Engineering Science Education Conference 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

A showcase of exploration, discovery and inspiration

ESEC is a one-day conference celebrating the breadth of challenges being solved in each of the 8 Engineering Science Disciplines.



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BA 1160


Perspectives on Autonomous Mobile Robots

Alonzo Kelley Professor, Carnegie Mellon University

Abstract: Worldwide efforts to develop mobile robots started in the 1980s when manipulators were already comparatively mature. In 30 years we have advanced from barely moving indoor robots that could barely see to systems that can drive for a day outdoors, both on and off road, at reasonable speeds, with no issues. As you might expect, some of the technology is now used in assistive mode in cars and elsewhere. The international research community seems to have done its job in those 30 years. The talk will present some milestones along the way and some glimpses of the technology under-the-hood that makes it all possible with some emphasis on my own (and related) work in order to tell the story with video.

Alonzo Kelly is a professor at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. He has been active in robotics in both industry and academia since the 1980’s.

In industry, he has worked on robot manipulators and mobile robots for space, defense, nuclear, process industry, manufacturing, and distribution applications and he continues to participate in numerous robotics commercialization activities. In academia, his research interests include perception, planning, control, simulation, and operator interfaces for indoor and outdoor mobile robots. Professor Kelly teaches mobile robots at the graduate and undergraduate level and he is the author of a recent textbook entitled Mobile Robots: Mathematics, Models and Methods. Professor Kelly is a 1984 graduate of the aerospace option of the engineering science program at UofT.

BA 1130


Integrating New Technology in to Legacy Designs

Johanne Picard-Thompson Senior Vice President of Projects, AltaLink LP

Johanne Picard-Thompson serves as Senior Vice President of Projects at AltaLink LP. In this capacity, she oversees AltaLink’s diverse project portfolio which in aggregate represents a multibillion dollar capital program.

Prior to joining AltaLink, Picard-Thompson served as General Manager of Oil Sands Growth Operations at Shell Canada overseeing operations, commissioning and startup planning for Shell’s latest upgrading and mining expansion projects.

In addition to her experience in transmission and oil and gas, Picard-Thompson started her career in manufacturing and led Celestica’s Canadian operations through the growth years of manufacturing outsourcing.

Picard-Thompson has been recognized as a Globe and Mail – Report on Business Top 40 Under 40 for her success in finding innovative solutions to rapidly growing an organization.

Picard-Thompson is an Engineering Science graduate from the University of Toronto and a graduate of Queens MBA program. In addition, she is an active supporter and sponsor of the United Way.


BA 1160

Biomedical Systems

Uncovering the cell's guidance mechanism through computational biology

Pablo Iglesias Professor, Johns Hopkins University

Pablo A. Iglesias was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1964. He received the B.A.Sc. degree in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto in 1987, and the Ph.D. degree in Control Engineering from Cambridge University in 1991.

Since then he has been on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University, where he is currently the Edward J. Schaefer Professor of Electrical Engineering. He also holds appointments in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, and Applied Mathematics & Statistics as well as the Department of Cell Biology in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He has had visiting appointments at Lund University (Automatic Control), The Weizmann Institute of Science(Mathematics), the California Institute of Technology (Control and Dynamical Systems), and the Max-Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, Germany.

Dr. Iglesias has authored over 150 research articles as well as two books: Minimum Entropy Control for Time-Varying Systems (Birkhäuser) and Control Theory and Systems Biology (MIT Press). He has received a number of awards for both research (the Charles E. Ives Best Paper award for the Journal of Imaging Technology) and teaching (the George E. Owen Teaching Award at Johns Hopkins University) and also named a Distinguished lecturer for the IEEE Control Systems Society.

Dr. Iglesias’s research focuses on the use of control and information theory to study biological signal transduction pathways. Among his research interests are: understanding how cells interpret directional cues to guide cell motion, the regulatory mechanisms that control cell division, and the sensing and actuation that enable cells to maintain lipid homeostasis.

BA 1130

Math, Stats, and Finance

Engineering Business

Alex Triantis Dean, Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

Alex Triantis is dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

As a highly regarded expert in the area of financial strategy and corporate finance and valuation, Triantis has published numerous articles in leading academic journals, including the Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of Finance, Journal of International Economics, Journal of Law and Economics, Management Science, and the Review of Financial Studies, and in practitioner journals such as RISK, Journal of Applied Corporate Finance and Mergers and Acquisitions. His research has been featured in Businessweek, CFO magazine, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and numerous other periodicals. He currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance and as a Senior Editor of Production and Operations Management. He has also served as Editor of Financial Management (1999-2005) and Associate Editor of Management Science.

