Concordia University and Hydro-Québec have joined forces to establish a new Senior Industrial Research Chair in the broad area of sustainable energy systems. Building on the chairholder’s recent efforts in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energy and machine design, innovative solutions will be developed to increase the electric efficiency of the energy system and contribute to the conservation of non-renewable energy sources. The Chair will further explore sustainable and affordable energy sources suitable for Hydro-Québec customers, such as: biomass, osmosis and small wind. The practical integration of these sources will then be examined at particular customer locations in settings ranging from urban office buildings to rural farms.
Uninterrupted service, even in the most complex software and computing systems, has become fundamental in user expectations. Consider, for instance, the Internet and its related servers—such as Google. End-users require such systems to work correctly, efficiently and without any service interruption. The NSERC/Ericsson Industrial Research Chair on Model-Based Software Management provides strategic intelligence to the Canadian computing and telecommunications industries. The Chair's goal is to investigate modelling languages for platforms, requirements, software and system characteristics. It aims to devise novel techniques for requirement decomposition and COTS components selection/configuration, thereby considerably improving the quality and functionality of component-based systems.The Chair will explore new methods to validate, deploy, monitor, reconfigure and upgrade systems while maintaining critical characteristics—such as high availability. The Chair collaborates closely with Ericsson—a major player in research and development in Canada. This university-industry partnership provides students with tangible experience at both Concordia University and Ericsson, which which gives the students a competitive edge as they enter the workforce and equips them with skills to strengthen Canada's leadership in the management of software systems.
The NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Automated Composites Manufacturing has for its objectives the development of composites made using automated fibre placement (AFP) process. The supporting companies include Bombardier Aerospace, Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Ltd., Composites Atlantic Limited, Delastek Ltd., and Emergia Aerospace. Other collaborators include the National Research Council Canada, Automated Dynamics, and CYTEC Engineered Materials. The Chair program will cover three types of activities. The first type of activity will focus on the manufacturing and characterization of composite laminates geared toward the aerospace industry. Effects of different parameters—such as the speed of manufacturing, the temperature and pressure on the quality of the laminates—will be studied. The second type of activity will be on the development of composite structural components that have been made using other manufacturing techniques—such as hand lay-up/autoclave and liquid composite moulding. Comparison will be made on the performance of composite components made using the different techniques. The third type of activity will be on the development of new and novel composite structural components that can only be made using AFP. The performance of these composite structural components will be evaluated.The Chair results will have a strong impact on the technological advance for the industrial partners, to a leading position of Canadian technology, and will contribute to the improvement of socio-economic conditions in Canada. Over the past few years, composites have been used extensively for the manufacturing of lightweight structures—such as aircrafts, automobiles, wind turbines, and sports equipment. The use of automation will enhance the speed of production, improve the quality of parts, enhance the performance, and reduce waste; thus helping to improve the environment. Automated composites manufacturing will also provide a more level playing field for manufacturing of composites from low labour-cost countries and high labour-cost countries, thus helping to keep manufacturing jobs in Canada. Lighter aircrafts would also reduce fuel consumption, thus helping to protect the environment. Faster production would reduce manufacturing costs and produce more competitiveness for the companies.
In the 1990s, Dr. Vaclav Chvatal and three collaborators developed a computer code for solving certain instances of the traveling salesman problem. One in particular involved 15,112 cities in Germany. These groundbreaking algorithmic techniques have the potential of being applied to a wide class of combinatorial optimization problems, where one aims to find the most economical option among a finite, but often astronomically large, number of possibilities. Classical applications of combinatorial optimization problems have been found in industrial and management planning. The Internet Revolution and recent advances in genomics, largely dominate recent applications. They include broadband satellite communications, computational finance, and biotechnology. These areas will provide test beds for software developed by Dr. Chvatal and his research team.
