Enabling the digital revolution: information and communication technology


Hand over digital switchboard

Researchers at the University of Waterloo are poised to revolutionize information and communication technologies.

Research in this area extends well beyond improving existing technologies — it embraces the discovery of new knowledge that is being used to develop entirely new and innovative state-of-the-art technologies.

Information technology deployed in today’s organizations rests on a solid foundation in computer science and mathematical sciences.

As commodity processors trend toward multiple cores, and speeds and latencies of memory and networking shift, researchers are designing operating systems adapted to their hardware environments that ensure highspeed provision of new services such as streaming content delivery.

With the worldwide use of social and business networks increasing, researchers are designing technology that enables vital processes such as information discovery, spam filtering, and multilingual, speech-based systems on mobile devices.

Driving technology with cutting-edge models

Financial analysis and risk management in banking and insurance depend on sophisticated mathematical models for the pricing and hedging of complex instruments and portfolios, advanced statistical analysis, and modern optimization techniques. Waterloo researchers are providing important tools for the future including cutting-edge optimization models that drive technology needed for the management of a variety of organizations.

An area of focus in the Faculty of Science is the development and application of quantum theory to the transmission of information using devices that encode information as the superposition of states. The applications of this include advanced encryption for secure communication and the development of practical quantum computing. Using physical and computational tools, researchers are hoping to make unprecedented optical and microwave-based communication possible.

Drawing on strengths in Applied Health Sciences, as well as information technology and Science, researchers are developing the data management capabilities essential for the advancement of health informatics and health policy. Health informatics is a platform for creating and disseminating scientific knowledge in all areas of health sciences, wellness, and medical research.

Engineering researchers at Waterloo are prominent in the fields of networking, wired and wireless communications, and signal processing — disciplines that enable advancements in state-of-the-art transfer of information over various media. Sensors that capture audio, video, or environmental data will generate and communicate vast quantities of information that will need to be stored.

Advancing technologies

Digital board

The breadth of technologies that will be advanced is enormous — advances in sensor technologies and information processing will lead to highly accurate and non-invasive diagnostic and screening instruments. Advanced robotics, intelligence, control, and biomechanics and mechatronics modelling will lead to new devices in healthcare for treatment, rehabilitation, and training. Further advances in communications, smart biosensor technologies, integrative data processing and interface design will lead to large-scale mobile health networks and healthcare operations management protocols.

The Internet of Things, Mobile Internet, and Machine-to-Machine communications are broad application areas enabled through information and communication technologies. Smart infrastructure able to monitor the state of structural building components will provide an alert when tension/compression forces move outside of established parameters, resulting in improved safety and cost savings due to the elimination of unnecessary repair work. Topics ranging from real-time embedded systems to cloud computing, and the assurance of connectivity throughout these systems are domains where research will be a strong strategic fit at Waterloo.

Waterloo researchers are also developing data security technology that integrates rigorous software protocols, deep algorithms from computational mathematics, performance guarantees in networking, and critical mobile privacy designs.

Along with the technical aspects, researchers are also advancing knowledge on socioeconomic, political, and cultural questions that arise related to the effects of technology use on people and communities through the Games Institute and other research centres.