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Faculty of Engineering, McMaster University

Fall 2010



Third in North America for 3-D Camera Team – page 6 The MacEngineer


Dean of Engineering – Dr. David Wilkinson

As summer winds down there is an air of anticipation about the JHE, ITB and ETB buildings as we prepare to welcome the students back to campus. A new crop of first year students will soon be arriving to undertake programs in Engineering, Technology and Computer Science. We anticipate a total Level I enrolment of about 1100 students this year as the Faculty continues to expand. Graduate student numbers are also up, particularly in terms of domestic students (Canadians and landed immigrants). Our new Engineering Technology Building (ETB) has arrived just in time to enable us to accommodate this growth. The new classes and graduate seating areas are ready and waiting while the last of the research space will be completed over the next months. But

September is not just about welcoming new students. The returning students also bring an eagerness and excitement as they take on new courses and projects and find ways to grow and master new challenges. The seniors will begin working on their capstone projects that put all their learning together and into practice. This marks the last phase in their education that will see them graduate next June as the Faculty’s 50th graduating class. Every year there are some remarkable student projects that come to the forefront. One from last year, which we have highlighted in this edition of the MacEngineer, led to the development of a 3-D camera for use on YouTube and Skype. This team of budding electrical engineers placed third in a North American competition sponsored by IEEE. Meanwhile, a team of young alumni took their Crosstown bike trailer concept (developed as a final year project in 2008/09) to the inaugural PolyU Innovation & Entrepreneurship Student Challenge in Hong Kong where they placed fourth overall and were given the Environment and Sustainability Award. Who knows what will come to light in the coming year but there is one set of projects brewing that I am particularly excited about. It is linked

to a concept we are developing to build an Engineering Student Centre at McMaster. At the moment this is little more than a dream, but I have shared this dream with a number of student groups and they are excited to help get it started. The idea is first of all to build a structure that will house all of the non-curricular activities that the students engage in – whether it be the solar car, Formula SAE or moon buggy vehicles, the concrete toboggan or Engineers Without Borders (to name just a few). There is a tremendous need for high quality space that will enable students to achieve their goals, to collaborate effectively, to promote mentorship and outreach, and so on. In addition, we want to use this space to create a structure that exemplifies sustainability, that incorporates cutting-edge technologies, and serves as both a learning and a research platform for eco-effective design. Already, two student groups have come forward wanting to conceptualize some of the sustainable aspects of the building as their capstone project. I am very excited about this as a way to bring some of the ideas into a form where I can start to present them to potential donors and sponsors. Another very exciting development noted in this issue is the awarding of a continued on page 9

Support for Technology Start-Ups A leading figure in Canada’s steel industry has donated $1 million to McMaster to assist students with transforming their inventions into viable businesses. Donald Pether, a former Chair of the Board, president and chief executive officer of Hamilton-based Dofasco Inc, is passionate about providing support for Canada’s entrepreneurs. His generous donation establishes the Donald Pether Chair in Engineering and Management and supports a pre-incubator lab at the McMaster Innovation Park (MIP). This gift will help the Faculty continue to support in a very practical manner the innovations, inventions and dreams of its engineering students.

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Professor David Potter, director of the five-year Engineering and Management program, is the inaugural chair holder, and will work to develop an entrepreneurship stream for the undergraduate program that will focus on innovation and incubation technologies. The Don Pether Innovation Centre, associated with the Master’s degree program in Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will provide students graduating from the program with space at MIP where they will get assistance and training in launching their new businesses.

Mr. Pether, who received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from McMaster in 2006, has been active on many Boards and is currently Chair of the Board of Governors of McMaster University. He is a Trustee of the Ernest C. Manning Innovation Awards Foundation and a member of the Council of Governors for the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Established in 1971, the Engineering and Management Program was the first engineering program in Canada to provide a management component. It is offered in conjunction with the University’s DeGroote School of Business. n


On the Cover: Creators of the 3-D Anaglyph Camera for YouTube, Skype and MSN broadcasts (R to L): Yaser Jafar, Charles Wah, Khaled Chebaro, and Lucas Dobrowolksi.

Greg D’Angelo – A Natural Fit According to Greg D’Angelo (B.Eng. ’78, M.Eng. ’88, M.D. ‘82), it’s not that big a leap to go from mechanical engineering to medicine. An orthopedic surgeon with a thriving practice in Kentucky, Greg says the two really are a natural fit. “Medicine and mechanical engineering meet in orthopedics,” he says, adding that mechanical engineering is the most versatile of the engineering disciplines – “you learn something about everything.” An early interest in medicine resulted from a number of events during Greg’s life. His father, an electrical engineer with a B.Comm., died from colon cancer while Greg was still a teen. His mother was a retail pharmacist. In addition to these two influences, his family’s neighbours were both physicians, and the family’s doctor lived nearby. Greg admits that he was always impressed that these “heroic” men were “regular guys” when at home, playing with their children, doing family chores and telling jokes at parties. The young Brantford native originally enrolled in McMaster’s science program, with the goal of entering medicine following graduation. There were a lot of students entering science that year. A nagging worry that, if he didn’t get accepted into medical school he would be left with few alternative opportunities, prompted him to transfer to engineering. “Because of McMaster’s unique approach to medical education, I knew that I hadn’t ended my chances for a career in medicine.” His first application to McMaster Medical Centre was not accepted. With guidance and help from the late Dr. Brian Latto of the

Department of Mechanical Engineering, he returned to work on a Master’s degree, and reapplied. The following year when he received his acceptance paper, Greg had completed all the course work but not the thesis. After his internship in Toronto, he entered the Orthopedic Residency program and began a mandatory year of research. He completed an engineering thesis related to spine biomechanics under the supervision of Mac engineering Profs and a Toronto spine surgeon. In 1988, he received an orthopedic specialist’s certificate from the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada and a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from McMaster – 15 years after entering Mac the first time. “I still wear my iron ring. I am proud of it. It represents academic achievement and a code of conduct. It reminds us … that we are fallible. We must remain humble.” Greg currently works at Bluegrass Orthopedics, based in Lexington. The organization has ten surgeons and five physician assistants. Their 30,000 sq. ft. facility houses the practice, an MRI magnet, physical therapy, electrodiagnostics, radiography and a surgery centre. Greg and his wife and three children live in downtown Lexington in a renovated and restored 1880s home. On weekends, they enjoy hunting, fishing, camping and hiking at their tree farm, an hour’s drive from the city. “My engineering degree has had a profound impact on my life. It is how I got to where I am. It was my safety net along the way, and now it’s my companion in daily practice.” n

Do you have something to say or news to share? We would like to hear from you. Contact Carm Vespi Tel: (905) 525-9140 ext. 24906 Fax: (905) 546-5492 e-mail: website: The MacEngineer is published by the Faculty of Engineering for its alumni. Distribution assistance is provided by the Alumni Office. Editor: Carm Vespi Art Direction and Design: Jay Primeau Writers: Trudi Down, Eugene Nakonechny and Carm Vespi Contributors: Administrative Coordinators and Terry Milson Photography: Ron Scheffler (cover), Michael Lalich, and reader contributions PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40063416 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT 1280 MAIN STREET WEST HAMILTON ON L8S 4L7 email:

The MacEngineer


The Future of the Car is Now (at Mac)

Professor Ali Emadi receives a CERC pin from Federal Minister of State Gary Goodyear

As most of us are aware, vehicle emissions have harmful effects on human health as well as on the environment. The global automotive industry is anxious to develop new innovative cars that will be both costand energy-efficient. The race to develop such cars has focused primarily on plug-in hybrid vehicles. However, the key to their success from a consumer view-point lies in improving their powertrain. A leading U.S. developer of electric powertrain technology, Professor Ali Emadi, has been appointed Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Hybrid Powertrain. The Chair will be based in a new hybrid vehicle research facility at the McMaster

Innovation Park, and will receive up to $10 million in federal funding over seven years. The 15,000 sq. ft. hybrid vehicle research facility will be part of a new 50,000 square-foot automotive resource centre at the Innovation Park. Its mandate is to develop new technologies such as hybrid engines, batteries and lightweight materials in partnership with private and public sector organizations. In addition, Prof. Emadi will become Director of the McMaster Institute for Automotive Research and Technology (MacAUTO), a coordinating body for automotive research and education at the University. The large group of multi-

disciplinary researchers (engineering, science, business and other faculities) is involved in a wide range of research programs: testing of hybrid power systems, developing corrosion- resistant coatings, transportation and logistics systems, determining the impact of pollution on the environment, and creating software and simulation programs to assist in the understanding of visual attention and motion perception. Prof. Emadi comes to the University from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, where he is the Harris Perlstein Endowed Chair Professor of Engineering and director of the Electric Power and Power Electronics Centre. He is the founder and president of Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technologies, Inc., a spin-off company of the Institute. He is co-author of a renowned introductory textbook on hybrid vehicles: Modern Electric, Hybrid Electric and Fuel Cell Vehicles: Fundamentals, Theory and Design. The appointment of Prof. Emadi strengthens the University’s leadership within the network of automotive researchers in Canada, and places it at the forefront of the development of hybrid vehicles. n

