Campus and Community

IST Distinguished Lecture by professor José Fonseca de Moura

After being awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa by Universidade de Lisboa, on September 13, professor José Fonseca de Moura gave a Distinguished Lecture entitled “A story that weaves itself by detecting data on hard drives”, this Thursday, September 16, at Técnico – Alameda campus.

The IST Distinguished Lecture was attended by several colleagues, students and admirers of the CMU professor. “Professor José Fonseca de Moura left Técnico 36 years ago, nevertheless he maintained regular contact with Técnico, and he knows more about our School than most of us, who are here every day”, said the president of Técnico, professor Rogério Colaço, who also attended the Distinguished Lecture.

In the early 90’s, the Técnico alumnus joined a team at Carnegie Mellon University that, with support from the US National Science Foundation (NSF), set to develop in ten years a hard disk drive that increased by two orders of magnitude the magnetic recording density. “In 1987, Mark [Kryder] decided to put together a team, of which I was part, and suggested the NSF to make a big effort to build a disk drive”, he recalled.

Professor José Fonseca de Moura and his PhD student, Aleksandar Kavic, created a detector that read accurately those bits recorded in ever small magnetic domains.

In 1997, CMU filed with the US Patent Office a provisional patent on the Kavcic-Moura design. In the early 2000s, the USPTO issued two patents on this technology. However, in 2009, a legal battle began with Marvell for patent infringement related to two hard disk drives.

7 years later, the lawsuit had the largest ever verdict in information technology – about US$1.5Billion – and then, in 2016, the US$750M settlement between CMU and a chip designer, the largest intellectual property (IP) settlement ever.

“At that time, it was estimated that 2.23Billion chips in over 60% of all computers sold worldwide were found to incorporate our patented technology, Today, it is estimated that this number is well over 4Billion”, said professor José Fonseca de Moura.

The IST Distinguished Lecture is available on Técnico’s Youtube channel.