Illustration by Christine Hipp.
Illustration by Christine Hipp.

The way we store and access data in the modern world is changing, now more than ever. To keep up with the times researchers at UC Santa Cruz have spent years trying to find a place just to fit it all.

After over a decade of research into data storage, UCSC will soon open the new Center for Research in Storage Systems (CRSS) with collaboration and financial support from some of the information industry’s biggest names.

Darrell Long, a UCSC professor of computer science and a storage systems researcher, said there is an enormous amount of data out there — “big data,” as he referred to it — that is constantly being saved in huge quantities. Without a comprehensive filtering method, going back to find old files will be difficult, he said.

“We keep accumulating data — so much that it can easily get lost in space,” Long said. “We want to make it easier to find it.”

For years, the Storage Systems Research Center, which is part of the Jack Baskin School of Engineering, has analyzed a wide array of data storage topics. The new CRSS however has the backing of the National Science Foundation — arming UCSC researchers with an increased arsenal of tools. The CRSS also has over a dozen sponsors from major tech companies, including Hitachi, Intel, HP, IBM, Samsung and SanDisk. Altogether, the CRSS has a $465,000 annual budget at its disposal.

Graduate student Ian Adams said UCSC’s research has kept sponsors interested, and the program funded. He added that graduate students involved in the program were seeing “no shortage of job offers.”

“A lot of us are leaving soon, so all of these projects could use more help,” Adams said.

Adams said he is excited by the recent access to a research project concerning genomic data alongside Hitachi and UCSF.

“There are a lot of different projects going on at the same time, so all of us are kind of working on different things,” Li said.

Professor Long said he hopes to preserve the format of current files as the days of our lives integrate with a digital environment.