University of Waterloo
200 University Ave W, Waterloo, ON
Phone: (519) 888-4567
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Contact the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s (ECE) Research Committee has launched a seminar series, to begin in February 2021, where one ECE faculty member will be selected each month to deliver a seminar showcasing the research being carried out, while identifying challenges in the field.
Join us for this exciting opportunity to interact with our department’s leading experts, discuss relevant topics in the field, and learn about the latest information and new skills related to the research area.
Title: Multimedia Quality-of-Experience: Progress in Research and Industry Applications
Abstract: The past two decades have witnessed a surge in multimedia quality-of-experience (QoE) research, which has targeted at predicting the perceptual QoE of humans experiencing various forms of multimedia content, and leveraging the predictive models to drive the design and optimization of multimedia processing technologies and systems. Over the years, the scope of QoE research has been constantly expanding, on the application side from quality assessment of images and videos to QoE in 3D and immersive environment, and on the methodology side from domain knowledge-driven to data-driven and machine learning approaches. Meanwhile, the industry adoption and desire have also been growing rapidly. In this talk, we will give an overview of the field and then focus on the evolving research efforts we have been making and the exciting applications of the theories and methodologies we developed in the multimedia streaming industry.
Biography: Dr. Zhou Wang is a Canada Research Chair and Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo. His research interests include image/video/multimedia processing, coding, communication, computational vision, machine learning, and medical signal processing. He has more than 200 publications in the field with over 90,000 citations. Dr. Wang is a Fellow of IEEE, a Fellow of Royal Society of Canada - Academy of Science, and a Fellow of Canadian Academy of Engineering. He is a recipient of Steacie Memorial Fellowship, and several top paper awards by IEEE Signal Processing Society. He is also a two-time recipient of Technology Emmy Awards, the “highest engineering honor” in the TV industry, one in 2015 as an individual, and the other in 2021 by SSIMWAVE, a startup company of which he was a co-founder and Chief Scientist.
Title: Organic & Quantum-dot Light Emitting Devices: Current Challenges & Research Opportunities
Abstract: Organic Light Emitting Devices (OLEDs) are now used in commercial products, and Quantum-dot LEDs (QLEDs) are expected to follow suit in the next 3-5 years. As the technology of organic and hybrid semiconductors moves from the lab to the market place, certain fundamental limitations and technological challenges related to their performance, reliability and manufacturing become increasingly more important and create new opportunities for research. In this seminar a brief introduction to OLEDs and QLEDs will be provided, and some of the current challenges and new research opportunities will be highlighted. Some of our research activities in both areas will also be briefly presented.
Biography: Hany Aziz is a Professor and University Research Chair in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN). He conducts research in the area of organic and hybrid (organic/ inorganic) electronic and optoelectronic materials and devices, with a focus on material and device physics. His research spans a wide range of interests from studying molecular level electronic, excitonic and material aging processes and device failure mechanisms, to developing novel devices and fabrication technologies for next generation electronics. He has published more than 180 papers in this area and was awarded 57 US patents. He obtained his PhD in materials science and engineering from McMaster University, Canada in 1999. Prior to joining the University of Waterloo in 2007 he was a research scientist at Xerox Research Centre of Canada.
Title: An informal discussion of the history of Public Key Cryptographic technology
Dr. Ronald Rivest is a cryptographer and an Institute Professor at MIT. He is a member of MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and a member of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). His work has spanned the fields of algorithms and combinatorics, cryptography, machine learning, and election integrity.
Rivest is one of the inventors of the RSA algorithm (along with Adi Shamir and Len Adleman). He is the inventor of the symmetric key encryption algorithms RC2, RC4, RC5, and co-inventor of RC6.
Title: How Persistent Memory Changed Distributed Computing Theory
Abstract: Persistent memory (PMEM) marries the low latency of DRAM with the durability of secondary storage devices, enabling both simpler and faster data-intensive software applications. Recent years witnessed the next evolution of this technology as Intel, in partnership with Micron, developed and commercially released the Optane persistent memory module, which uses a proprietary 3D stacked memory technology. In parallel with these efforts, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) devised a standard programming model for persistent memory, based on the notion that persistent memory is exposed to applications by the operating system through memory-mapped files.
