The last twenty years have witnessed a tremendous increase in recording densities and data rates of man-made recording systems, as well as a steady progression in a variety of methods for information storage and retrieval. The continuing strong demands for more storage capacity and faster access will further drive the development of even more sophisticated storage systems and new materials. Further advances in physics, chemistry and biology may provide new possibilities to further push the limits. Information theory will be playing an important role in identifying principles unique to both natural and artificial storage systems and in building a model and framework for storage in these new materials. These principles are as old as the time "when life divided the labour between two separate activities: chemical work and information storage, metabolism and replication" (as noted by Matt Ridley in "Genome"), and an effort to better understand and mathematically formulate these mechanisms will offer new directions in information and coding theory. It will also motivate a review of existing storage system models and coding and detection methodologies, which, in turn, can provide improvements to new and existing systems as well.
This working group strives to bring together experts on information storage from a range of different fields. In order to facilitate a synthesis of ideas, the workshop will be organized around half-day sessions, each consisting of one or two short presentations followed by active discussion. The six primary topics of will be: