Devashish Purandare

Devashish Purandare, Ph.D student

What brought you to UC Santa Cruz?

I initially came here because UC Santa Cruz has a really good machine learning program. I also loved the weather here in California. I ended up doing something different than what I came here for because I discovered I liked systems more than machine learning. In my first quarter I took a couple of classes: one was machine learning and one was distributed systems. I did really well in distributed systems which pushed me more toward systems because I realized I liked it more and I was good at it. Then I discovered I really enjoyed working in the Storage Systems Research Lab with Ethan Miller and he told me I should consider staying on and getting my PhD and I decided that was something I’d like to do.

What research are you currently working on?

I’m working on large archival storage systems—things like capturing scientific data which you’re going to store for a long time and slowly process it and how to make them cheaper, more reliable, more energy efficient. Currently a lot of scientific institutes capture a lot of data and they slowly go through it, step by step. They have very large, expensive storage systems which are hundreds of petabytes in size. It takes a long time to access the particular data that you’re looking for that is stored somewhere and if we could predict which data is going to be accessed when, then we could place it better so that it’s quickly accessible. If we could store it more efficiently, like if we replaced it with solid-state drives (SSD’s), which are more power-efficient, we could cut down costs and access time. We could make it more reliable.

What do you like about the Baskin School of Engineering?

I like that there’s a variety of courses that are offered. You can specialize in a field but you don’t have to. You can take a bunch of classes to figure out what you like. I also like how much Baskin involves students in everything it does. Grad students are part of the faculty recruitment process and we talk to faculty candidates. I’m invited to the grad student open house for new and incoming grad students so I get to talk to those students.

I also like that I can collaborate with other departments. The research I do spans across different fields. What I’m working on right now is archival storage used in scientific storage systems, like the data captured by the large hadron collider at CERN. I’m working with the computing aspect of it but it’s also a big physics experiment. It’s fun to work with a variety of people who are working on something similar and I also see that a lot in the external invited talks that happen at Baskin. One of the talks I attended was about how to keep your computer running when you’re a land rover on Mars. And there are so many thing you have to deal with which are not related to computer science, like the radiation you have to deal with and how it affects the computer on the rover. So a lot of interdisciplinary stuff is super fascinating and useful.

Computer Science and Engineering
Degree Program: 
Ph.D, Computer Science
Place of Birth: 
Undergraduate Institution: 
University of Pune
Graduate Institution: 
UC Santa Cruz
Ethan Miller