The growing adoption of modern PMEM devices upends some long-standing traditions in distributed computing theory, such as the strong emphasis on parallelism over fault tolerance in the design of in-memory data structures and synchronization primitives. In this talk, I will discuss the impact of the modern PMEM-empowered memory hierarchy on research in distributed computing theory, particularly in the area of shared memory algorithms. The seminar will cover abstract failure and recovery models, specifications of correctness, as well as the complexity and computability of fundamental synchronization problems.
Biography: Wojciech Golab received his Ph.D. degree in computer science from the University of Toronto in 2010. In the same year, he completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Calgary and joined Hewlett-Packard Labs in Palo Alto as a Research Scientist. In 2012, he became a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Wojciech is broadly interested in concurrency and fault tolerance in distributed systems, with a special focus on bridging the gap between theory and practice. The ACM Computing Reviews recognized his doctoral research on shared memory algorithms among 91 "notable computing items published in 2012,'' and several of his other publications have been distinguished with best paper awards and journal invitations. Wojciech presently serves on the editorial boards of Information Processing Letters and Distributed Computing.
Title: Over the air test innovation and applications
Abstract: Over the air (OTA) test has been a Third Generation Partnership Project(3GPP) and Cellular Telecommunication and Internet Association (CTIA) standardized method for wireless system performance evaluation. The innovative concepts for accurate, fast, and cost-effective Single-Input-Single-Output and Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output OTA measurements are outlined. Practical implementations for wireless terminal test, intelligent connected vehicle test and all in one wireless system test are showcased for OTA innovation progress.
Yihong Qi is the President and a scientist of General Test Systems. He is an inventor of 500 published and pending patents. Dr. Qi was a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE EMC Society. He received an IEEE EMC Society Technical Achievement Award, CES innovation awards, CES Network Product of the year award and CES Wellness Product of the year award. Dr. Qi is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
Fred (Wei) Yu is the CEO of General Test System. He is founder of 4 high technology companies, including Sunway Communication, Link-E. He is an inventor of 100 published and pending patents. Dr. Yu is third generation partnership project (3GPP) and Cellular Telecommunication and Internet Communications (CTIA) international standards contributor. He received an IEEE EMC Society Technical Achievement Award. Dr. Yu is senior member of IEEE.
Title: Electromagnetic Lego
Abstract: When Smith, Pendry and others started tinkering with split-ring resonators (SRR) for realizing double negative media, little did we know then these earlier ground breaking works ushered the beginning of a completely different perspective on designing of all types of electromagnetics-based systems. The SRR, or any other resonator that has dimensions much smaller than the wavelength were used as the building blocks for single and double negative media and even near-zero media. While these exotic media enabled cloaking and design of dispersion-controlled media, the applications were largely limited. The concept of a building block, however, might hold the key to a much larger class of designs and applications. Back in the seventeenth century, Huygens conceived the idea of elementary sources as forming the radiated or scattered field. His extraordinary perception of the mechanism of the wave phenomenon preceded the full-fledged development of Maxwell equations by more than 150 years. While Huygens work was an attempt to understand the wave phenomenon through analysis, we pose the question of whether we can extend the concept of building blocks or elementary sources to synthesize electromagnetics based radiating systems. If all things in nature are composed of identical building blocks, can we conceive of a similar construction of electromagnetics systems in general?
In this talk, I will focus on the importance of understanding what is meant by metamaterial, metasurface particles or electrically-small resonators in general. Unlike building blocks used for other physical systems that are not founded on the action-at-a-distance phenomena, the electrically-small resonators, or electromagnetic Legos are more intriguing as their strong coupling needs to be tailored to ensure their desired operation. Several new designs of electromagnetics systems from lenses, to sensors and antennas will be discussed in details covering a broad range of activities conducted in my research group at Waterloo. Focusing on the concept of a building block will naturally reignite strong interest in understanding the fundamental physical phenomenon of radiation and hopefully would lead to asking important questions that were considered of secondary importance in earlier times.
Biography: Omar M. Ramahi is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He received BS degrees in mathematics and electrical and computer engineering from Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. He received his MS and PhD degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. From 1993 to 2000, he worked at Digital Equipment Corporation (presently, HP) where he was a member of the Alpha Server Product Development Group. In 2000, he joined the James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland at College Park as an assistant professor and later as a tenured associate professor. At Maryland he was also a faculty member of the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE) Electronic Products and Systems Center.
Professor Ramahi’s research interests include radiating systems, renewable energy technology, biomedical applications of electromagnetic waves and fields, electromagnetic compatibility and interference, metamaterials and its engineering applications, and material measurements.