Alumni Inductee Award Recipient – Duncan Hannay As Managing Director, Head of Online Brokerage for Scotiabank, Duncan Hannay (B.Eng. ‘85) oversees Scotiabank’s three online investing businesses – Scotia iTRADE, ScotiaMcLeod Direct Investing and TradeFreedom. However, Duncan’s entrepreneurial roots can be traced to McMaster, where he and fellow Engineering student Dave Armstrong (also a Gallery Inductee) launched their first business “Tube ‘n Cube Campus Rentals”, supplying televisions and refrigerators to residence students. Today, Duncan leads over 400 professionals who provide top-ranked online brokerage services to independent investors. In his prior role as President and CEO of

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E*TRADE Canada, Duncan was responsible for transforming E*TRADE Canada into a formidable competitor in the Canadian marketplace. During his 10-year tenure with E*TRADE Financial, he also worked in New York City as Senior Vice-President of Strategy & Development. Duncan joined E*TRADE Financial after 15 years of diverse entrepreneurial pursuits in the technology and engineering fields, focused around creating value through innovation and growth. Duncan sits on the Board of Directors of Scotia Capital Inc., one of the largest

broker dealers in the country. Among his community endeavours, Duncan sits on the Board of Covenant House Toronto, which is Canada’s largest shelter for homeless youth. Ultimately, Duncan is most proud of his family from where on he draws his greatest source of inspiration. He has been married to Kathy for 22 years and they have three children – Mark, Sarah and Logan. Duncan is also very proud of his McMaster heritage: his wife Kathy (B.Sc. Nursing ’85), mother Ruth (B.A.’72), father Alf (B.A.’62) and sister Lynn (B.A.’79) are all graduates of McMaster. n

Ten Years and Counting! Anyway you compute it, the last decade has been an event-filled and successful one for the Department of Computing and Software. Some of those events involved “firsts”, notes Martin von Mohrenschildt, Chair of the Department. When established in 2000 by the Faculty of Engineering, the Department offered one of the first three accredited undergraduate software engineering programs in Canada. Today, the department offers six undergraduate programs including: Software Engineering with a Game Design or Embedded Systems option, Mechatronics Engineering, Computer Science, and Business Informatics. There are also Management, Society, and International Study options for the engineering programs, and co-op opportunities for all programs. In addition, the Department grants a Master’s degree in six programs, and a Ph.D. degree in either Computer Science or Software Engineering. When discussing additional highlights of the past ten years, Dr. von Mohrenschildt mentions two that he feels have helped define McMaster’s innovation in this field: the Mechatronics program and the Software Engineering Game Design program. Mechatronics bridges the boundaries between embedded systems and mechanical, electrical and software engineering. McMaster’s program offers a good grounding in the content of the three engineering fields along with a strong focus on embedded systems. Students in this program obtain a solid foundation while enjoying hands-on experience from a variety of Mechatronics-specific lab courses. Technology from the gaming industry has been an important driver for research and development in other fields such as digital imaging, flight simulation and architectural visualization. The Game Design option within software engineering provides students with exposure to graphical processors, 4D modeling techniques, real-time systems, and animation and sensory feedback tools.

Both these innovative programs are preparing students for employment in a variety of industries that are currently struggling to find qualified university graduates in information technology, he adds. “It’s amazing, really, how there has been a drop in information technology program enrollment over the past few years,” says Dr. von Mohrenschildt. “But in reality, companies are desperate for trained and creative information technology employees.” Part of the problem, he says, is the misconception about computing. “It’s not just about PCs. The software area is huge – all products today, from automobiles to washing machines, use

surge, sway, heave, roll, pitch, and yaw. It is used to teach students how to develop software for a host of applications including flight simulation and virtual reality systems, as well as for the automotive, medical and real-time game industries. Demand for graduates who have been exposed to and understand simulation technology continues to grow, says Dr. von Mohrenschildt. He notes that current automobiles and aircraft equipment are first developed “virtually” and tested using simulators, well before any prototypes are built. By exposing students to the same technology that is used in industry for product development

software in some form.” As Dr. von Mohrenschildt explains, information technology is not just about writing code. It is about creating solutions and solving real problems facing industry, business, the medical profession – and many other sectors. The Department is proud of its record of developing curriculum for all its programs with a view to incorporating the practical applications of computer science and software engineering. This brings our discussion to the interactive simulator. Installed in 2006 and currently being updated, the simulator (about the size of a minivan) exemplifies the Department’s creative approach to computing and software education. With its fiberglass shell, interior projection system, and Dolby digital surround-sound system, the pod has 6 motion capabilities:

and training, Computing and Software graduates are well-prepared to meet the needs of industry and product manufacturers. And what of the future for Computing and Software? Dr. von Mohrenschildt says the Department will continue to work closely with industry, to ensure that students are provided with the latest in information technology. However, he feels the more urgent challenge is to become active in communicating to high school students the importance of computing and to educate them (and school counsellors) about the tremendous opportunities this field offers to graduates. Dr. von Mohrenschildt points out: "Computers do not solve problems – they just execute the solution a software engineer puts into them.” n The MacEngineer