Triantis has consulted and provided executive training in the areas of corporate finance and valuation, including issues related to capital investment decision making, financing strategies, risk management, real options analysis, derivatives pricing, and project finance. Clients have included multinational corporations and organizations such as Airbus Industrie, BHP Billiton, CSX, Dupont, Ernst & Young, Hyatt, Jefferies and Company, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Morgan Stanley, Northrop Grumman, PricewaterhouseCoopers, U.S. Dept. of Energy, and the World Bank. He is a frequent speaker at domestic and international conferences and executive forums. He has received numerous awards and citations for teaching excellence, including being a two-time recipient of Smith School’s top award (Krowe Award), and being named by Business week as an Outstanding Professor at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Maryland..




BA 1160


Following Your Dreams

David St-Jacques Astronaut, Canadian Space Agency

Canadian Space Agency Astronaut David Saint-Jacques will take you on the learning journey that led him to become a Canadian astronaut and talk about his training. He will also give an overview of Canadian Space Agency projects and will share some insights on some of the future opportunities for students.

David Saint-Jacques is a modern-day explorer. On his path to the stars, he lived in the Arctic, explored alien caves and has even lived and trained underwater. In Toronto, to speak with future Canadian space explorers, he stops at the 10th Annual Engineering Science Education Conference to share his journey.

Married with two children, David was born in Quebec City and raised in Saint-Lambert near Montreal, Canada. David earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Engineering Physics from École polytechnique de Montréal and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Cambridge University, UK. He later earned his M.D. from Université Laval in Quebec City, and completed his family medicine residency at McGill University in Montreal where his training focused on first-line, isolated medical practice. Prior to joining the Canadian Space Program, David was a medical doctor and the Co-chief of Medicine at Inuulitsivik Health Centre in Puvirnituq, Canada, an Arctic village on Hudson Bay.

David was selected in May 2009 as one of two members of the third Canadian Astronaut selection. He is one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class. In 2011, David graduated from Astronaut Candidate Training and is now eligible for spaceflight. Since his graduation, he is assigned to the Robotics Branch of the Astronaut Office. In October 2011, he participated in the underwater mission, NEEMO 15 (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) and, in September 2012, in the European Space Agency’s CAVES training.

Since his graduation, he has been assigned as Crew Support Astronaut for Expedition 36/37 and is a Capcom at NASA’s Mission Control Center, the voice between the ground and the International Space Station. David continues to build and maintain his skills through spacewalk, robotics, Russian and flight training.

BA 1130


Infrastructure Resilience

Jeffrey Packer Professor of Civil Engineering, University of Toronto

Professor Jeff Packer graduated from the University of Adelaide, Australia, then received his Master’s degree from the University of Manchester and Ph.D. from the University of Nottingham in the U.K. Since his appointment at the University of Toronto in 1980 he has undertaken research, development and consulting work primarily on tubular steel structures. He has published extensively on this topic, including 15 books.

He currently serves on technical committees for the American Welding Society, American Institute of Steel Construction, Comité International pour le Développement et l’Étude de la Construction Tubulaire, Canadian Standards Association and the International Institute of Welding (IIW).

He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Ontario and the U.K., Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (U.K.), Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, has served on the Editorial Boards of several journals and as a Director of IIW and Cast Connex Corporation.

Recent awards include: D.Sc. degree from the University of Nottingham (2006), Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) “Excellence in Innovation in Civil Engineering Award” (2009), Ontario Professional Engineers “Engineering Medal for Research and Development” (2010), CSCE “Gzowski Medal” (2011) and the ASCE “Shortridge Hardesty Award” (2012).


BA 1160

Electrical & Computer

From the lab to the world: finding success by thinking big and taking risks

Karl Martin Founder and CEO, Bionym

Dr. Karl Martin is the CEO and co-founder of Bionym. His passion lies in building things -- things that surprise, delight, and make you do a double take. Bionym is creating the first wearable biometric authenticator, known as the Nymi Band. Pre-launched last year, and coming to market this fall, the Nymi Band has gained worldwide attention, being covered in Wired, Popular Science, The New York Times, BBC, The Economist, Forbes, and many others. Bionym recently raised a $14 million Series A.

