Magazine article Information Today

Technology Grant for Optical Disk Research

Magazine article Information Today

Technology Grant for Optical Disk Research

Article excerpt

The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced that the Eastman Kodak Company has been selected to receive a four-year, $6.3 million grant to develop a new optical disk system with one terabyte of storage per platter-more than 40 times the storage capacity of today's technology.

Large-format optical disk systems are used to output and store data from mainframe and networked computers using large digital files requiring quick, cost-effective retrieval. The current Kodak Optical Disk System 2000 uses laser-writing and media technology to store data on 14-inch optical disks, with a capacity of up to 14.8 gigabytes per platter. Up to 100 of these disks can be placed in the Kodak automated disk library, or jukebox, which today stores close to two terabytes of data, and provides users access to any individual file in seconds. Kodak offers the only optical media that is approved by the International Standards Qrganization (ISO) as a standard for large-format optical recording.

Optical disk systems are commonly used by organizations such as financial institutions, insurance companies, engineering firms, publishing companies, hospitals, and government agencies. The Internal Revenue Service, for example, is using 14-inch Kodak optical disk systems to store and retrieve taxpayer returns electronically instead of on paper.

The Commerce Department awarded 21 technology grants and over $70 million as part of its Advanced Technology Program (ATP). The program provides cost-shared funding to industry in support of strategic research into cutting-edge technologies with broad-based economic benefits for the U.S.

Kodak's proposal was part of a collaborative effort with three other development partners: the National Storage Industry Consortium of San Diego, SDL of San Jose, and Camegie-Mellon University, of Pittsburgh. The team was collectively awarded over $10 million and will invest an additional $11 million of their own funds in the project as part of the cost-sharing agreement.

"This award will be a big boost to our current efforts to leverage Kodak's existing optical disk technology, slated to store 200 gigabytes on a 14-inch optical platter by the year 2000," said Jim Barnard, manager for advanced research and development, storage products. "Our research efforts will focus on developing smaller bit sizes, multilayered storage media, and shorter wavelength laser light for reading and writing. …

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