CAS Research Opportunities Abound The current flurry of grant funding pouring into the Department of Computing and Software is a testament to the vision and dedication of the Faculty of Engineering and the Department’s faculty members over the past decade. Recent announcements include $21 million for the McMaster Centre for Software Certification and $5 million for the Institute for Digital Media. "This is really a coming of age for the Department," says Mark Lawford, associate professor. He explains that whenever a new department is formed, it takes time to establish the program and build a reputation. Only then will graduate students be attracted to work on research projects. "We are now able to attract international students and very significant funding." Associate Professors Lawford and Alan Wassyng recently took time from their busy schedules to talk about these funding initiatives and the research opportunities they offer. High on the list, and having important ramifications for other projects, is research into ways to certify software. With the proliferation of software being introduced into a wide range of products and services, software errors are becoming a critical issue from both product and safety perspectives. It's one thing for your iPad or personal computer to fail; it's quite another when your bank or the hospital's MRI or a nuclear reactor ceases to work –

or worse, malfunctions. Lawford and Wassyng, along with Professor Tom Maibaum, Canada Research Chair in Foundations of Software Engineering – plus colleagues in the Faculty of Engineering and the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour – are researching the development of certification standards

Wassyng, acting director of the Centre, explains that the initial focus will be to develop methods for certifying critical systems (pacemakers, health monitoring equipment, banking and financial reporting, nuclear rectors). "We will be making recommendations for procedures to such organizations as the Food and Drug Association (FDA), and the U.S.

D E V O R P AP and processes for software applications at the McMaster Centre for Software Certification. Currently, the emphasis in certification of software products is on process; product-based methods are not prevalent, yet. The Centre, one of the first in this field in the world, will focus on developing tools and technology to evaluate how the software has been “built” and whether it functions as it should. In addition to McMaster, the initiative includes researchers from the University of Waterloo and York University, and eight industrial partners.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)." The tools and methods developed by the Centre will be commercialized by industrial partners that market software or that specialize in the certification of software. A second exciting research initiative focuses on what is being called “the eighth art” – digital media. It will be a true collaborative effort, bringing together the skills and expertise of people in the arts, humanities and engineering, including Jacques Carette, Mark Lawford, Tom Maibaum and Alan Wassyng from Computing and Software.

Third in North America for 3-D Camera Team You may soon be watching YouTube videos and Skyping in 3-D thanks to an award winning invention by four McMaster electrical and computer engineering students. Khaled Chebaro, Lucas Dobrowolski, Yaser Jafar, and Charles Wah, all in their final year, placed third in the Innovate North America Altera Design Contest this past April for inventing a 3-D camera. The camera takes video and still images that appear in three dimensions when

the viewer puts on a traditional pair of 3-D glasses. The McMaster team was up against 36 other projects from top Canadian and U.S. universities. The team received a small cash prize and an invitation to demonstrate their device at the International IEEE Symposium on Field-Programmable Custom Computing Machines (FCCM 2010) held May 2 to 4 in Charlotte, North Carolina. They also received an Altera DE1 board plus publication in

an IEEE publication. The project was originally created for the students’ final-year project and chosen as the top design project in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. It was inspired by Yaser who was working at Sigma Designs, a home entertainment video-chip developer, for his internship term. Professors Mohamed Bakr and Xun Li were their faculty advisors for the course. n

Training Initiative Lights Up Opportunities “Eight: The Hamilton Institute for Interactive Digital Media” is a partnership between St. Catharines-based game developer Silicon Knights, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Mohawk College, and McMaster Faculties of Engineering and Humanities. The Institute was created in June of this year and will be located at the McMaster Innovation Park. Scheduled to open in 2011, the Institute will research, teach and create digital media technologies. As Prof. Wassyng explains, the medium requires that software people write the code and arts people write the content. “Currently, everyone is working on different platforms and using different software. Researchers want to develop the tools that will enable a more effective collaboration and make it easier to integrate these activities.” The importance of collaboration is underlined, he adds, by the fact that Humanities professor John Connolly, Chair of the Department of Linguistics & Languages, is the principal investigator for this initiative. Another current collaboration between industry and the Department is known as Smarter Transportation, or the “cognitive car”. IBM, which is funding the research through an IBM Shared University Research (SUR) Award, initiated the project. “It was totally unsolicited,” Wassyng says of the award, noting that it speaks highly of the attention current research projects have garnered for the Department. continued on page 10