Professor Ramahi is a co-author of the book , 2nd Ed. He has authored more than 450 journal and conference papers. He served as a consultant to several companies and co-founded Applied Electromagnetic Technology and Wave Intelligence Inc. He won the Excellent Paper Award in the 2004 International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility, Sendai, Japan, and the 2010 University of Waterloo Award for Excellence in Graduate Supervision. In 2009, he was elected IEEE Fellow, and in 2012, he was awarded the IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Society Technical Achievement Award. From 2007-2015, he served as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Advanced Packaging. From 2010-2012, he served as an IEEE EMC Society Distinguished Lecturer.
Title: Challenges in long-term autonomy
This talk will discuss the deployment of autonomous robots to perform long-term tasks in unknown and partially known environments. We will consider two different problems in this domain. The first is in improving robot performance over repeated executions of a task. This is achieved by learning the underlying structure and traversability patterns in the environment. The second is in adapting robot behaviour to user preferences. This is done through actively querying a user with different robot behaviours to elicit their preferences. For both these problems this talk will describe solution methods that combine learning, control and optimization to improve robot capabilities. The talk will conclude with a discussion of some of the fundamental challenges that remain to achieve long-term autonomy.
Stephen L. Smith received his B.Sc. degree from Queen’s University, Canada, in 2003, his M.A.Sc. degree from the University of Toronto, Canada, in 2005, and his Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA, in 2009. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Canada, where he holds a Canada Research Chair in Autonomous Systems. He is also a faculty affiliate with the Vector Institute, in Toronto, Canada. From 2009 to 2011 he was a Postdoctoral Associate in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Prof. Smith has received several awards including the Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation in 2016, the NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement Award in 2015, and two Outstanding Performance Awards from the University of Waterloo. He is a licensed Professional Engineer (PEng) with the Professional Engineers Ontario, a Senior Member of the IEEE, an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Control of Networks Systems, and a General Chair of the 2021 30th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN). His main research interests lie in control and optimization for autonomous systems, with a particular emphasis on robotic motion planning and coordination.
Title: Micro-enabled technologies for diabetes monitoring
Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterized by elevated levels of glucose. According to world healthcare organization, more than 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, the majority living in low-and middle-income countries, and 1.6 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year.
In this talk, two technologies will be presented for tracking diabetes with the goal of improving the quality-of-life diabetic patients. First, a microfluidic platform will be presented that can continuously and simultaneously measure physiological levels of circulating glucose and insulin in vivo with picomolar sensitivity and sub- second temporal resolution. This assay (called “real-time ELISA” or RT-ELISA) integrates molecular probes into a bead-based fluorescence assay, wherein analyte concentrations are measured with a highly sensitive optical readout using a specially designed microfluidic chip. In the second part of the talk, a transdermal biosensor based on hydrogel microneedles for on-needle and reagentless capture and detection of glucose will be presented. The reagentless fluorescence assay for minimally invasive detection (RFMID) integrates a novel, rapid, and simple approach to link aptamer probes- short single-stranded DNA capable of specific binding to a target molecule- to the hydrogel matrix. The RFMID has been employed for tracking rising and falling levels of glucose in an animal model of diabetes. Specifically, the RFMID can accurately track severe hypoglycemia range, which cannot be detected using the commercially available glucose monitoring devices.
The proposed RT-ELISA and RFMID techniques are expected to pave the way for the next generation of real-time, continuous biosensors.
Mahla Poudineh is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo. She received her PhD in electrical engineering (with a minor in biomedical engineering) from the University of Toronto in 2016. Prior to joining Waterloo, she completed postdoctoral training in the Department of Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Toronto, and at the School of Medicine at Stanford University, in 2017 and 2019, respectively. She received a B.Sc. (2010) and M.Sc. (2012) in electrical engineering, both from the University of Tehran, Iran. Her research interests include developing bio-sensing approaches for therapeutics and diagnostics purposes and translating biomedical devices to the clinic.
Title: Solid-State Quantum Platforms: Bloch Exciton-Polaritons and Rydberg Excitons
The first quantum revolution in the 20th century has transformed our lifestyles remarkably with triumphant scientific discoveries, original and powerful inventions, and advanced technologies. Now we are thrilled to be at the heart of Quantum Revolution 2.0, witnessing the incredible progress in quantum science and technology. Our group has been pursuing theoretical and experimental research activities to develop solid-state quantum technologies via the control of the light-matter interactions and electronic properties. Here, I introduce two exciting material systems with which we aim to construct quantum simulators: exciton-polaritons and Rydberg excitons. I discuss the lessons we recently learn from exciton-polaritons in engineered lattices towards the search of exotic quantum phases arising from the interplay of spin, orbital, topology, and interactions. And I will share our recent study about the optical scaling behavior of Rydberg excitons as a promising quantum system that can operate at high temperatures.
