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Engineering News Spring 2019

Engineering Alumnus and Serial Entrepreneur Hemant Thapar ’73 MS ’75 Elected to the Elite National Academy of Engineering

Hemant Thapar, ’73 MS ’75, a pioneer in circuit-switched networking, data communications, and data storage, has been elected to one of his industry’s highest bodies, the National Academy of Engineering, for his groundbreaking work in data storage and retrieval.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 27, 2109—Hemant Thapar, ’73 MS ’75,  a pioneer in  circuit-switched networking, data communications, and data storage, has been elected to one of his industry’s highest bodies, the National Academy of Engineering.

“Dr. Thapar’s work in data processing in the 1980s and 90s was seminal to how information is stored and retrieved on our electronic devices today. In the disk drive industry that was constantly pushing for speed, density, and affordability, his research not only allowed information to be stored more densely, it also afforded reliable retrieval of the data,” said Shoba Krishnan, chair and professor of electrical engineering in SCU’s School of Engineering. “His work has became the de facto industry standard in fields including data recovery in hard disk drive and tape drive products. The School of Engineering is proud to call him a colleague, an alumnus, and a valued advisor.”

Thapar has given generously to Santa Clara University as an adjunct lecturer in electrical engineering from 1984 to 2004, and as a current advisory board member for the School of Engineering.

In 2018, he was selected for the School of Engineering’s highest honor, the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, for his advancement of electrical and computer science and engineering, and service to the School.

In electing him to the Academy, its leaders cited Thapar’s contributions to the “theory and practice of coding and signal processing for high-density magnetic recording."  His ground-breaking research in data storage and retrieval was immediately adopted in industry and formed the foundation for follow-on work in the field of magnetic storage  at universities and research laboratories.

Thapar is the chairman, CEO, and co-founder of OmniTier, a Milpitas-based company that utilizes memory technology to create customized, accelerated software solutions for genomics, web caching, and machine learning analytics.  He previously founded and led two successful startups, DataPath Systems and Link_A_Media Devices, which were acquired by LSI Corporation and SK Hynix, respectively. 

During his early career, Thapar held technical and management positions at Bell Telephone Laboratories, Holmdel, and IBM, where he made pioneering contributions in circuit-switched networking, data communications, and data storage.  He has more than 50 publications in the areas of data communications and storage, is co-recipient of three best paper awards, and served as a guest editor of two special issues of the IEEE Transactions on Selected Areas in Communications devoted to data storage technologies.

Thapar was elected fellow of the IEEE for his contributions to the theory, development, and commercial deployment of advanced data recovery methods in data storage and transmission.  He holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Purdue University.

Thapar serves on the board of directors of Assia Corporation, and on the advisory board of India’s Ambala College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. 

Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature" and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education. 

About the National Academy of Engineering.
Founded in 1964, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. The mission of the National Academy of Engineering is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.

Alumni, Awards, Engineering, Technology