A recent funding initiative will go towards enhancing student research training in photovoltaics - the process of turning light into electricity. The $1.65 million funding award has been received from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE). Launched in May 2008, the CREATE Program aims to raise the standards for mentoring and training researchers for careers in industry, government or academia. The NSERC CREATE Program in Photovoltaics, which will be led by Dr. John Preston, professor of Engineering Physics, will help expand training opportunities at the M.A. and Ph.D. levels. The program is a collaboration between McMaster and the Universities of Toronto and Waterloo, as well as with ArcelorMittal Dofasco Centre for Engineering and Public Policy and the Xerox Centre for Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, both based at McMaster. "The best way to transfer research to industry is to have companies hire skilled, highly-trained graduates," Preston says. The goal of the program is to ensure that the country's next generation of engineers and scientists are trained in the most advanced concepts for the conversion of sunlight to electricity. It is expected that the interdisciplinary program will draw students of all three universities from a number of engineering streams, as well as from science disciplines such as physics and chemistry. The training centre will develop new courses based on the skills graduates are going to need to work in or support the solar power sector. There are three distinct components to the program, Dr. Preston explains. There is currently a high concentration of new solar cell technology research being conducted at McMaster, much of it associated with the Photovoltaic Innovation Network. This offers students the opportunity to work with top researchers in state-of-theart facilities. As well, the participation of the Xerox Centre will offer expertise for young entrepreneurs who want to

develop start-up solar companies. In addition, since electrical energy is so highly regulated, collaboration with the Centre for Engineering and Public Policy will help ensure that graduates who enter public policy planning understand and are knowledgeable about solar technology. "Graduates of the program will have a tremendous network of peers, Ontario will benefit in terms of the research and development of photovoltaics, and companies will have the critical mass of trained professionals required to grow the solar power industry." In Ontario, the solar industry is still quite young, Dr. Preston

notes. Of the three leading "sustainable" methods to produce electricity - nuclear, wind and photovoltaics - it is solar that has the largest potential for growth, he says. At the present time, government incentives are required to make photovoltaics cost-competitive with traditional electricity generation plants. It will be a combination of economies of scale and innovation from skilled personnel and knowledgeable entrepreneurs that will make solar power cost-effective. "Within ten years," Dr. Preston says, "solar cells will be more efficient and less expensive. Photovoltaics will become an important contributor in the production of electricity." n

The MacEngineer


Scholarship Support from Engineering Alumnus

Dr. Allison Sekular, Dr. Chandra Kudsia and Wendy Kudsia and Dean David Wilkinson

Future students in the Faculty of Engineering will benefit from the generous donation

Scholarships for Future Engineers






A leading Canadian company in the construction industry is building a foundation for future engineers. PCL Constructors Canada Inc. has donated $50,000 towards two scholarships in engineering at McMaster. An undergraduate scholarship called the PCL Scholarship in Engineering and Management is a $1,000 annual award that will be given to a student who has completed third-year engineering. The recipient must have achieved notable academic standing, as well as made a significant contribution to university life through extra-curricular activities.

The PCL Ontario Graduate Scholarship in Engineering honours the Poole family who founded the company, as well as the company’s employees. The $15,000 award will be administered by the School of Graduate Studies. PCL was founded over a century ago by Ernest Poole; today, it is 100 per cent employee owned. The company builds full-service buildings, as well as civil infrastructure and heavy industrial projects. The North American headquarters for PCL, which has offices in Canada, the continental United States, Alaska, the Hawaiian Islands and the Caribbean, are located in Edmonton, Alberta. With an annual construction volume of more than $6 billion, PCL is the largest contracting organization in Canada. n 1. Jim Dougan, President, Central & Eastern Canada, PCL Constructors 2. Joe Watson, Director, Corporate Development, National Operations 3. Heather Sheardown, Associate Dean Graduate Studies 4. David Wilkinson, Dean, Faculty of Engineering 5. David Potter, Director, Engineering & Management

by McMaster alumni Chandra and Wendy Kudsia of $200,000 in support of undergraduate and graduate scholarships.

Astronaut Dave Williams Scholarship

Chandra Kudsia received his M. Eng. in Electrical Engineering from McMaster in 1966, while Wendy is a Humanities alumna, having graduated in 1966 in Latin studies. Dr. Kudsia has been active in COM DEV International

Left to right: Dr. Williams, Kyla Sask, Dr. Brash

Ltd., a global designer and

Canadian astronaut Dr. Dave Williams has created a scholarship in the McMaster School of Biomedical Engineering to recognize academic and research accomplishments as well © NASA as leadership and community participation. The Dave Williams Graduate Scholarship in Biomedical Engineering will provide an annual award of $1,000 to a full-time M.A.Sc. or Ph.D. student enrolled in the School.

manufacturer of space hardware, located in Cambridge, Ontario. He retired in 2001. Dr. Kudsia is regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts in microwave design, particularly for satellite application. n