End-user services (e.g. Multimedia and multiparty games, distance learning, video on demand) are the raison d’être of communications networks. The specification and validation of architectures for end-user services in communication networks is a major engineering challenge. The widest possible range of services needs to be engineered; all the phases of the life cycle (e.g. development, deployment, execution, usage and withdrawal) need to be addressed; and the specifics of the communications networks need to be taken into account. This research program focus on specification and validation of comprehensive architectures (e.g. concepts, principles, rules) for engineering end-user services in communications networks. The program draws on several disciplines (e.g. distributed systems, software engineering, networking) and deals with both conventional networks (e.g. 3G) and challenged networks (e.g. mobile ad hoc networks, wireless sensors and actuators networks).
Dr Kishk's goal is to develop miniaturized antennas for smart phones that cover multiple frequency bands and can harvest solar energy to recharge batteries. He is also investigating how to produce affordable, anti-collision radars for vehicles and microwave sensors for biomedical applications in cancer detection.
Dr. Zeng's research aims at developing robust software tools to enhance the quality and efficiency of innovative product development in manufacturing companies. The foundation of these tools is the formal design science he has developed based on the recursive logic of design he proposed with his collaborator in 1991. His research includes design process modeling, requirements engineering, design knowledge representation, surface reconstruction, as well as finite element modeling. He has applied his research results to some industry projects, such as intelligent sketching interface for product conceptual design, integrated CAD/FEM radar analysis system, etc. Dr. Zeng and his team are currently exploring the applications of their software tools to manufacturing industry such as aerospace engineering, automotive engineering, and biomedical devices manufacturing.
Integration of solar energy systems into buildings has the potential to convert them into net energy producers on an annual basis. The challenge is to develop such buildings as advanced technological systems that are affordable and comfortable through optimal integration of passive systems and energy generating technologies such as photovoltaics, as well as energy efficiency technologies. Dr Athienitis’ research work focuses on the study, modeling and development of innovative solar systems such as building-integrated photovoltaic/thermal systems which generate electricity and useful heat while being a functional part of the building envelope and its energy system; model-based design and control of daylighting systems that include motorized shading and transparent photovoltaics; modeling, design and control of net-zero energy buildings. Dr. Athienitis founded the NSERC Solar Buildings Research Network with its base at Concordia and pioneered several world class demonstration projects of solar homes with near-zero average annual energy consumption. He was named by Actualité Magazine as one of 25 top innovators in Quebec.
With the striking expansion of information technology, security is emerging as the most important challenge facing computer science and engineering. Individuals, corporations and organizations are relying more and more on information systems that are connected to public networks, to transmit confidential and security-critical data. This trend has increased the risks of interception, malicious instrumentation and misuse of sensitive electronic information. Accordingly, information systems must be protected against any malicious attempt that may affect secrecy (by leaking sensitive information), integrity (by corrupting information), authentication (by impersonating authorized principals), availability (by denying service to legal users), etc. The negative impacts of this situation include: loss or endangerment of human life, financial loss, unauthorized use or misuse of information, denial of services, alteration and/or compromise of data or software. Our research aims at creating dedicated processes, methodologies, techniques and tools to prevent attacks, reduce vulnerabilities, and mitigate the underlying risks and forensically investigate cyber incidents.
Today, many of the world's largest databases are, in fact, data warehouses. By integrating detailed, transactional data from across the enterprise, organizations are able to assess historical trends and plan for the future. With the emergence of the web, however, warehouse data volumes have grown to the point where traditional warehouse architectures often fail to provide the kind of real time performance that today's interactive users typically demand. Dr. Eavis' current work focuses on a pair of related goals. In the first case, his research lab is investigating methods that will support more intuitive analytical services on top of the underlying warehouse repositories. Such functionality is often broadly described by the term Online Analytical Processing (OLAP). Specific research themes include visualization, object oriented query facilities, query optimization, and multi-dimensional caching. At the same time, he is targeting high performance architectures, with a particular emphasis on cluster computing, multi-core algorithms, and distributed grid architectures.
