Schools Need to Teach About I/O

By Henry Newman

A few times a year, I get to work with CS and EE professors from many well know universities from all around the USA. Most of these professors work with graduate students, but I always ask them about what both graduate and under-graduates students at their universities are taught about I/O and storage. In every case, the answer I get is, really nothing. Most say that I/O and storage is covered as a lesson in computer architecture. I am 100% sure that there are some universities that do teach about I/O and storage, but there are not many.

I know, for example, that Carnegie Mellon University has an extensive program, as does University of California Santa Cruz, as well as a few other schools. But these few schools are the exception, not the norm. I believe there needs to be an intensive program to teach both how to do I/O and the advantages and disadvantages of various languages and methods, along with teaching about file system design and I/O drivers issues in universities around the country.

This needs to be done as part of many classes in many disciplines. I believe that doing this would provide a competitive advantage for our country over the long term in many areas. I recently told the Information Storage Industry Consortium it needed to develop a program to teach in universities about proper usage of tape and how tape should fit into various I/O architectures. Maybe those of us that know and feel passionate about the topic should volunteer to do something about it at a local university. Count me in.

This article was originally published on June 06, 2011