David B. Bogy, a researcher specializing in hard disk drive mechanics with contributions that have helped pave the way for smaller device sizes and increased storage capacity, was honored by IEEE with the 2010 IEEE Reynold B. Johnson Data Storage Device Technology Award. IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional association.

The award, sponsored by Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, recognizes Bogy for leadership, education and technical contributions in the mechanics and tribology of magnetic recording disk drives. The award was presented January 20 at the IEEE International Magnetics Conference in Washington, D.C.

Hard disk drives (HDDs) handle the data storage needs of systems as large as institutional databases to devices as tiny as MP3 players. The approximately billion-fold increase in HDD density and capacity witnessed since their inception in the 1950s is made possible by shrinking the physical dimensions of HDDs. One example is how the spacing of the air bearing sliders that position the read/write head next to the rotating disk has been reduced from a gap of several micrometers to now only a few nanometers. This is considered one of the great achievements in nanotechnology, and one in which the work of Bogy and his students have played a key role. 

Focusing on the mechanics of data storage systems since the 1970s, Bogy is well known for the development and continuous improvement of air bearing simulation models. He and his students began developing the software for static and dynamic solutions for air bearing sliders in HDDs in the 1980s, which led to the gap reduction breakthrough. This work continues today at the Computer Mechanics Laboratory (CML), which he founded in 1989 at the University of California, Berkeley. The CML air bearing software is used by major disk drive companies for bearing design and simulation. Much of Bogy’s early research represents the first published discussion of topics key to the improvement of HDD mechanics, such as the application of laser Doppler vibrometry, using the read back signal to study slider dynamics, load/unload systems and the interaction of lubricants with sliders. Bogy has devoted much time to the study of friction, lubrication and wear (tribology) and their effects on HDDs.

Another of Bogy’s important contributions to the HDD industry is the training he has provided to his doctorate students, many of whom are able to hit the ground running when hired by industry. His innovative educational approach has gained credibility with industry, which enables him to expose his students to many HDD companies so they encounter relevant and current problems. The end result is a graduate who can problem solve, who is creative and who can be immediately productive in the industry.   

An IEEE Fellow and Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and American Academy of Mechanics, Bogy has published approximately 340 archival journal papers. His honors include the ASME Tribology Division’s Mayo D. Hersey Award and election to the National Academy of Engineering (1994). He obtained his bachelor’s degree in geology and mechanical engineering and master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Rice University, Houston, Texas. He received a doctorate in applied mathematics from Brown University, Providence, RI, and was a postdoctoral fellow in applied mechanics at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. Bogy is currently the William S. Floyd Jr. Distinguished Professor in Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.
About IEEE
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