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Research projects of seven Polytechnique Montréal faculty members backed by the CFI and the Québec government

September 23, 2022 - Source : NEWS

Professors Soumaya Cherkaoui, Gunes Karabulut Kurt, Najib Bouaanani, Marc Lavertu, Étienne Martin, Yabo Octave Niamié and Lucien Weiss have received contributions from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund and the Government of Québec to carry out their research projects.

(Photo : Adobe Stock)

On September 21, Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry for the Government of Canada, announced a federal investment of $64 million in state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment to support the completion of 251 research projects.

Polytechnique Montréal is one of 40 universities that have received funding from the CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund for projects submitted under this program.

“Canada is world-renowned for state-of-the-art institutions and talented researchers,” said Mr. Champagne. “Through this Fund, our government is strengthening our leadership and competitive advantage by supporting Canadians to pursue discoveries, overcome challenges and innovate to make a more prosperous, equitable and sustainable future for all.”

Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation, said: “Thanks to the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund, universities across the country will be able to attract and support promising, world-class researchers who will use their expertise and creativity to bring novel ideas to solve concrete problems that impact society. The CFI proudly contributes to this mission by supporting, from coast to coast to coast, projects in areas ranging from wastewater treatment to DNA approaches for cancer therapy, permitting brilliant minds to kick start or move their careers forward.”

The following is a description of the seven projects receiving support from the CFI and the Québec government:

Project: Innovative Experimental Testing of the Structural Safety of Concrete Dams and their Appurtenant Structures
Holder: Najib Bouaanani, Full Professor, Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering

Socio-economic development and the well-being of the population are largely based on access to hydroelectricity. Current domestic and industrial consumption needs, added to those required by the increasing electrification of transport systems, will require robust and reliable hydroelectric facilities. Several concrete dams have reached or exceeded their useful life, making it necessary to regularly assess their structural behaviour. Cost-effective rehabilitation solutions are also required to minimize the impact of potential risks to the public from these critical structures and their appurtenant structures.

This CFI grant will increase the Polytechnique Montréal Structural Laboratory’s capacity to experiment by enabling the acquisition of leading-edge equipment that will be used to study the structural behaviour of dams and their appurtenant structures under various types of stresses. The proposed research projects aim to improve the evaluation process for these structures and develop state-of-the-art analytical tools that are validated experimentally and suited to engineers’ needs. The numerical and experimental data produced will be very useful in assessing the safety behaviour of hydraulic structures, as well as in developing innovative solutions for the rehabilitation of these critical structures. This work will help maintain safe, reliable and sustainable hydroelectric facilities while strengthening Québec’s position as a leader in the production and development of green and renewable energy.

Professor Bouaanani is receiving $306,190 in support from the John R. Evans Leaders Fund and $306,190 from the Québec government for this research project. The total value of the project is $765,477.

Project: Towards Intelligent and Reliable Edge
Holder: Soumaya Cherkaoui, Full Professor, Department of Computer Engineering and Software Engineering

Automated critical systems have highlighted the importance of reliable, low-latency services. Multi-access edge computing provides the ability to optimize service delivery by moving processing functions closer to where data are collected, either at the smart-device level or at the edge of the network.

This research will make it possible to establish a scalable edge network that will be used to develop techniques for autonomous management of intelligent edge systems, to have efficient information exchange and distribution of services/functions at the edge of the network, and to ensure that these systems are reliable, available, trustworthy and robust while providing new capabilities for hierarchical, distributed and federated computing, learning and inference. The results of this project will help the industry increase its competitiveness in this market. In addition, by avoiding huge data transfers and processing data close to the end user rather than in energy-intensive remote data centres, this research will help reduce the energy consumption of future connected systems.

Professor Cherkaoui is receiving $235,760 in support from the John R. Evans Leaders Fund and $235,760 from the Québec government for this research project. Together with the additional contributions to this project, the total value of the project is $817,621.

Project: Design and Development of Artificial Intelligence Empowered Sub-THz Communication System
Holder: Gunes Karabulut Kurt, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering

Frequencies above 100 GHz, known as sub-terahertz (sub-THz) bands, are emerging as a promising solution to meet the high data-throughput and low-latency requirements of the next generation of wireless communication systems.

This project aims to characterize the sub-THz multi-input multi-output (MIMO) communication system with three complementary aspects: channel modelling, communication performance estimation and the study of the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for performance improvement in emerging applications, including joint communication, detection and localization. The associated measurement system consists of a state-of-the-art two-input and two-output sub-THz communication transmitter and receiver (2x2) capable of transmitting and receiving information symbols on two bands: 50-75 GHz (V-band) and 0.140-0.22 THz (G-band).

Professor Karabulut Kurt is receiving $142,000 in support from the John R. Evans Leaders Fund and $142,000 from the Québec government for this research project. The total value of the project is $367,330.

