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Why This Signal Processing Pioneer Takes the Road Less Traveled

For many of us, it’s difficult to recall a time when our mobile phones were too big for our pockets, or our laptops weren’t paper-thin. But it wasn’t long ago that disk drives – the technology that stores data on digital devices – were the size of a room. Today, while they’re more like the size of a credit card and still shrinking, the sheer amount of data we’re saving to them continues to explode.

It’s a data storage problem José Moura predicted – and solved – 20 years ago.

In the early 1990s, Moura, a Carnegie Mellon University professor, and his then-student Aleksander Kavcic (now a professor at the University of Hawaii), zeroed in on a challenge they expected would eventually arise: with more data (represented by zeros and ones) being recorded in increasingly tinier spaces, how would one accurately read and recover data from the disk drive?

Using advanced signal processing technology, the two engineering pioneers invented and patented a detector that did just that.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Full story can be found in IEEE Signal Processing Society.

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