SDI Seminar

Speaker: Steve Schlosser, Carnegie Mellon University

Date: June 8, 2000
Time: Noon
Place: Hamerschlag Hall D210

Modeling and Performance of MEMS-based Storage Devices


MEMS-based storage devices are seen by many as promising alternatives to disk drives. Fabricated using MEMS processes that are compatible with conventional CMOS, MEMS-based storage consists of thousands of small, mechanical probe tips that access gigabytes of high-density, nonvolatile magnetic storage. This work takes a first step towards understanding the performance characteristics of these devices by mapping them onto a disk-like metaphor. Using simulation models based on the mechanics equations governing the devices' operation, this work explores how different physical characteristics (e.g., actuator forces and per-tip data rates) impact the design trade-offs and performance of MEMS-based storage. Overall results indicate that average access times for MEMS-based storage are 15 times faster than for a modern disk (0.66 ms vs. 9.7 ms). Results from filesystem and database benchmarks show that this improvement significantly reduces application I/O stall times, resulting in overall performance improvements of 5X.

Steve Schlosser is a third-year graduate student in ECE. His interests include computer systems, operating systems, mobile computers, and talking to people about cool new technologies like MEMS-based storage. He also did his undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon in ECE and so is nearing the beginning of his seventh year in Pittsburgh.