Bill Courtright is the Executive Director, and a founding member, of Carnegie Mellon University’s Parallel Data Laboratory (PDL), a multi-disciplinary academic research organization with strong ties to industrial partners. Since its formation in 1993, the PDL has delivered a significant body of storage systems work to the public domain, in forms including software releases, research publications and standards development. The PDL is composed of approximately 50 faculty, staff and student members and is directly supported by over a dozen leading technology companies and several government organizations.
From 2007-2015, Dr. Courtright served as adjunct professor in the Tepper School of Business, teaching an interdisciplinary course in entrepreneurship.
Dr. Courtright initially joined the PDL as its Executive Director in 1998, but went on leave in 1999 to co-found Panasas, a storage systems company. Dr. Courtright served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer for the first two years of operation, responsible for product development, financial management, shareholder relations, and human resources. As the company matured, Dr. Courtright eventually focused his efforts on engineering program management and intellectual property management. In 2004, he returned to the PDL.
Dr. Courtright received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kansas in 1986 and was inducted into Eta Kappa Nu. He then became the lead design engineer for five hardware products at NCR’s Storage Systems Division from 1986 to 1992, with responsibilities from concept through introduction to manufacturing and customer acceptance. One of these products, an ASIC, was featured on the cover of Electronic Design as a component of the industry's first RAID chipset. During this period he also led an overhaul of the CAE environment and earned a MS in Computer Engineering from the National Technological University.
Dr. Courtright was then granted a sponsored academic leave between 1993 and 1995 to attend graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University. He was a founding member of the PDL, which held its first workshop in 1993. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering for his work in the use of transactional mechanisms in the design and implementation of redundant disk array software. This work led to the production of RAIDframe, a RAID implementation that is deployed in industrial and academic settings, including availability in NetBSD.
After returning to NCR (which had since been spun off from AT&T and become Symbios Logic) he worked in the strategic marketing organization, contributing to new business development and product roadmap decisions, followed by a year in the server and storage architecture organization. While in this latter position, he played a significant role in the development of the architecture and implementation of a next-generation storage management system. During 1996-1998, Dr. Courtright was also responsible for patent activity in the Storage Systems Division of Symbios Logic; he is a co-inventor of nine patents in the field of storage systems. Dr. Courtright is a senior member of the IEEE.