Dr. Na Young Kim is Associate Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, a member of Institute for Quantum Computing and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Waterloo. She leads Quantum Innovation (QuIN) laboratory, aiming to build large-scale quantum processors based on solid-state materials and advanced photonic and electronic technologies. Her research interests lie in the fields of quantum electronics, quantum optics, cavity quantum electrodynamics, condensed matter physics, and quantum information science and technology. She received a BS in Physics from Seoul National University and pursued her graduate studies exploring mesoscopic transport properties in low-dimensional nanostructures in the Department of Applied Physics at Stanford University. During her postgraduate research, she expanded her scope to the fields of quantum optics and nanophotonics, working on several experimental and theoretical projects. Prior to joining University of Waterloo in 2016, Dr. Kim was at Apple Inc., working on the development of small display products, where she got to experience delivering beloved products to world-wide consumers. She is a recipient of the Ontario Early Researcher Award and AKPA Outstanding Young Research award. She published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers, delivered over 90 invited talks at international venues, and organized international conferences to support the promotion of quantum science and technologies.
Title: On the unreasonable effectiveness of SAT solvers
Abstract: Over the last two decades, software engineering (broadly construed to include testing, analysis, synthesis, verification, and security) has witnessed a silent revolution in the form of Boolean SAT and SMT solvers. These solvers are now integral to many testing, analysis, synthesis, and verification approaches. This is largely due to a dramatic improvement in the scalability of these solvers vis-à-vis large real-world formulas. What is surprising is that the Boolean satisfiability problem is NP-complete, believed to be intractable, and yet these solvers easily solve industrial instances containing tens of millions of variables and clauses in them. How can that be?
In my talk, I will address this question of why SAT solvers are so efficient through the lens of machine learning (ML) as well as ideas from (parameterized) proof complexity. While the focus of my talk is almost entirely empirical, I will show how we can leverage theoretical ideas to not only deepen our understanding but also to build better SAT solvers. I will argue that SAT solvers are best viewed as proof systems, composed of two kinds of sub-routines: ones that implement proof rules and others that are prediction engines that optimize some metric correlated with solver running time. These prediction engines can be built using ML techniques, whose aim is to structure solver proofs in an optimal way. Thus, two major paradigms of AI, namely machine learning and logical deduction, are brought together in a principled way in order to design efficient SAT solvers. A result of my research is the MapleSAT solver that has been the winner of several recent international SAT competitions and is widely used in industry and academia.
Biography: Vijay Ganesh is an associate professor at the University of Waterloo and the Director of the Waterloo Artificial Intelligence Institute. Prior to joining Waterloo in 2012, he was a research scientist at MIT (2007-2012) and completed his PhD in computer science from Stanford in 2007.
Vijay's primary area of research is the theory and practice of SAT/SMT solvers aimed at AI, software engineering, security, mathematics, and physics. In this context he led the development of many SAT/SMT solvers, most notably, STP, Z3 string, MapleSAT, and MathCheck. He has also proved several decidability and complexity results in the context of first-order theories. He has won over 25 awards, honors, and medals to-date for his research, including an ACM Impact Paper Award at ISSTA 2019, ACM Test of Time Award at CCS 2016, and a Ten-Year Most Influential Paper citation at DATE 2008. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Springer book series "Progress in Computer Science and Applied Logic" (PCSAL) and has co-chaired many conferences, workshops, and seminars including a Simons Institute semester at Berkeley on Boolean Satisfiability in 2021.
Abstract: Social robots are robots that are designed in a human-centered manner to interact with people efficiently, but using socially acceptable, ‘natural’, interaction styles, so that they can operate in human environments alongside and in cooperation with people. This is the key approach of the Social and Intelligent Robotics Research Lab (SIRRL) at University of Waterloo. Such robots are different from traditional manufacturing robots which had to be fenced in to avoid injury to human workers. Social robots need to be intelligent and adaptive to work in dynamic, unpredictable, human-inhabited environments, not treating humans as ‘objects’ but as social entities. Similarly, humans will respond to interactive robots socially. Social robots come in different sizes and shapes, from humanoid to animal-like to machine like appearances, each associated to different expectations of their skills and abilities. Rising costs in domains such as healthcare, therapy, the need for supporting healthy aging, providing inclusive education, as well as the predicted next industrial revolution involving robotic co-workers (co-bots) – creates a real potential for social robots to make a significant contribution to society. My talk will outline some of the main concepts, challenges, and provide examples of research in those areas, as well as field studies of deploying social robots.
