rate of transistor density in the semiconductor industry - about 40% annually - following "Moore's Law."

Now that the milestone of 100 Gigabits per square inch in commercial disk drive technology has been achieved, researchers at CMRR and elsewhere are striving toward the ambitious goal of 1 Terabit (1 trillion bits) per square inch.

What Makes CMRR Unique?

Since its inception, CMRR has served as a model for successful partnering between research universities, industrial organizations, and government agencies at the state and national levels.

See Sponsors for a list of sponsor companies and collaborating organizations.

At the core of our technical programs are the four Endowed Professorships, established at the founding of the Center. The research of our chaired faculty span the broad range of scientific and engineering disciplines underlying modern information storage technologies: magnetic materials and devices; micromagnetics and recording physics; mechanical interfaces and tribology; and information theory, coding, and signal processing. The success of the Center is built upon faculty commitment to fundamental research investigations that is motivated by, and bear upon, problems in future information storage technologies.

CMRR's research activities are greatly enriched through interactions with over a dozen Researchers and Affiliated Faculty members, working in areas such as Physics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Operations Management. The expertise of these colleagues both deepens and broadens the scope of Center research programs, allowing us to keep abreast of new scientific and engineering developments that could have an impact on future information storage technology.

The Center for Magnetic Recording Research has a long history of research contributions to the science and engineering of data storage technology. Just as important, if not more, the Center has created strong educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels. Our graduates have gone on to distinguished careers in academic and industrial research, as well as to prominent positions in advanced product development and technology management in the data storage industry. Through our seminars, research reviews, and interactions with the technical community, we also provide many opportunities for continuing education.

The Future of Data Storage

The future is bright for information storage technology, with many exciting technical challenges to face, new directions to explore, and discoveries to be made. At CMRR, we look forward to continuing our leadership role in shaping this future, through our carefully defined programs of basic and applied research, education and professional training at all levels, and close cooperation with the global information storage community.