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					  WWW. POLYMTL . CA / RECHERCHE /C LICK                      “E NGLISH    VERSION ”



Top Quebec engineering school ranks high in Canadian
academic community
POLYTECHNIQUE IS QUEBEC’S LARGEST ENGINEERING SCHOOL. DIRECTOR ROBERT L. PAPINEAU REELS OFF SOME IMPRESSIVE FIGURES: 5,900 STUDENTS, 220
PROFESSORS, $50-MILLION PLUS IN RESEARCH, 24,000 GRADUATES IN 131 YEARS – AND THE COUNTRY’S WIDEST CHOICE OF ENGINEERING
PROGRAMS. THESE DAYS, ÉCOLE POLYTECHNIQUE CAMPUS ON THE STEEP SLOPES OF MOUNT ROYAL IN THE HEART OF MONTREAL IS SWARMING WITH CON-
STRUCTION WORKERS. THE VENERABLE INSTITUTION IS GETTING A FACELIFT.

                                                                           “Eighty percent of the         hopes to see this type of
                                                                       major gifts we receive come        teamwork in all Polytechnique       Yes, engineers build bridges, dams, and highways,
                                                                       from companies and only            programs by the fall of 2005.       but that’s not all. “Those are the most visible faces
                                                                       20% from individuals,” says            This kind of collaboration
                                                                       Danis Prud’homme, Executive        is nothing new for Polytech-        of engineering, but recently we’ve seen some thrilling
                                                                       Director of the Foundation.        nique. Several of the 11            new areas emerge, such as nanorobotics, virtual
                                                                       “In the U.S., it’s the other       undergraduate programs
                                                                       way round.”                        already include a “co-op con-       reality, and environmental and biomedical engineer-
                                                                           Two years ago, the             nection” – alternating terms        ing applications.”
                                                                       Foundation received its            of school and work – or
                                                                       largest-ever gift, $8 million      optional placements with
                                                                       from alumnus Pierre                a company. “Every year, we
                                                                       Lassonde, Founding President       offer about 500 placements        off 14 companies, which in        on infrastructure grants from
                                                                       of the American mining com-        to our students, ranging          turn have created 250 jobs        Research Quebec and the
                                                                       pany Franco Nevada. That           from four to eight or even        and generated $30 million         Canada Foundation for
                                                                       donation has funded two            12 months,” says Lafleur.         in investments in risk capital    Innovation, says Guy.
                                                                                                                                            and stock market financing.
“B            y the spring
              of 2005,” says
              Polytechnique
                                     which deals with social issues,
                                     should be of special interest
                                     to women, who still make up
                                                                       new buildings, the Claudette-
                                                                       MacKay-Lassonde and Pierre-
                                                                       Lassonde Pavilions. Around
                                                                                                          “For the company, it’s a
                                                                                                          tremendous tool for sizing
                                                                                                          up prospective employees.”        Research chairs
                                                                                                                                                                              A short history lesson
                                                                                                                                                                                  Founded in 1873, École
Director Robert L. Papineau,         only 22% of the total student     the same time, Matrox                                                    Polytechnique works close-    Polytechnique has made
“nearly everything should be         body, says Papineau.              President Lorne Trottier           International outreach            ly with industry. “We current-    substantial contributions to
back on campus. We’ve been           “Biomedical engineers, who        donated $2 million for the             Globalization is the big      ly have 16 industrial chairs at   the scientific and economic
scattered onto eight different       work closely with physicians,     Atrium between the two             buzzword, and Lafleur sees        the school, half of which are     development of Canada.
sites, but now we’ll be in four      have many important inven-        buildings.                         international experience          co-funded by the Natural          Polytechnique graduates have
convenient buildings: the            tions to their credit, such as        Every year, the Foundation     playing an increasingly impor-    Sciences and Engineering          worked on major hydroelec-
new Lassonde and J.-Armand           the artificial heart, magnetic    receives about $500,000 from       tant role in Polytechnique        Research Council of Canada,”      tric projects and most of the
Bombardier Pavilions, the            resonance imaging equip-          graduates and $2.5 million in      programs. “We’ve already          such as the Hydro-Québec/         major installations completed
existing André-Aisenstadt            ment, laparoscopy equip-          corporate donations and gifts      signed over 150 contracts for     NSERC industrial research         in the twentieth century.