Since August 2018 Kerstin Dautenhahn has been Canada 150 Research Chair in Intelligent Robotics at University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. She has a joint appointment with the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Systems Design Engineering and is cross-appointed with the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at University of Waterloo. She is Visiting Professor at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. In Waterloo she is director of Social and Intelligent Robotics Research Laboratory (SIRRL). The main areas of her research are Human-Robot Interaction, Social Robotics, Assistive Technology and Artificial Life. She is Editor in Chief (jointly with Prof. Angelo Cangelosi - University of Manchester, UK) of the Journal Interaction Studies- Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems published by John Benjamins Publishing Company, Editorial Board Member of Adaptive Behavior, Sage Publications, Associate Editor of the International Journal of Social Robotics, published by Springer, and Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems (previously IEEE Transactions on Autonomous Mental Development). She is an Editor of the book series Advances in Interaction Studies, published by John Benjamins Publishing Company. Prof. Dautenhahn is on the Advisory Board of the journal AI and Society (Springer). She is a IEEE Fellow, member of ACM, and a Lifelong Fellow of AISB, as well as a member of the Executive Board of the International Foundation for Responsible Robotics. Since 2006 she has been part of the Standing Steering Committee of the IEEE conference RO-MAN (Human and Robot Interactive Communication).
Title: Designing and Testing Autonomous Vehicles: What the Engineers and Researchers are Doing and Thinking
How do you design and then test a vehicle that is supposed to drive itself. In any environment. Without getting into an accident. Ever? This presentation will explore autonomous vehicles from an engineering and research standpoint. What is an autonomous vehicle and how (and when) will vehicles evolve to reach this state? A crash course on how autonomous vehicles work. What technologies are fueling the current breed and where are they headed? What are the challenges in designing and then testing automated vehicle technologies? And how can researchers help address some of them?
Krzysztof Czarnecki is a professor in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Waterloo, where he heads the Waterloo Intelligent Systems Engineering (WISE) Laboratory. He is a leading expert in the safety of automated driving systems (ADS), with focus on assuring the safety of driving behavior and machine-learned functions. As part of his research, he has co-lead the development of UW Moose (started in 2016), Canada’s first self-driving research vehicle, which has been tested on public roads since 2018 (autonomoose.net). His recent research contributions related to ADS safety assurance include an uncertainty-centric framework for assuring the safety of perceptual components based on machine learning, a framework for specifying driving behavior requirements, and methods for modeling and sampling road user behavior. He serves on SAE task forces on driving automation definitions, reference architecture, verification and validation, and maneuvers and behaviors, the Canadian Mirror Committee of ISO TC 22/SC 32 (contribution to ISO/PAS 21448 Safety of the Intended Functionality), and the UL STP 4600 Evaluation of Autonomous Products standards committee. Before working on automated driving, he advised Pratt and Whitney Canada on creating reusable software designs and components for aircraft engine control systems (2011-2015). Before coming to Waterloo, he was a researcher at DaimlerChrysler Research (1995-2002), Germany, focusing on improving software development practices and technologies in enterprise, automotive, and aerospace sectors. He co-authored the book on "Generative Programming" (Addison- Wesley, 2000), which pioneered automated software engineering based on feature modeling, domain-specific languages, and program generation. While at Waterloo, he held the NSERC/Bank of Nova Scotia Industrial Research Chair in Requirements Engineering of Service-oriented Software Systems (2008-2013) and worked on methods and tools for engineering complex software-intensive systems. He received the Premier's Research Excellence Award in 2004 and the British Computing Society in Upper Canada Award for Outstanding Contributions to IT Industry in 2008. He has also received seven Best Paper Awards, two ACM Distinguished Paper Awards, and two Most Influential Paper Awards. His publications have been widely cited (over 25,000 citations on Google Scholar).
University of Waterloo
200 University Ave W, Waterloo, ON
Phone: (519) 888-4567
Staff and Faculty Directory
Contact the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Office of Indigenous Relations.