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EHDR Program

INSIC Announces Conclusion of the EHDR Research Program

On December 30th, 2010, INSIC announced the conclusion of its long-running Research Program in Extremely High Density Recording (EHDR) for advanced magnetic hard disk drive technology, which was originally established in 1996 and has served the information storage industry outstandingly for more than 14 years.

The EHDR Program supported approximately 400 research projects during it’s duration, involved more than 20 sponsor companies from the HDD industry and its infrastructure, included participation by nearly 40 of the world’s leading research universities (in eight countries), as well as by multiple government-sponsored research laboratories in three countries.  The EHDR Program accomplished all of this at a cost to the industry sponsors of less than $12.7M (plus an additional $1.9M received directly from the National Science Foundation), not including the many additional grants from the NSF and other government agencies (worldwide) that were received directly by the Program’s participating researchers with INSIC’s support.

The EHDR Program (along with its predecessors, the HEADS and UHDR Programs, as well as INSIC’s pioneering HAMR Program with its revolutionary developments in Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording) has been instrumental in developing many of the technologies found in today’s HDD products, and through it’s evolving set of goals (from 100 Gbpsi to 1 Tbpsi and, eventually, to 10 Tbpsi) has clearly set the stage for many of the technologies for the industry’s future.  More importantly, the Program proved that companies in the highly competitive HDD industry were capable of working together on the development of precompetitive technologies to ensure their collective future – a premise that was openly doubted by many when we began the effort. 

The HDD industry owes a huge vote of thanks to the industry’s Sponsor Technology Executives of 1996-1998 (see accompanying photo), who along with then-NSIC Executive Director Barry Schechtman and Senior Advisor Denis Mee, had the vision to launch and nurture the EHDR Program through its formative years, while enormous credit for the long-term success of the Program is owed to Mark Kryder, who expertly and faithfully guided the technical efforts of the Program as its only Technical Director, and to the late Sharon Rotter, who served tirelessly as Senior Program Manager for the entirety of the Program.

Perhaps most importantly, the EHDR Program has contributed significantly to the development of several generations of technologists for the HDD industry through its support of graduate student research.  Many of these former EHDR “alumni” now populate senior technologist and technology management positions in the industry, while others have gone on to other academic institutions to successfully extend the reach of research relevant to the HDD industry.

On behalf of INSIC and the EHDR Program, we wish to thank the EHDR Leadership Team for their many dedicated contributions to the direction of the EHDR Program and to the research progress that it was able to achieve, and last, but certainly not least, we thank the University Researchers who participated in the Program.  We take great pride in their many ground-breaking accomplishments and we wish them the very best of success going forward.


EHDR Program Sponsor Technology Executives of 1998: (left to right)
Ken Lee (Quantum), Denis Mee (NSIC), Marc Nussbaum (Western Digital),
Jon Fields (Lucent), Aric Menon (Read-Rite), Chris Bajorek (Komag), Barry Schechtman (NSIC), Bob Scranton (IBM),   Paul Frank (Applied Magnetics),
Mark Kryder (Carnegie Mellon University), Tom Porter (Seagate),
Cliff Boler (VTC) and Mike Chang (Headway)       



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