UVic plays a prominent role in the quantum revolution

CProfessor Müller stands outside in front of arbutus trees.

Hausi Müller vividly recalls the excitement he felt being part of the computing scene in the early 1970s, when the digital world was starting to explode and the changes it promised seemed like science fiction.

Fast forward 50 years and recent advances in quantum computing have got Müller just as excited as he was back then.

In October, the professor of computer science pulled off the most extensive, high-profile conference believed ever to have been held on quantum computing. The first IEEE International Conference on Quantum Computing and Engineering attracted more than 800 industry leaders, researchers, educators and enthusiasts from around the globe.

“There are a lot of problems we cannot sufficiently solve with today’s classical computers, even our super computers,” says Müller. “Quantum computers can potentially make an enormous leap in our power, speed and efficiency so we can address these problems.”Read more

Staff take the initiative in bringing online courses to life

Katz stands in a machine shop, where there are various machines and materials, holding a small piece of cardboard to which five metal parts are attached.

Engineering Drawing has always been a popular course among mechanical engineering students at UVic because it’s usually their first experience in designing, manufacturing and testing a real device in a well-equipped machine shop.

This term, when the course commonly known as MECH 200 went online, Rodney Katz was determined to find a way to retain some its experiential elements. With the help of three co-op students, Katz began manufacturing kits that will enable more than 100 students enrolled in the course to assemble, measure and test small devices in their own homes.

“I thought it was important that the students get a real sense of hands-on manufacturing and measuring,” said Katz, who oversees the machine shop. “It’s critical in engineering to be able to measure precisely and that’s what students will be challenged to do with these kits.”Read more

Science Venture’s transition online a smashing success

A family of two parents and two school-aged children look with interest at two laptops set on a table.

Leaders of UVic’s Science Venture are thrilled at how successfully their team was able to transition its hugely popular youth summer camps to a virtual format.

During the summer, Science Venture ran 55 week-long camps for more than 1,600 young people – close to the same as last year’s total – at no cost to families.

“We got great feedback from parents, the kids had a great time, and I think it’s safe to say that we now feel very capable and confident about delivering hands-on STEM experiences for youth in a virtual setting,” said David Jackson, acting director of Science Venture, which is supported by UVic’s faculties of Engineering, Science and Education.

Science Venture provides high-quality, year-round programming in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) to thousands of children and youth on Vancouver Island each year.Read more

Faculty celebrates recent awards

Two images appear side by side: one of Lin Cai, standing outdoors, and the other of Tom Gleeson, crouching by a stream.

Two faculty members – Lin Cai and Tom Gleeson – have recently been recognized for their outstanding contributions.

Cai, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been named a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). Cai is known internationally for her ground-breaking work on the development and analysis of wireless technologies supporting Internet-of-Things and multimedia applications. Her work focuses on ensuring that future wireless systems are reliable and efficient in supporting Internet-connected devices, which are estimated to reach 24 billion by 2030.

Gleeson, an associate professor of civil engineering, has received the President’s Chair, the highest academic honour UVic can bestow on a faculty member. Gleeson’s far-reaching contributions include extensive research into groundwater research and sustainability, numerous high-profile publications, many collaborative projects from the local to international level, and engaging courses aimed at educating future leaders about water sustainability.Read more

Top engineering capstone may benefit satellite industry

Screen shot of a Zoom meeting of the four winning team students.

An exceptional project developed by four UVic engineering students not only earned top prize in their class, but may also benefit a Toronto-based satellite communications firm and similar companies.

As part of a capstone course, the student team created a software algorithm that calculates the direction in which a miniature satellite is pointed by using an infrared image of earth’s horizon and magnetic compass.

More than 200 fourth-year UVic students – from electrical, computer, software and biomedical engineering – were enrolled in the capstone course in the summer. They worked on a wide range of projects, from facial recognition systems and automated hydroponic gardening, to deep-learning-based forest fire detection and monitoring vital signs for COVID-19 patients.

All 56 projects are available for viewing as part of a virtual open house, organized by Fayez Gebali, the professor in charge of the course.Read more

Two new buildings to help address faculty’s enormous growth

An artist’s rendering of the new six-storey building, including surrounding foliage, as well as nearby pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.

The increasing importance of engineering and computing in today’s world, along with the growing demand from students and industry, are driving the tremendous growth our faculty has experienced over the last decade.

We’ve doubled the number of undergraduate students since 2009 to address what we’ve heard from the community: that the lack of a deep talent pool is limiting the advancement of BC’s technology industry, the fastest growing driver of our provincial economy.

The Province of BC is providing substantial program funding so we can further increase our engineering and computer science enrolments by 500 new undergraduate degree spaces by 2023. This translates into as many more graduates annually – bright young people who will pursue careers that make an impact.

We’re now in the detailed design stage of a capital expansion that will see the construction of two new buildings to house our growing programs. Construction is slated to start in fall 2021.Read more

Giving back on Dec. 1 and throughout the year

A male and female student work together indoors on a hybrid car project that involvies many electrical wires..

We’re so proud of alumna Anna Stukas – both for being recognized in this year’s “Forty under 40” list by Business in Vancouver (BIV) and for leading the creation of a fund designed to promote diversity within our faculty.

Stukas, who graduated from Mechanical Engineering in 2004, will receive the BIV award during a ceremony in December. The awards recognize the achievements of young BC professionals who have demonstrated excellence in business, judgment, leadership and community contribution.

Stukas is showing just that sort of leadership and contribution with a fund designed to provide support to student-led initiatives that champion equity, diversity and inclusion within the Faculty of Engineering. She’s hoping other grads will support the initiative by contributing to the fund on “Giving Tuesday.”

Giving Tuesday is the annual global celebration of philanthropy that inspires people to support their favorite causes. This year it takes place on Dec. 1, for just 24 hours.Read more

Giving Tuesday: a great opportunity to support student teams

Twenty students form three rows in an outdoor, desert location. The row kneeling in front holds a long rocket called “Hyak-1.” All 20 students point to the sky as if at a rocket that is out of sight.

Our faculty’s undergraduate programs are well known for their strong emphasis on hands-on learning – from a highly regarded co-op program, to integrated design courses, to an impressive range of student teams and clubs.

For many students, participating in a competitive team is a way to put into practice the skills they’ve learned in the classroom, while also building experience in communication, collaboration, leadership and professionalism.

To date, our student teams have designed and built rockets, satellites, race cars, hybrid engines, concrete canoes, submarines and more.

This year, as part of Giving Tuesday, we’re showcasing our amazing competitive teams. Taking place this year on Dec. 1, for just 24 hours, Giving Tuesday is the annual global celebration of philanthropy that inspires people to support their favorite causes in any way they can.Read more

Message from the Dean

A head-and-shoulder image of Peter Wild, who is standing outdoors.

As we near the end of what has been a very challenging year, I’d like to wish you, your families and colleagues a very peaceful holiday season and a healthy year ahead.

Throughout these past months, our students have persevered with their learning, while our faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to develop innovative ways to teach and operate in this new paradigm. We continue to be driven to find answers to some of society’s most pressing problems, including the challenges of COVID-19.

During 2021, we at UVic Engineering and Computer Science look forward to continuing to share with you how we are creating sustainable, healthy, intelligent solutions to improve the quality of life for generations to come. On behalf of the entire faculty, thank you so much for being part of our wonderful community. I look forward to the day when we can all meet again in person.

Peter Wild, PhD, PEng
Acting Dean, Faculty of Engineering