SuperWomen in Flash Panel What Do Users Need to Know About Next-Generation Form Factors?
Guest Post

FMS Special Presentation: UC Santa Cruz School of Engineering

In this short presentation, learn about The Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz, their two leading storage research centers and how your organization can get involved with them.

Download this presentation: UC Santa Cruz School of Engineering

0:00:00 Frank Howley: Well, good morning. Thank you very much for taking the time to learn about UC Santa Cruz and the wonderful work we're doing in our two very distinct storage research centers. I'm Frank Howley, I'm the senior director of corporate development. My job is to get companies to get engaged with the research and programs of the school. I've been doing that for about nine years after having had a successful career in Silicon Valley in semiconductors and came back to help my alma mater.

So I'm going to tell you a little bit about UC Santa Cruz to begin with. UC Santa Cruz has been around about 51 years. It is now at about 20,000 students. It's been ranked very highly in the national rankings, number 26 in a list of top public universities. We're an official Hispanic-serving institution, and we've gotten a lot of awards for being a great place for Hispanics to go to school. And also, a third of our students are first in family to go to college, so we're very focused on trying to help those who haven't had a history of higher education, to get a higher education. We're very, very pleased that we're able to do that.

0:01:11 FH: We recently were inducted into the Association of American Universities. This is an elite group of about 60 universities in the United States that are recognized both for their teaching excellence and their research excellence, and we're pleased to have been invited in at the same time as UC Irvine.

So, Baskin Engineering is about a quarter of all of UC Santa Cruz. We've got about 5,000 students, split between undergrad and grads. We are internationally known for the work we do in computing and genomics, bioinformatics, storage, computer game design. We don't do everything in the world in terms of engineering, we just try and do a few things and do them very well. We've got around 100 faculty, and we've got partnerships with more than 60 different companies in Silicon Valley. And we have our faculty often going back and forth between working at the university and then taking their sabbaticals at companies.

0:02:12 FH: We have a number of eminent faculty who have been recognized by their peers around academia as being great at what they do, AAAS Fellows, IEEE Fellows, ACM Fellows. In fact, my boss, Dean Alex Wolf, was the president of the ACM for a number of years before he gave up that job to become the Dean of the Baskin School of Engineering. We're very pleased to have him.

So, we've got about nine endowed chairs, and I bring these up because three of these are storage related, so that tells you something about the excellence of our faculty in the storage world. The first is the Kumar Malavalli Endowed Chair in storage systems. Kumar was one of the founders of Brocade, and after he made his money at Brocade he went off and did an independent analysis of which universities were doing the best research in storage in the United States, and it came down to UC Santa Cruz and Carnegie Mellon. And he decided to give us a chair rather than giving it to Carnegie Mellon, which we certainly appreciate, and one of our eminent storage faculty sits in that chair.

0:03:22 FH: We also, then, have Sage Weil, who got his Ph.D. when he was at UC Santa Cruz in computer science. He invented Ceph, which is part of the Linux distribution and is quite successfully used now. He had a company, which he sold to Red Hat, and with some of that money from the sale of his company he was able to set up a presidential chair for open source software that another of our eminent faculty in the storage world sits in.

And then finally, Veritas has given us a presidential chair in storage and security. So, a third of our chairs are storage related, so that tells you a lot about the focus we have on that aspect of industry.

0:04:08 FH: So, we have two very well-known storage research centers, one is the Center for Research and Storage Systems. This has been going for about nine years. It works on a wide range of industry-relevant topics in storage of all sorts. It has been very well supported by industry. We have an industrial advisory board that consists of basically the entire ecosystem of the storage world, from component manufacturers like Seagate and Samsung, going up to system manufacturers like Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and then having hyperscaler users like Facebook are participating together in guiding the faculty's research for the work we do in storage, and they're providing them resources. There's a membership fee that each of them pays that helps support the graduate students across multiple faculty working in the Center.

0:05:11 FH: The other center that we have that's focused primarily on storage is one that was endowed by Sage Weil, and that is the Center for Research and Open Source Software. This center also has an industrial advisory board. We have three major companies now supporting this. We are doing some very interesting work in storage, also some work in other areas outside of storage, by this particular research group. One of those areas that I'll point out is the use of social storage devices, which is an industry-wide standardization effort for making smart storage. And so this is work that's being done inside of the Center for Research and Open Source Software, and is one that we welcome any of your companies to join us in, and we'd be happy to set up meetings to talk about either of those centers for any of you who are interested.

0:06:09 FH: I will point out that we've also done a couple of -- actually more than a couple -- of industry storage-related research projects or individual sponsored research. A few years ago, Western Digital did one with us in genomics, and here's the press release from January of 2019 about that.

So, one set of faculty in the genomic side, another set of faculty on the storage side working together with their graduate students on the company on genomics for a research. These genomics will be the largest source of data for any of us in our lifetimes relative to anything else that's out there. So, figuring how to manage genomic data appropriately is a great economic advantage for companies which is why WD did this with us. We actually have a similar project with Seagate where they are also doing a genomic storage project with a different group of faculty in genomics and a different group of faculty on the storage side.

0:07:13 FH: So, as well as having these two outstanding groups in storage research that have industrial advisory boards that we'd love to have you join, we also run a program for undergraduates called the Corporate Sponsored Senior Projects Program. This allows teams of three to five students to work on a project that you would define for your company, something of interest or value to you. And the students send in the fall, here are the pitches from companies about their projects and about the company itself. By the end of the fall quarter they've aligned into who's working on which projects, and then all through winter and spring quarters, the students do the work in teams of three to five, each putting in 15 hours a week on the projects.

0:08:03 FH: So, this is a great opportunity to get to know a bunch of eager undergrads in their last year of college who are looking to work on a project that's interesting to you and project that's sponsored by your company. We charge for this program. We use the money from the program primarily to build new labs for students pay for TAs, and basically support the undergraduate educational experience.

0:08:32 FH: Last year was our biggest year of doing this, we had both gigantic companies and tiny companies doing it, so we have different price points for large companies versus small companies. As defined by the federal government, we'd be very happy to talk with your company about doing these sorts of projects, and there are a wide range of both hardware and software things that have been done by our students.

0:08:56 FH: So, if you are participating in any of those programs, we run customer recruiting events at the school, and last year we had more than 200 students show up to talk to these companies. We would love to have your company's name be up here again for our next round of doing this. And we certainly would welcome any sort of engagement to help support our graduate students through the centers or through sponsored research projects or through the corporate sponsor senior projects program. Finally, this is how you get a hold of me. I appreciate your time and attention. I'm at time. Thank you very much.

Dig Deeper on Flash memory and storage

Disaster Recovery
Data Backup
Data Center
Sustainability and ESG