Pavilion, and the main build-        ment, and virtual laboratories    from private foundations and       exchanges with universities       chair on water resource           Today, they work in the
ing, which will also house the       for experimental surgery.”        individuals who want to share      in 15 countries. We welcome       management.                       aerospace industry, telecom-
Hydro-Québec structures lab                                            their good fortune.                about 400 foreign students        “Polytechnique has been           munications, nanotechnolo-
– a flexible world-class             Fresh start for                                                      every year, but only 100 or       awarded 24 Canada Research        gies, environment, biotech-
research infrastructure.             Polytechnique                     Design engineers                   so of our students spend a        Chairs for our strong research    nologies, and the biomedical
    “The brand new                                                     open to industry                   semester or a year abroad.”       performance.”                     sciences – not to mention
                                     Foundation                                                                                                 Polytechnique research        traditional branches of
Bombardier building (shared                                            and the world                          Quebec companies are
                                         Over the next few years,                                                                           revenue has risen steadily        engineering.
with the Université de                                                                                    increasingly exporting their
                                     demographers predict that             “More and more these                                             over the past three decades –         “Nearly all the big consult-
Montréal) is huge - 16,000                                                                                engineering expertise.
                                      a vast amount of money will      days, we ask industry people                                         from $6.1 million in 1980         ing engineering firms in
square metres - with facilities                                                                           Consulting engineering firm
                                     change hands as Canadian          to help us train our students,”                                      to $16.4 million in 1990          Quebec are currently headed,
for interdisciplinary research                                                                            SNC-Lavalin, for one, is now
                                     baby boomers inherit their        says Pierre G. Lafleur,                                              and over the $50 million          or have been in the past,
in aerospace, nanotechnolo-                                                                               active in about 100 countries
                                     family fortunes.                  Academic Training Director                                           mark in 2003-2004. That           by Polytechnique graduates,”
gies, chemistry, pharmacolo-                                                                              around the world. No won-
                                         Many generous souls           at Polytechnique. The PRISME                                         includes 353 research grants      says Bernard Lamarre, former
gy, biotechnologies, and                                                                                  der companies are looking to
                                     make planned donations            project, for example, prepares                                       ($18.9 million), 282 research     CEO of Lavalin (class of
educational technologies,”                                                                                hire engineering graduates
                                     to charitable organizations       students to make the leap                                            contracts ($13.6 million), and    1952).
says Papineau.                                                                                            with a yen for foreign travel.
                                     and other worthy causes,          from campus to industry.                                             $18.6 million in instalments
    The departments of electri-
                                     such as the Polytechnique         “The students team up with         Fertile ground
cal engineering, computer
                                     Foundation. But planned giv-      an industry partner and work
and software engineering,
                                     ing is not yet an integral part   on a real problem for a full
                                                                                                          for research and
computer services, the library,                                                                           entrepreneurship
                                     of our culture, as it is south    year. The company even
and several classrooms will be
                                     of the border.                    invests in the project.” Lafleur        Polyvalor, a technology
located in the Pierre-Lassonde
                                                                                                          transfer company founded
and Claudette-MacKay-
                                                                                                          in 1998 to commercialize
Lassonde Pavilion, a “green”
                                                                                                          research conducted at
building that won a 2003
                                                                                                          Polytechnique, is a joint ven-
Award of Merit from
                                                                                                          ture between Polytechnique
Canadian Architect magazine.
                                                                                                          and the Quebec Federation
                                                                                                          of Labour. “For us, the bene-
The many faces of
                                                                                                          fits are threefold,” says
engineering
                                                                                                          Christophe Guy, Director
    Yes, engineers build
                                                                                                          of Research and Innovation.
bridges, dams, and highways,
                                                                                                          “Polyvalor makes money
but that’s not all. “Those are
                                                                                                          through dividends paid for
the most visible faces of engi-
                                                                                                          technologies developed here
neering, but recently we’ve
                                                                                                          and the eventual sale of
seen some thrilling new areas
                                                                                                          shares in related companies.
emerge, such as nanorobot-
                                                                                                           It gets new research con-
ics, virtual reality, and environ-
                                                                                                          tracts from those companies.
mental and biomedical engi-
                                                                                                          And the companies employ
neering applications,”
                                                                                                          our graduates.”
Papineau points out.
                                                                                                               So far, Polyvalor has spun
    The biomedical sector,

10                       Mai 2004
  WWW. POLYMTL . CA / RECHERCHE /C LICK                    “E NGLISH     VERSION ”




                                   tion with fellow researchers       Ad Opt software,” says            Modelling and Computer-
Research projects                  from the École de technologie      Soumis with pride.                Assisted Surgery Lab. He and
Chair in Next Generations          supérieure (ÉTS), McGill                                             his team are working on digi-
Mobile Networking Systems          University, and the Armand-        Fissure and fatigue               tal techniques for 3D geomet-
Four patent applications in        Frappier Institute,” says          research                          ric modelling of the bone
less than two years                Raymond Desjardins, the pro-                                         structure. Aubin has refined
                                                                          “Whenever I get on a
    The NSERC/Ericsson             fessor in charge of CREDEAU.                                         techniques for developing
                                                                      plane, I can’t help thinking
Industrial Chair in Next                Now that they’re fully                                          original, less-invasive interven-
                                                                      about fissures and fatigue in
Generations Mobile                 equipped, CREDEAU and the                                            tions and for the design of
                                                                      the fuselage…” says Marie
Networking Systems recently        teams from the other univer-                                         operating tables that will help
                                                                      Bernard, a pioneer and expert
applied for a patent on a          sities are discussing various                                        surgical staff to better position
                                                                      in research on material resist-
technique for characterizing       research projects they plan                                          the patient, significantly
                                                                      ance and mechanical rupture.
traffic on communications          to submit to the Quebec gov-                                         improving therapeutic results.
                                                                          Frequent fliers owe a debt
networks. “This new method         ernment or municipalities.         of gratitude to Bernard and
lets us predict the quantity of
                                                                      her team in the Analysis
                                                                                                        Manufacturing
traffic on a network so access     New system for crew                Group for Mechanical              molecules
providers can give their clients   and aircraft scheduling                                                                                  Centre for Life Cycle              Virtual Manufacturing
                                                                      Components. The team,                 Professor Mario Jolicoeur,
better service,” explains                                                                                                                   Assessment, Interpretation
Samuel Pierre, who holds the
                                       The Chair in Optimization      including professor Thang         an expert in metabolic engi-
                                                                                                                                            and Management (known as
                                                                                                                                                                               Laboratory
                                   of Major Transportation            Bui-Quoc, is characterizing       neering with the Chemical                                                  This lab recently received
Chair.                                                                                                                                      CIRAIG) is an official partner
                                   Networks at the Polytech-          the behaviour of metallic         Engineering Department at                                              $7 million to outfit two rooms
    This is the fourth patent                                                                                                               of the United Nations
                                   nique was one of seven             materials under cyclical loads    Polytechnique, runs a “mole-                                           used to study machining
application made by                                                                                                                         Environment Program
                                   finalists for the 2004 Franz       and temperature changes.          cule factory.” His team uses                                           processes and dimensional
researchers for the Chair,                                                                                                                  (UNEP)/ SETAC Life Cycle
                                   Edelman Award, presented               The hydraulic equipment       cells from mammals and veg-                                            metrology.
which was set up in the fall of                                                                                                             Initiative.
