IBM donates large data storage system to UC Berkeley's digital library project

by Robert Sanders

Berkeley -- IBM has given a big boost to UC Berkeley's digital library research project with the donation of a data storage system valued at nearly three quarters of a million dollars and having a capacity of more than six terabytes.

The nationally funded digital library project at the University of California at Berkeley needs the storage capacity to provide on-line access to a plethora of ground and aerial photos, maps and other visuals pertaining to the California environment. The goals of the project are to create a demonstration on-line library of California environmental information and, in the process, to design elements of the "next-generation" digital library services.

"This represents a highly significant investment by IBM in their partnership with UC Berkeley's Digital Library effort," said project director Robert Wilensky, professor and head of UC Berkeley's computer science division. "We've collected lots of data for our prototype digital library -- the photo collection alone takes up nearly three terabytes of storage. This new storage system will help us investigate an important issue: how to use large storage efficiently to make all this material readily available on-line to the user."

The donated system includes an RS/6000 workstation; 96 gigabytes of magnetic disk storage that use the fast new Serial Storage Architecture (SSA); plus 6-18 terabytes of Magstar tape storage. (The capacity depends on how much the data is compressed). The tape unit operates like a jukebox: tapes of digital information are automatically loaded into the player when needed. It can be expanded to hold 50 terabytes by adding more tapes.

IBM researchers will be evaluating how the relatively high proportion of hard disks at the

UC Berkeley project speeds access to very large blocks of data or images. Such information will help the company design optimal equipment configurations for its IBM Digital Library products.

IBM's vice president for research, Paul Horn, dedicated the new data storage system Monday (April 29) in room 287 of Soda Hall.

The UC Berkeley Digital Library project is a 4-year, $4 million research project that includes faculty, staff and students in the Computer Science Division, the School of Information Management & Systems, and the Research Program in Environmental Planning & Geographic Information Systems, as well as participation from several state and local agencies and industrial partners.

Begun in 1994, the project's goal is to develop technologies for intelligent access to massive collections of information, comprising multiple databases of photographs, satellite images, videos, maps, full text documents, and what Wilensky calls "multivalent" documents containing some or all of the above.

It is funded by a joint initiative of the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency , and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

A demonstration is now available on the World Wide Web at

Two other projects at UC Berkeley also will use the new IBM storage system: The Multimedia Research Center, a group that studies applications of multimedia technology (; and a NASA-sponsored multi-year project investigating alternative data management strategies for NASA's Earth Observing System (

This server has been established by the University of California at Berkeley Public Information Office. Copyright for all items on this server held by The Regents of the University of California. Thanks for your interest in UC Berkeley.
More Press Releases | More Campus News and Events | UC Berkeley Home Page

Send comments to: