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Dr. Kai Li, Princeton University

SpeakerDr. Kai Li, Princeton University
Date Oct 7, 2013
Time 4:00 pm  
Location 2405 Siebel Center
Sponsor University of Illinois, Department of Computer Science
Event type Lecture
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Disruptive Innovation: Data Domain Experience

Kai Li, Princeton University

Data Domain is an example of a storage company with disruptive innovation during the past decade. The company started in 2001 with the mission to create and deploy deduplication storage products to replace tapes in data centers. The company went public in 2007 and was acquired by EMC Corporation in 2009. The revenue of the Data Domain product line has successfully disrupted the tape automation market.

How was Data Domain created? What makes Data Domain successful? In this talk, I will share my experience with colleagues and students to answer these two questions and also present my views on the creation of disruptive innovations, the relationship between academic research and innovation, and why most large companies are incapable of disruptive innovations.


Kai Li is a Paul M. Wythes '55, P'86, and Marcia R. Wythes P'86 Professor at Princeton University, where he worked as a faculty member since 1986. Before joining Princeton University, he received his Ph.D. degree from Yale University. His research expertise is in building parallel and distributed systems, deduplication storage systems, and data analysis and search for large datasets. He co-founded Data Domain, Inc., in 2001, serving in roles as the initial CEO, CTO, and Chief Scientist. He is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the ACM, and a Fellow of the IEEE.

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