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Kyla Sask, a Ph.D. candidate, is the scholarship’s first recipient. Ms Sask is researching the development of a biomaterial that resists blood clot formation in blood vessels, which would improve medical devices such as stents and artificial hearts. She is active in the university community as a member of Women in Science and Engineering, a volunteer with McMaster’s Let’s Talk Science program, and the co-founder of the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Association. She is also captain of the Graduate Student Association Baseball Team, a post she has held for the past four years. Dr. Williams is director of the McMaster Centre for Medical Robotics at St. Joseph's Hospital, a professor of surgery in McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences, and a member of the McMaster School of Biomedical Engineering in medical robotics. He is the first Canadian to have lived and worked in space on the shuttle, and in the ocean at NEEMO, the world's only underwater research laboratory. n

Invention Garners Another Award Dean's Message continued from page 2

The business plan developed by four engineering graduates to market the Crosstown Collapsible Bicycle Trailer placed fourth at the inaugural PolyU Innovation & Entrepreneurship Student Challenge in June. The challenge was organized by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and attracted 180 entries from university and high school teams worldwide. Team Urban Idea was comprised of Lindsey Kettel (Mech. Eng.& Mgmt.), inventor of the trailer that folds up onto a bicycle’s rear pannier when not in use, Cory Minkhorst (Mech. Eng.& Mgmt.), Deborah Lee (Chem. Eng.), and David Russell (Software Eng.

& Mgmt.). The Team received both a Commendation award and a Theme award in Environment & Sustainability, netting the group US$2,000. This latest is the fourth award for the Crosstown trailer. Last year the invention, which started out as a final-year capstone project for Lindsey and Cory, won a James Dyson Award as the top university student engineering invention, as well as the Innovative Design category at the Ontario Engineering Competition, and it placed second at the Canadian Engineering Competition where it also won the environmental award. n

Building Aids Solar Research A group of engineering researchers can now test their unique translucent solar skylight under real conditions, thanks to the donation of a wooden cottage. The 18-foot by 13-foot structure, originally used by Oakville-based VELUX Canada Inc to test skylights under Canadian weather conditions, was moved to the McMaster Innovation Park in June. The cottage will assist Adrian Kitai, professor of engineering physics, and his graduate students in testing a solar skylight that is designed to help control interior building temperature and generate electricity while still allowing natural light through. Graduate students Salman Bawa, Raaid Batarfi and Mazin Batarfi, who are in the Master’s of Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation program, will work with Prof. Kitai to refine the technology and develop a business plan. While the solar skylight looks like a standard thermopane window, the inside contains a patented arrangement of narrow strips of solar cells and prisms that concentrate sunlight to generate more electricity, as well as reflect it to allow light

Left to right: Salman Bawa, Prof. Adrian Kitai, Mazin Batarfi and Raaid Batarfi through. The skylight self-adjusts to the position of the sun: at dusk and dawn, it allows 80 per cent of sunlight through for interior lighting, while the rest is converted to electricity. During the day, 80 per cent is captured and converted to electricity. If the tests are successful, it is hoped that the group will attract investors. In addition to residential use, the solar skylight is also practical for commercial and industrial buildings. n

Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) to the Faculty. These are highly prestigious chairs valued at $1.4million per year for 7 years. In this, the first competition, only 19 were awarded across Canada in all disciplines of science, engineering and health science. The only CERC at McMaster was awarded to Prof. Ali Emadi who will join us next year from the U.S. as the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Hybrid Powertrain. Dr. Emadi will have the only CERC related to the automotive industry; a testament both to his outstanding credentials and to the leading position McMaster has developed in automotive research. His research will be housed in a new facility being developed at the McMaster Innovation Park. There are of course many other achievements and new projects that I could talk about. We have had a phenomenal year in terms of external research funding. In this issue we highlight those in photovoltaics and in software engineering. As Mark Lawford comments in the article about Computing and Software, the new funding there really represents a coming of age, 10 years after the genesis of the department. We are continuously amazed by the generosity of alumni and corporations who are helping us build on excellence by creating new opportunities for our students. We are especially grateful to Don Pether for the gift of a named chair that will enhance our ability to develop entrepreneurial engineers, as well as to Chandra and Wendy Kudsia and to PCL Constructors for their generous donations towards scholarships, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. n