Project: Regenerative Medicine for Musculoskeletal Conditions
Holder: Marc Lavertu, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), chief among them joint disease and osteoporosis, are the leading source of disability in the Canadian workforce and are affecting a growing proportion of the population. Despite best practices, hospital cleaning and disinfection policies, and antibiotic prophylaxis, surgical site infections and infections following prosthetic device placement are a significant clinical problem with devastating complications and a significant economic burden.

The objective of this project is to provide regenerative medicine and diagnostic tools to accelerate the recovery of affected populations and, consequently, reduce the social and economic impacts of these diseases/conditions.

This research program has two main focuses: bioactive materials for the regeneration of joint tissues, and the detection and eradication of post-surgical infections. These research areas are complementary and aim to address several unmet needs in MSDs.

The research conducted by associate professors Marc Lavertu and Géraldine Merle, both of the Department of Chemical Engineering, will generate major advances in the treatment of MSDs and in the detection and eradication of infections after elective orthopedic surgeries, with tangible clinical impacts in the next five years and beyond.

Professor Lavertu is receiving $438,212 in support from the John R. Evans Leaders Fund and $438,212 from the Québec government for this research project. The total value of the project is $1,100,964.

Project: Part-Design Optimization using Binder Jetting and AI: Application to Battery Casing for the Automotive Industry
Holder: Étienne Martin, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

The objective of this project is to design a series of computer tools that will enable engineers to optimize parts manufactured using an additive manufacturing process, binder jetting, to produce a battery tray for electric vehicles that combines several functions, such as housing battery cells, providing thermal management of the system and offering protection in the event of an impact to protect passengers. The new design will improve the efficiency of the part, reduce manufacturing costs and help the automotive industry reduce CO2 emissions from vehicles.

Two IT tools will be created. The first is an optimization framework using artificial intelligence that will act both thermally and structurally to optimize the part’s geometry. The second will be a compensation tool that will predict the geometric evolution of components manufactured by binder jetting during sintering.

Professor Martin is receiving $250,000 in support from the John R. Evans Leaders Fund and $250,000 from the Québec government for this research project. The total value of the project is $641,376.

Project: Measuring Emotional and Cognitive Reactions of Decision-Making in a Complex Environment and Increasing Human Capability
Holder: Yabo Octave Niamié, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering

The world has undergone major changes in recent years with the emergence of new technologies, big data, Industry 4.0, fintech and digital intelligence, which affect decision-making. To help decision-makers make effective judgments in this complex environment (volume of information, uncertainty, speed), the team made up of three researchers (Philippe Doyon-Poulin, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematical and Industrial Engineering, Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin, Full Professor in the same department, and Yabo Octave Niamié) proposes innovative projects covering three areas: aviation, entrepreneurship and finance.

Their work environment will allow for several professional specialists to work simultaneously on complex decision-making issues. They will also be able to modify the information presented to co-create new visualizations that improve the quality of their decisions. The researchers’ work, led by Professor Niamié, will put Polytechnique at the forefront of new social construction approaches to decision-making in complex environments.

The team is receiving $131,673 in support from the John R. Evans Leaders Fund and $131,673 in support from the Québec government for this research project. The total value of the project is $345,554.

Project: High-throughput, High-resolution Cell Imaging by Flow-Enabled Microscopy
Holder: Lucien Weiss, Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering Physics

The research objective of this program is to develop and apply technologies for rapid imaging and analysis of biological samples using high-resolution microscopy, microfluidics and machine learning.

For cell diagnostic applications such as pathogen detection, the ideal instrument would be fast, ultrasensitive, easy to use and inexpensive. Light microscopy encompasses a powerful set of techniques capable of meeting each of these criteria; however, traditional imaging configurations have intrinsic trade-offs between these areas. These trade-offs lead to a reduction in the effectiveness of diagnostic tests and a negative effect on human health.

The objective is to identify, for a particular type of sample, which measures provide unique information and which are highly correlated. In other words, which measures are complementary (contain different information) and which measures are redundant (the same information is contained to a different degree). In doing so, Professor Weiss’s research group will develop a new generation of instruments that describe samples comprehensively and efficiently, paving the way for more reliable testing and characterization of samples.

Professor Weiss is receiving $138,000 in support from the John R. Evans Leaders Fund and $138,000 from the Québec government for this research project. The total value of the project is $351,115.

Congratulations to the professors!

Learn more
Professor Najib Bouaanani’s expertise
Professor Soumaya Cherkaoui’s expertise
Professor Étienne Martin’s expertise
Professor Gunes Karabulut Kurt’s expertise
Professor Marc Lavertu’s expertise
Professor Yabo Octave Niamié’s expertise
Professor Lucien Weiss’s expertise
Department of Chemical Engineering website
Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering website
Department of Electrical Engineering website
Department of Computer and Software Engineering website
Department of Mathematical and Industrial Engineering website 
Department of Mechanical Engineering website
Department of Engineering Physics website 

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