Released: May 6, 1999
Bradshaw's research investigates computer file systems
DANVILLE, KY -- When South Pekin resident Michael Bradshaw was chosen to become a John C. Young Scholar at Centre College this year, he decided to focus his research project of a potential "fast file" computer system. He has spent much of this year writing computer code and studying computer algorithms in hopes of confirming a way to store and retrieve computer files that's faster than the traditional hard drive.
Bradshaw now has several notebooks filled with computer code, and his overall academic achievements have earned him a spot in a prestigious graduate school for the fall. He will enroll in the doctoral program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst after graduating from Centre this year with a bachelor's degree in computer science and mathematics.
Of his current research project, Bradshaw says that speedy file retrieval is a growing issue among computer scientists as they deal with comparatively slower storage systems compared to the speed of the computer. "Most computer systems currently store files on a rotating hard disc, which is read by a moving arm," Bradshaw explains. "That moving part tends to slow things down, and the loss of speed can be noticeable in the instance of a really large hard drive with lots of files."
Bradshaw notes that files which are stored on a hard disc are actually broken up into segments and distributed to random locations on the disc. The computer's operating system must find the segments and put them back together when they are needed.
In contrast, says Bradshaw, on the tape storage systems used in the early days of computers, every file was kept intact in storage, and separate files were stored end-to-end. That combination provided for speed in finding files, but it created problems if a file was expanded and needed more storage space.
Bradshaw is exploring options for an operating system that would combine the speed of tape storage with the expendability of a hard disc. Using a Linux operating system as his base, he has written code that runs the file system, and he will continue to work on other aspects of the system in the remaining weeks of the school term. Bradshaw also has learned that one of the professors in his doctoral program has an entire lab devoted to research about fast file systems. The Centre senior hopes to have the opportunity to join that research team.
At Centre, Bradshaw's research is supervised by Dr. David Binger, assistant professor of computer science.
Bradshaw is a graduate of Pekin Community High School. His parents
are Elizabeth Bradshaw of South Pekin and Kenneth Bradshaw of Peoria.
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