The MacEngineer


Student Inspired by BTech Program Tho Pham knew he wanted a university degree program that was relevant – one that offered real-word, hands-on experience. After graduating from McMaster with a science degree he discovered the four-year McMaster-Mohawk Bachelor of Technology Program, which offers students three areas of study: process automation, automotive and vehicle technology, and biotechnology. It was exactly what he was looking for, he says. With this program, he could earn both a technology degree from McMaster and a diploma from Mohawk College. Pham, who will graduate in December, chose the Process Automation stream. The advantages of the unique McMasterMohawk partnership, he says, are many. The lab equipment is current, meaning that students are working with actual equipment being used in industry. The mandatory co-op placement forces students to develop a résumé, apply for jobs and attend interviews, and get hands-on experience in positions that require the knowledge and skills they are developing. For example, during Pham’s first co-op term, he worked as a quality operations

assistant manager for Sanofi Pasteur, a pharmaceutical company specializing in vaccines. This summer, he’s programming a database for the Bachelor of Technology Program to help track enrollment and budget information. After he graduates this fall, Pham plans to return to Sanofi Pasteur. In an effort to engage BTech students, Pham started the McMaster Technology Association with fellow student, Jason Dreyer. It’s primarily an academic, not a social, club that offers support to students about courses, textbooks or studying, and sessions where people from industry can talk to the students about job opportunities. He has nothing but praise for the program that helped him find his career direction, and is confident it has prepared him well for the world of work. He is a strong advocate of the program to students looking to learn new and exciting technologies combined with hands-on experience. n For more information about the Btech. Program visit:

Haykin Recognized for Wireless Research McMaster distinguished university professor in electrical and computer engineering Simon Haykin is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree, presented at the Faculty of Engineering’s spring convocation ceremonies in June. Well-known for his pioneering work in adaptive signal processing with applications for radar and in communications, Dr. Haykin is currently focusing on new research in an area of study which he calls Cognitive Dynamic Systems. This is the process of structuring the digital world based on how the brain can absorb information from multiple sources and

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instantly make decisions on how best to respond. A wireless communication system, for example, would be able to change its transmission or reception parameters based on its awareness of the environment by adapting to variations in input stimuli such as radio frequency spectrum and user behaviour. Also receiving an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the Faculty of Engineering at this year's spring convocation was professor Martin Green, research director of the ARC Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Prof. Green is one of the world's foremost experts in photovoltaics. His group established the current record for silicon solar cell efficiency at 24.7 per cent. n

CAS Research Opportunities Abound continued from page 7

Today’s cars generate a wide range of information through chips and sensors that each do a single task and work in isolation. The purpose of the research is to investigate how a vehicle’s multiple microprocessors could be connected using a single IBM multi-core processor to integrate data. The result could produce a car that can predict vehicle failures before they happen, for example. Or it could give drivers realtime visual information and alerts about road congestion – and even implement active safety control mechanisms – to help reduce accidents. By integrating these disconnected automotive systems, researchers hope to help the industry improve car efficiency and driver safety. As well as having an impact on the development of future automobiles, the research is especially important for hybrid cars, Wassyng says. When there are a number of different processors working independently, there is a real chance of making decisions that may be correct for one area but adversely affect the system as a whole. He also notes that the project relates back to the certification issue: with the use of more software in automobiles, combined with the fact that many different manufacturers make a vast number of auto components, there needs to be a method to certify that the product works as it should and is safe. Software is having an increasingly pervasive impact on individuals and society. No wonder industry is keen to ensure it is appropriately-developed and safe. Computing and Software partnerships and collaborations are vital not only to advance research, but also to ensure graduates entering the workforce have the skills, knowledge and expertise to take the field into the future. "There's been a lot of support for this Department from the University over the years,” says Mark Lawford, “and now that is paying off.” n


Ranjan Kumar Acharya (Electrical Eng. & Mgt. ‘88) died on March 30, 2010 from brain cancer in Laingholm, New Zealand, where he had lived since 2006. Prior to emigrating to New Zealand, Ranjan worked at Dofasco (Hamilton), RMT Engineering Ltd. (Grimsby) and Grantek Control Systems Inc. (Burlington). He leaves his wife Suzanne, his three children – Hester, Lydia and Silas – his parents, his sisters and their families.

Arthur Sullivan Gladwin a long-time faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, passed away on June 6, 2010 after a long illness, at the age of 93. Dr. Gladwin was the first Head of the Electrical Engineering Department, started in the early 1960s, and was instrumental in establishing undergraduate laboratories during the development of the electrical engineering programs. He retired from McMaster in 1975.

Naresh K. Sinha passed away suddenly on March 20, 2010 while on a trip to India. Dr. Sinha was a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He joined the Department in 1965 and served as its Chairman from 1982 to 1988. He then became Director of Instructional Computing for the Faculty of Engineering, a position he held until 1992. Dr. Sinha retired from McMaster in 1993. He leaves his wife Meena, his son Anand and daughters Raka and Alka, and their families.

Bradwell, Mike, ('09): Mike plays football for the Toronto Argonauts during the season and works for PCL construction during the off-season.