                                   by the Institute for Operations    in Bernard’s lab replicates       etable matter to produce                                                   A contract has already
2002 with $1.5 million in                                                                                                                       Founded in 2001, CIRAIG’s
                                   Research and the Management        movements and constraints         molecules with commercial                                              been signed with Bombardier
funding over five years from                                                                                                                mission is to develop Canadian
                                   Sciences (INFORMS) in              of aircraft metals, as well as    applications, primarily in the                                         and Pratt & Whitney Canada.
the Natural Sciences and                                                                                                                    university expertise in sustain-
                                   the U.S.                           temperatures ranging from -       field of pharmaceuticals.                                              “We analyze machining
Engineering Research Council                                                                                                                able development, with a
                                       The Chair, which has some      55 to 650 degrees Celsius.            “Our research involves the                                         processes and digitally-con-
of Canada and Ericsson, a                                                                                                                   special focus on the fields
                                   50 researchers, was recog-                                           in-vitro production of compo-                                          trolled tools in a highly stable
major multinational supplier                                          Engineers in the                                                      of Life Cycle Management
                                   nized for the team’s work on                                         nents with interesting fea-                                            metrological environment to
of telecommunications equip-                                                                                                                (LCM) and Life Cycle
ment and services.
                                   the Bombardier Flexjet sched-      operating room                    tures. For example, we know                                            learn more about how they
                                   uling system, which “has                                             that certain plant extracts         Assessment (LCA). The
                                                                         Carl-Éric Aubin, a                                                 Centre makes measurement           work,” says René Mayer, the
Water treatment                    decreased the number of air-       researcher in biomechanics        have therapeutic or anti-car-                                          Polytechnique professor in
                                   craft required by 20% and                                            cinogenic properties, but           tools available to companies
                                                                      and surgical engineering,                                             and governments.                   charge of the Product
CREDEAU gets $12.5                 crew deployment costs by           heads the Biomechanical           they’re too expensive to pro-                                          Development and
                                   26%,” says François Soumis.                                          duce in bulk. By generating             “We analyze the compo-
million for advanced                                                                                                                        nents of products’ life cycles,”   Manufacturing Research
                                   The innovative system boost-                                         cell cultures, we should be                                            Group at the Consortium
equipment                          ed Bombardier’s consolidated                                         able to isolate the required        says Professor Réjean Samson,
                                                                                                                                            an expert in chemical engi-        for Research and Innovation
   The Centre for Research,        earnings by the equivalent                                           matter and make it profitable                                          in Aerospace in Quebec
Development and Validation         of 10%.                                                              to produce,” says Jolicoeur.        neering. “We measure the
                                                                                                                                            environmental impact of            (known as CRIAQ).
of Water Treatment                     Soumis, who holds the                                                                                                                       “Our major strength is
Technologies (known as CRE-        Chair, is a founder and the                                          CIRAIG makes strategic              every phase, from assembling
                                                                                                                                                                               developing the knowledge,
                                                                                                                                            raw materials to processing,
DEAU) at Polytechnique             second-largest shareholder in                                        environmental                                                          expertise, and software man-
recently obtained a major          Ad Opt Technologies, a com-                                                                              distribution and disposal, con-
                                                                                                        information available               sidering the inherent costs in     ufacturers can use to design
grant ($12.5 million) for the      pany founded by Polytech-                                                                                                                   and validate their own proce-
acquisition of advanced            nique students and professors                                        to Canadian companies               each phase, including energy.”
                                                                                                                                                                               dures,” Mayer notes.
equipment for research on          in 1987. “Half of all the air-                                          Polytechnique even has a
water treatment.                   traffic controllers in the world                                     United Nations connection:
   “We made a joint applica-       work on schedules plotted on                                         the Interuniversity Reference




                                                                                                                                                                           Mai 2004                        11

				
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