Polytechnique Montréal and Huawei Technologies, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of ICT and telecommunications equipment, set up an innovative multi-year joint research venture. It is a first for both Montréal and Huawei.
With the establishment of the NSERC/Huawei Industrial Research Chair in Future Wireless Technologies — or Future Wireless Chair (FuWiC) —, Polytechnique Montréal will receive investments totalling more than $5 million over a five-year period, including $2.45 million from the Huawei Canada Research Centre and an equal amount from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Huawei will also add a significant amount of in-kind contributions.
These investments will help Polytechnique grow its current research and education efforts in the field of information and communications technologies (ICT) with an emphasis on wireless technologies and smart interconnectivity, including the Internet of things (IoT).
5G technology – and beyond
The FuWiC will enable Polytechnique to expand its current research and education program. Research will venture into fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks or wireless systems, as well as diversified wireless applications beyond the traditional ICT sectors.
“The most interesting aspect of the program is that it allows me to bring the research to the next level, not only for 5G, but for the entire portfolio of future wireless technology concepts and systems,” said Professor Ke Wu (bio below), holder of the FuWiC Chair.
These advanced communications technologies, including 5G, will serve as the mobile standard that will be in use until 2030 and beyond, and will be the catalyst for transformative change and innovation. Concepts like automated vehicles and the IoT will all leverage the power of 5G.
“From cellphones to GPS, interconnectivity is omnipresent, and at different speeds,” added Professor Wu. “Our research is directed at accelerating data and signal transmission toward architecture systems that will deliver faster and smart responses in communication and sensing with integrated powering technique.”
The FuWiC program will contribute by laying a broad foundation for humanity’s wireless future, affecting how societies will be connected and the impact on daily life. The Chair’s wireless technologies research will foray into much-publicized concepts like machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and the IoT, and issues such as the development of smart cities, green ICT, efficient healthcare and clean energy. Professor Wu also foresees future humanitarian applications, perhaps assisting disaster relief or alleviating water distribution problems through the creation of smart villages in remote rural areas in Africa and India.
A win-win partnership
For Huawei Canada, the investment in Polytechnique Montréal in FuWiC represents a significant milestone for Huawei in Canada. This partnership will be the first academic chair partnership for Huawei’s Canada Research Centre, and reflects Huawei’s ongoing commitment as one of Canada’s largest investors in advanced communications R&D.
“We are proud to be working with the talented research team at Polytechnique Montréal,” said Christian Chua, President of the Huawei Canada Research Centre. “The partnership with Poly — one of Canada’s largest applied-research universities, and the flagship of a large group of renowned and established world-class research facilities engaged in both theoretical and experimental work — is one that will help our Canadian team continue to lead our global advanced communications research.”
“Dr. Ke Wu is pioneering the next generation wireless technology,” said Dr. Bettina Hamelin, Vice-President of Research Partnerships, NSERC. “His knowledge, ideas and discoveries will help Huawei remain at the cutting edge of a constantly evolving industry. NSERC is proud to support this Chair, which produces ideas essential to innovation, and provides invaluable training that will arm students with the industry experience and skills needed to thrive in the technology sector.”
Acting as a catalyst, the FuWiC will help create an unprecedented and reciprocally beneficial partnership between Polytechnique and Huawei, the technological giant from the world’s most important emerging economy. This Chair-enabled synergy will stimulate fresh collaborations and dynamic exchanges. Such interactions are expected to promote significant expansion and development of wireless technology-related knowledge, education, industry and products in Québec and Canada. The creation of the Chair will also inject a very positive force in the bilateral business and trade between Québec/Canada and China, as well as with the rest of the world.
International recognition for FuWiC incumbent Professor Ke Wu
Professor Wu is one of the most active and prolific researchers, authors, educators and leaders in the field of radiofrequency, microwave and millimetre-wave sciences and engineering. His wide-ranging multidisciplinary research interests and achievements relate to both fundamental and applied aspects of theoretical and experimental works.
A professor of electrical engineering at Polytechnique Montréal, Ke Wu has also developed a series of high-profile research programs and is Director of the Poly-Grames (Groupe de recherche avancée en micro-ondes et électronique spatiale) Research Centre. In addition, he has successfully led many government and industry-sponsored research and development projects with funding of more than $70 million. He has headed many international programs and initiatives involving several universities, institutions, agencies and corporations on five continents. He is President of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S), which is the leading professional and international organization in the field. His research achievements have been recognized with national and international research awards and prizes, including the 2014 Prix Marie-Victorin (Prix du Québec), the highest distinction in the natural sciences and engineering issued by the Government of Québec.
A hotbed of specialized research
The FuWiC will be housed at the Poly-Grames Research Centre at Polytechnique Montréal. This centre offers highly-organized collective facilities for both fundamental and application-oriented research projects.
“Poly-Grames will serve as a dynamic, inspiring and stimulating environment for the FuWiC,” said Christophe Guy, Chief Executive Officer of Polytechnique Montréal. “The Centre has a long history of excellence in research and education in the fields of radiofrequency, microwave, millimetre-wave and microwave photonics engineering. It will make available to the Chair a wide range of facilities and equipment for projects.”
Created in 1992, Poly-Grames acquired research centre status within Polytechnique Montréal two years later. A new research infrastructure called the Facility for Advanced Millimetre-Wave Engineering (FAME) was established within the Centre in 2000, and it has a long tradition of collaboration with numerous industry partners and government agencies. With the largest concentration of researchers and facilities in the area of microwave technologies among Canadian universities, Poly-Grames is home to three Canada Research Chairs and also headquarters Québec’s Centre de recherche en électronique radiofréquence (CREER), founded by Professor Wu, which provides a unique research platform for government-endowed and industry-supported projects. Ke Wu heads a team of 10 faculty members, seven technical support personnel and about 100 graduate and post-doctoral students, and fellows.
From left to right: Richard Deschamps, Councillor for Higher Education to Mayor Coderre at City of Montreal; Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire, Principal and Chair of the Board of Directors of Polytechnique Montréal; Bettina Hamelin, Vice-President, Research Partnerships Directorate at Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC); Ke Wu, Professor and Chairholder of NSERC/Huawei Industrial Research Chair in Future Wireless Technologies; Christian Chua, President of Huawei Canada Research Center; François Bertrand, Head of Research, Innovation and Internationals Affairs of Polytechnique Montréal.