Deceased Notices

Mike Bradwell Elect.Eng. & Mgt. Hager, Scott ('92): Janelle and I are kept pretty busy with four boys under 13 years old. The two oldest play AAA basketball, which means we are at tournaments virtually every weekend from late November until May. I coach a novice CYO team from Brantford, Ontario. My business (www.axeandyoushallreceive. com) is growing steadily and we are now the largest supplier of high-end guitar effect pedals in Canada.

The Twins

Adam and Lisa Vespi, Adam ('08): Adam and Lisa Thompson (CivEng & Society ’08) were married on May 15, 2010 in Hamilton, Ontario. Adam currently works as an Associate Marketing Manager for Canadian Tire Financial Services, and Lisa works as an EIT for AMEC Earth and Environmental. Materials Science Zhou, Charles, ([M.D.] M.Eng. '87): I like to share some of my experiences with MacEngineer. Even though it's not too much to talk about it. I had my first company Quantum Intelligence, Inc. (http://www. for a very exciting venture, and now Cascade just started, there are quite a lot of challenges facing us, but we are doing just fine in this difficult time. Eng.Phys.

Mech.Eng. Mahany, Atef (Ph.D. ’07): My wife Yasmin and I were blessed with twins, a boy and a girl, born on December 22, 2009 at the Pembroke General Hospital, Ontario. I am currently an R&D engineer at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Chalk River Laboratories.

Novog, David, (M.Eng. '95, Ph.D. '00): David and Elizabeth are proud parents of a baby girl. She was born on May 9th at 11:55 p.m. in Oakville and her name is Evelyn Cecile Novog. We are doing great and really enjoying being parents.

Evelyn Cecile Novog

Mech.Eng. & Mgmt. Langille, Lisa Marie (nee Jean) ('90): I married in 2002 and we have a six-anda-half-year-old son. Life is great. I am self-employed, working as an engineering consultant. In addition, I’m a partner in an engineering-related company. I try to keep my work commitment to part-time, as I’m enjoying having such a young son. The MacEngineer 11


2010 NSERC Undergraduate Research Award Research Award. But life is not all aca-

ming MVP and Swimmer of the Year,

demic for Michael. Swimming is his real

2009-2010, and a Canadian Interuniversi-

passion. The three-time Marauder Scholar

ty Sport (CIS) All-Canadian in 2008-2009.

is the Co-Captain of the Men’s Varsity

In addition to OUA and CIS Champion-

Swim Team for 2010-2011 and has won a

ships during the 2009-2010 season, he

number of medals in his sport including

competed in the Canada Cup in Etobi-

Fourth-year Mechanical Engineering and

Ontario University Athletics (OUA) gold

coke (ON), the Canadian Senior Nationals

Co-op student, Michael McDonald, is the

(1), silver (1) and bronze (2) over the past

in Victoria (BC) and at the International

recipient of a 2010 NSERC Undergraduate

two years. Michael was the Men’s Swim-

U.S. Grand Prix in Santa Clara (CA). n

Recruit the Best and Brightest Hiring an engineering Co-op student isn't just good for students it's good for your business too. At McMaster Engineering Co-op and Career Services (ECCS), we are able to work with your company to ensure that you hire the right student for your business needs. The hiring process is seamless and we are there to support your organization through the entire process, from job posting to extending job offers. Some of the many benefits our Co-op program can provide include: • Talent Pool: Our office can give your business access to a large pool of students who are skilled, motivated and eager to put theory to practice. Keep your company on the leading edge of technology by hiring an engineering Co-op student as part of your team.

Students are available for co-op in all Bachelor of

• Tax Credit: By hiring a student in a Co-op program, your company may be eligible to claim an Ontario Tax credit of 25% of your eligible costs.

Materials Science, and Software Engineering. The

• Future Employee Investment: Hiring a co-op student is similar to testing out future employee before you hire them on a full-time basis. Many companies hire full-time employees from their previous pool of co-op students. • Flexible Work Terms: The Co-op program has work terms that are 4, 8, 12 or 16 months in length. Depending upon your business needs, work terms start in May, September or January. • Free Job Postings and Interview Rooms: Jobs are posted on OSCAR, our on-line student career system. Interviews can be arranged on-campus via phone, or at your office

Engineering disciplines including Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, Engineering Physics, Bachelor of Technology (B-Tech) includes Process Automation, Automotive & Vehicle Technology, and Energy Engineering. ECCS is the link between you and the student. All of our services are free, and there is no obligation. We maintain contact with you and the student during the work term and the required paperwork is minimal. Please feel free to contact the ECCS office for more info or visit:

MacEngineer Fall 2010  

The MacEngineer - The magazine for McMaster University's Faculty of Engineering Alumni

MacEngineer Fall 2010  

The MacEngineer - The magazine for McMaster University's Faculty of Engineering Alumni