Research work on Materials and Composites places emphasis on the developments of new products, processes and technologies and looking at quality and performance issues (fracture toughness, resistance against the absorption of small molecules such as water, alkali-water solution and oxygen, flammability resistance) and making them more cost effective for industrial applications be it in aerospace, automotive, biomedical or civil engineering structures. Currently, Dr. Hoa, a leading expert in his field of study, is focused on advances in polymer nanocomposites, long fiber thermoplastic composites, nanomechanics of polymeric materials, shrinkage of resin, and intelligent materials.
Minimization and avoidance of pollutant releases and understanding the movement and transformation of contaminants once they reach the environment, are required to avoid the degradation of the environment and hence the ecosystem. The increasing population is leading to fewer waste management options, environmental destruction, and increased disasters due to global warming. Environmental management and technological development will ultimately enhance the quality of life of the public and the quality of the environment for the entire ecosystem. Through this research program, Dr. Mulligan looks to develop technologies for the treatment of air, water, waste and soil contaminants, as well as investigate the processes for the transport and degradation of chemicals in the complete environment across all media.
Concordia has long been known for its expertise in advanced transportation systems and highway safety, human response to workplace vibration and driver-vehicle interaction. Dr. Rakheja’s research work in this area has evolved to what is called vehicular ergodynamics, a field that involves systematic studies on the dynamics of the transport system on the human operator, with a special emphasis on dynamic environmental interactions. Ergodynamics addresses the mutual adaptation of the system and the human operator, to enhance system performance and optimal efficiency with appropriate considerations of the performance limits of the operator. The research efforts are directed towards developments in theories on human perception and response; effective objective and subjective measurement techniques; considerations of various human (age, gender, anthropometry, anthropodynamics, and neuro-muscular response) and environmental (visibility and road conditions) factors; vehicle dynamics and highway safety; dynamic driver-vehicle-environment interactions; and intelligent vehicles.
Recognition technologies play an important role in information processing. Each day, billions of business and financial documents have to be processed by computers. Data needs to be captured from these documents and entered for processing. Because of the lack of computerized handwriting recognition machines, most of this data, be it an amount on a cheque or postal code, have to be entered into the computer by tedious, slow, and costly manual operations. The objective of Dr. Suen, world-renowned in his field, is to integrate several promising recognition methods, and at the same time, develop robust techniques, while discovering and applying new perceptual knowledge to improve and optimize character recognition schemes. The long-term goal is to produce an optical character and word recognition (OCR or OWR) system, which will ultimately outperform or be at least comparable to the capability of human vision.
The phenomenon of wing rock or limit-cycle oscillation that normally occurs in aircraft is mainly due to mechanical backlash, dead zone and hysteresis. This phenomenon is of great concern in the aerospace industry. Extensive research has been carried out to find means of controlling this unwanted oscillation. Mechanical backlash, dead-zone and hysteresis that generate such oscillations fall into the general category of non-smooth nonlinearities. They are common in the industrial controls systems, ranging from high-technology applications (micromanipulation in fabrication of semiconductors, ultra-precision turning of turbine shafts, micro-stabbers and micropipettes in cellular biology) to traditional applications (robot manipulators, and drive systems of large vehicles). Dr. Su’s plans are to develop control theories, engineering design methods and technology for non-smoooth dynamic systems, arising from parameter variations or from neglected dynamics.
The development of control methods have a direct impact on the products being produced, and are suitable for any motion systems with mechanical connections, hydraulic servo-valves, piezoelectric actuators, electric servomotors, and biomedical actuator systems that require fast and precision control.
Digital signal processing techniques have found a variety of applications over the last 15 to 20 years in the processing of signals in such diverse areas as biomedical image processing, telecommunications, acoustics, image and video signal processing and seismology. The overall objective of Dr. Swamy’s research is to develop fundamental underlying theory for efficient and reliable processing of speech, image and video signals, and to design algorithms for their software and hardware implementation for communication and other applications. Some of his current research projects include; low-complexity speech coding; silent suppression techniques for packet voice communication; voice activity detection using higher-order statistics; echo cancellation, de-noising and compression of digital images; error resilient video coding algorithms and their performance evaluation; robust watermarking techniques using wavelets; and the development of efficient multidimensional vector radix algorithms.
