Artifact Details


Mallary, Michael oral history

Catalog Number





This oral history interview is with Dr. Michael L. Mallary, who was originally trained as a high energy physicist at Caltech but found his way into the storage technology field and credited with numerous inventions, patents and publications in the field over his illustrious career. Dr. Mallary began his career in storage technology at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), starting in 1980 where he worked for 14 years. He made many contributions there, solving highly technical problems with DEC products and inventing very innovative recording head designs, which are still used today. In particular, he invented the shielded pole perpendicular writer. This is US patent 4656546 in 1987, which allowed supporting engineering developments to double areal density. It (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) has been predominant in the industry since 2005. After DEC was purchased by Quantum in 1994, Dr. Mallary remained with the company and made critical contribution to the acceptance of perpendicular recording in the disk drive industry through his contributions. He was a key contributor in the National Storage Industry Consortium, or NSIC, which had as its charter to increase the areal density in magnetic recording. He continued to make his contributions felt through the industry while working for Maxtor Corporation, which took over the Quantum operation in Shrewsbury. After Maxtor, he was at Seagate and Western Digital Corporation working on advanced high-density recording concepts such as heat-assisted recording, or HAMR, microwave-assisted recording, or MAMR, and two-dimensional recording, or TDR. Through his 165 issued patents and 57 technical publications, Dr. Mallary is one of the key innovators in the storage technology field.




Mallary, Michael, Interviewee
Saviers, Grant, Interviewer
Yamashita, Tom, Interviewer


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, CA


27 p.






Magnetic recording heads; Perpendicular Magnetic Recording; Shielded pole heads; Magneto resistive heads; MR heads; Diamond heads; National Storage Industry Consortium (NSIC); Microwave Assisted Magnetic Recording (MAMR); Global warming

Collection Title

CHM Oral History Collection


Computer History Museum

Lot Number


Related Records

102781591 Mallary, Michael oral history