Beyond building things, Karl is also passionate about creating compelling stories, and sharing his experiences with the startup community. Karl holds a BASc (EngSci-Elec 0T1), MASc (ECE 0T3), and PhD (ECE 1T0), all from the University of Toronto, with expertise in the areas of biometrics, cryptography, and privacy. Prior to starting Bionym, he led a small consulting company, creating custom biometric systems for industrial and government clients. He is also an active volunteer in the IEEE, serving as the Toronto Section Vice-Chair.

BA 1130


Deep Learning and Quantum Computing

Geordie Rose CTO, D-Wave

Geordie is the founder (1999), CEO (1999-2003) and then CTO (2004+) of D-Wave. D‑Wave designs and builds a number of complex technologies, and integrates them to create the world’s first quantum computers. These include the world’s most advanced superconducting processor fabrication facility, complex input/output electronics and filtering, milliKelvin temperature refrigeration systems, nanoGauss magnetic shielding systems, processor architecture and simulation tools, and the entire software stack from processor firmware to end user applications.

The company’s customers include Google, NASA, Lockheed Martin, and US government agencies, and investors include DFJ (Steve Jurvetson has been on the Board since 2003), Goldman Sachs, Jeff Bezos and In-Q-Tel. The company has in excess of 100 granted US patents of such depth and breadth that in 2012 IEEE Spectrum ranked D‑Wave #4 overall in ‘patent power’ for computer systems companies, ahead of Dell, NEC and Lenovo.

Geordie is a sought after speaker on topics related to D-Wave, including quantum computation and artificial intelligence, and how D-Wave succeeded in achieving its technical, recruiting, business and financing goals. He has spoken at TED and a range of other high profile events, and D-Wave has received coverage from The Economist, The New York Times, Wired, MIT Tech Review, Science and Nature Magazines, and in February 2014 was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. A Harvard Business School case study was written on the company in 2003.

Geordie earned a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of British Columbia (2000) with Philip Stamp, studying the effects of nuclear spins on decoherence in molecular magnets. Prior to UBC he graduated top of his class at McMaster University (1994) with a BEng in engineering physics.

Since D-Wave was founded in 1999, the company has raised over $130M, of which the first $50M was raised by Geordie, including the first top-tier US VC (DFJ in 2002) to invest in quantum computation. Geordie led the business development projects for both Lockheed Martin and Google systems purchases leading to the first ever purchase of a quantum computer, and over $25M in revenue.

Geordie is an inventor on 23 granted US patents and a co-author on a large number of published scientific articles, including two Nature papers, more than a dozen PRLs and PRBs, two NIPS and one ACML paper. In addition, he was named the 2011 Canadian Innovator of the Year, was named to Foreign Policy Magazine's 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2013, won the 2014 Canadian Technology Leader award, has won two Canadian national wrestling championships, won world championships in 2011 in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in both gi and no-gi categories, won the provincial A beach volleyball championship with Jason Hall in 2003, for a short time held the Guinness Book of World Records world record for the most yogurt eaten in one minute, and is the current holder of British Columbia powerlifting records in deadlift and total for the 105kg masters division.


Reception with refreshments and networking Hart House


Welcome from the chair

On behalf of the Division of Engineering Science, I am delighted to welcome you to the 10th Annual Engineering Science Education Conference. This conference was founded based on a desire to give our first and second year students a glimpse of science and engineering beyond the conventional classroom walls. Each year, we attract speakers from major universities and leading technical companies to present a snapshot of their work, and we are fortunate that in this milestone year, we have been able to bring in an extremely accomplished group of speakers.

ESEC is a great opportunity for interaction between the thought leaders of today and those of tomorrow, and I hope that you will both enjoy and make the most of it.

Best Regards,

Professor Mark Kortschot, Ph.D., P.Eng., FCAE

Chair, Division of Engineering Science

ESEC Executive

Message from the ESEC execs

Welcome to the 2015 Engineering Science Education Conference website!

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of ESEC – 10 years of inspiring students, 10 years’ worth of distinguished speakers from industry, academia, and startup companies. In this time, ESEC has provided students with a forum for interacting with speakers from around the world who are leaders of their respective fields with illustrious careers in research and industry. We hope to continue this tradition with our speakers for this year, representing each of the eight Engineering Science Options.

At this conference, we hope to inspire you to explore different career paths in terms of research, education, job positions, and development in the eight major fields of Engineering Science. This is an amazing opportunity to learn and interact with well-established professionals and role models with strong careers in academia, industry, and entrepreneurship as they pave the way for the leaders of tomorrow.


The ESEC Executive Committee 2014-2015

Alice Ye
Behzad Abghari
Operations Director
Kostya Golovan
Promotions Director
ESEC Executive