The revolution of information technology and electronics in general, is driven by the extraordinary advances in semiconductor technology. Today’s microelectronics systems are complex designs with literally tens of millions of transistors on a single chip, often combining microcontroller and DSP processor cores, memory blocks, application specific logic and mixed-signal functions. Complexity, time-to-market pressure and evolving requirements pose new challenges in the design and verification process. Traditional testing such as simulation methods, can no longer give reasonable assurance for the quality of a product. Dr. Tahar’s research aims to develop techniques and tools enabling the verification of real-size microelectronics designs through alternative means, called formal methods, involving all possible scenarios of input and state combinations, giving very strong results about the correctness of designs. The proposed techniques will be validated using real designs, which are industrial benchmarks. This approach will advance the systems specification and verification process, thus shortening the design cycle of microelectronics products.
Research summary forthcoming
Providing reliable, high-speed wireless links has been a challenging task due to the unfriendly nature of wireless channels and the scarcity of resources such as frequency spectrum. Over the last decade or so, we have witnessed a number of ground-breaking innovations that led to overcoming some of those challenges and forming the nucleus of international standards for future wireless networks such as 4G and WiMax. However, there are still hurdles along the way to achieving the full potential of such networks. Another adversity of wireless systems is the lack of secured transmission, which poses a major obstacle for many wireless applications from maturing and realizing what current technologies promise. Dr. Ghrayeb's work focuses on developing coding and signal processing strategies that aim at improving the performance of wireless systems and bridging the gap between theory and practice. He has been engaged in a number of multi-million dollar projects with collaborators from around the world. Some of the projects he has been involved in include cellular networks, underwater acoustic communications, cognitive networks, and communication security.
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The objectives of the proposed research are to provide enhanced capabilities to the command and control operators, and ultimately for fully autonomous on-board systems in determining the most efficient allocation, configuration, strategies, and architectures for cooperative fault diagnosis and control of a network of unmanned vehicles (UVs). The fundamental challenges and issues envisaged are development of novel, formal, and rigorous distributed and semi-decentralized methodologies for management and determination of exchange of data, knowledge, and actions among the team of cooperating UVs. These goals are to be accomplished by utilizing control theories that are constrained by the communication network and computational resources for cooperative fault diagnosis and cooperative recovery and reconfiguration control objectives that are subject to real-time constraints for guaranteeing and maintaining the mission requirements. The expected outcomes of this project will provide rigorous solutions to practical problems of paramount importance that is of significant interest to the space, robotics, marine, and aerospace industries and will accumulate human capital and develop sustainable research capabilities.
Research summary forthcoming
Simulation of Clean Energy Production and Storage aims at developing Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) algorithms to accurately simulate the flow in the area of wind energy and hydrogen storage. The objectives of the wind energy research are the development of a CFD tool that accurately captures the physics of the flow around multiple vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT), the analysis of the fundamental mechanisms that increase the power coefficient of multiple VAWTs and the demonstration of the energy extraction benefit of placing VAWTs close together to increase the extraction of wind energy.
The main drawback with the current CFD approaches is the inability of the CFD-RANS to capture the physics of flows which involves laminar to turbulent boundary layer transition leading to a separation bubble. Currently only LES solvers are able to simulate this flow but this approach is not feasible for multiple VAWTs as it is too computationally expensive. The ability to capture or model dynamic stall and the wake behind the turbine needs to be developed in an RANS model.
In the area of hydrogen jets, Dr.Paraschivoiu’s research group has developed a CFD code to examine real gas effects at high pressures when hydrogen is released from a high-pressure chamber. The code is based on a 3-D finite volume Euler/Navier-Stokes solver, and a transport equation is used to simulate the hydrogen concentration into air. To model turbulence, we have developed a new adaptive upwinding scheme for Large Eddy Simulations that works well for compressible flows. Recently, by implementing a moving mesh methodology we have investigated the flow behavior of jets through orifices that can change shape dynamically.
Research summary forthcoming