Fall 2005


Dave Plant awarded Fellow of OSA

Professor David Plant, was was elevated to the rank of fellow of the Optical Society of America in October 2005 in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of free-space optical interconnects and enabling optoelectronic-VLSI devices.

Only 10% of the total membership who have served with distinction in the advancement of optics are eligible for transfer to the class of Fellow, and are evaluated on significant publications, invited papers, service to the OSA, optics inventions or achievements in optics, development of a new instruments, creative reproduction and manufacturing approaches, engineering-oriented ideas, creation of software, and management ability.

The Optical Society of America

was founded in 1916 to increase and diffuse the knowledge of optics, and to promote the common interests of investigators of optical problems, designers, and users of optical apparatus of all kinds. Its purpose is scientific, technical and educational, and its mission is to promote the generation, application and archiving of knowledge in optics and photonics, and to disseminate this knowledge worldwide. The OSA provides its members and the scientific community with educational resources that support technical and professional development, by bringing together scientists, engineers, educators, technicians and business leaders.



Shie Mannor,CRC

Pushing "Machine Intelligence" to the Edge

Professor Shie Mannor, who was hired by the Department of ECE in 2004 from MIT, was one of 36 McGill Professors to receive a CRC this year, for his research in developing new technologies and better algorithms for a wide range of applications especially on telecommunications networks.

Although various appliances and computers are pretty sophisticated, they nevertheless are limited in their abilities to do only what we tell them to do by their programs. They can often memorize details and store vast amounts of information but are unable to understand patterns of behavior and develop complex interactions. Professor Mannor hopes that he can change this and as the Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning he is following his dream of building computers that learn from experience and adapt to their environment.




Fundamentals Of Signals And Systems (Electrical and Computer Engineering Series) was recently published by Professor Benoit Boulet. This hardcover textbook is available at the McGill Bookstore and online at Amazon. The book is an introduction to the theory of signals and systems, and is formatted as seventy short "lectures" designed to facilitate self-learning. It covers such topics as linear time-invariant (LTI) systems, the Laplace Transform and its application to LTI differential systems, the Z-transform, MATLAB, and the application of transform techniques to communications systems. The accompanying CD-ROM includes sample examinations and exercises with solutions included.

Benoit Boulet is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University, where he teaches a number of courses on signals and systems. He received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto and is currently, the president of Coronado Systems, a consulting firm specializing in control engineering. His articles have been published in a variety of industry journals.




Isabel Deslauriers received the award for outstanding dedication and innovation in support of science education in Canada, on June 11th at the 7th National Partnership Program Conference, in London, Ontario.

Ms Deslauriers, is one of hundreds of graduate student volunteers who participate in science education and outreach activities across Canada. A graduate student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University, she works as a research and teaching assistant, while maintaining her outstanding volunteer efforts with Let’s Talk Science. She developed her love for science early on, but it wasn’t until she attended a science camp similar to those workshops provided by LTS, that she decided on Electrical Engineering for her future. When LTS set up a partnership at McGill, most of their activities were held in the biomedical areas. In September 1999 Isabel leaped at her chance to get involved after she noticed a poster recruiting members posted up in the McConnell building. She signed up right away, enlisted everybody she could find, and became one of two program co-ordinators at McGill within a few months. Her exceptional dedication to the program as well as her innovative and exciting workshops for kids and teachers with rocketry and robotics earned her this award. Read more about the Robotics Project.

Let's Talk Science

Let’s Talk Science (LTS) is a national program that promotes Science and Engineering to grade-school kids. They organize science events and tours of university research facilities. Participants gets a chance to visit labs and see first hand what science research is all about. Last year, McGill hosted students from many Montreal area grade schools. During these day long events, the students follow a science itinerary that takes them into the nuts and bolts of scientific research and study. They meet professors, graduate students and Teaching assistants.

One of the biggest events in which LTS participates is "Space Day". The event is held at the des Cedres airfield in St Lazare Quebec in early June, and this past June they hosted over 1,200 children ranging from grade one to high school during the two-day event. There are approximately 30 demonstration booths presenting everything from rockets to neurobiology.




The D.W. Ambridge prize, is presented to one Ph.D. graduate in the Physical Sciences or in Engineering every year, and was awarded to Dr. Mohammad Shahlid Shaikh for his exemplary academic record, an excellent thesis, and the significance of his research topic. Along with an engraved plaque, a one thousand dollars prize is included.

Dr. Shaikh enroled in the graduate program of Electrical and Computer Engineering with Professor Peter Caines in 1999 after obtaining a Masters degree from Michigan State University. He has been a Post-doc with Professor Caines since his graduation and he continues his work in the field of Optimal Control of Hybrid Systems: Theory and Algorithms which was the subject of his Ph.D. thesis.

Hybrid Systems

The dynamics of any machine that uses gears is different when a different gear mechanism is engaged, so that the device will operate differently depending on the gear it is in. A Hybrid System is one that has both a "finite" set of gears or choices AND has "continuous control" once a gear has been chosen or engaged.

If you want to get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time and using a given amount of "energy" (be it gasoline in the case of a car, or carbohydrates in the case of a bicycle) when should you change to a different gear to obtain maximun power? Optimal Control of a Hybrid System is concerned with the study of how these systems work.

Minimizing time or fuel consumption while maximizing the distance traveled can have very significant economic applications both in situations where refueling is not possible, such as the space shuttle, or where energy conservation is a concern, such as automobile design.



Tho Le-Ngoc

The Fessenden Silver Medal was awarded to Professor Tho Le-Ngoc at the Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering Awards Presentation on May 2, 2005. Professor Le-Ngoc was awarded the silver medal for his work in pioneering the world’s first point-to multi point wireless access system. Le-Ngoc, no stranger to accolades and awards, is a senior member of the Ordre des Ingénieur du Québec ( OIQ ), Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada ( EIC ), and the recipient of the Canadian Award in Telecommunications Research in 2004.

Reginald Aubrey Fessenden

Reginald Fessenden was a brilliant researcher and inventor, who was born in Québec in 1866, educated in Canada, and who worked with Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse in the USA. He is remembered by the IEEE with this award. While he was a professor at Western University of Pennsylvania (now University of Pittsburgh), he developed an entirely new system of wireless transmission distinct from and based on a different principles from those of the era and in December 1900, a speech was transmitted over a distance of fifty miles by electromagnetic waves. He had over 500 patents issued in various fields, especially in the transmission of light sound and electrical waves. The Fessenden radio patents, which were lost in a struggle with the National Electric Signaling Company, were later acquired by R.C.A. for $3,000,000. Dr. Fessenden received the Medal of Honour from the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) in 1921, the John Scott Medal from the Advisory Committee of the City of Philadelphia in 1922 for his inventions in continuous wave "telegraphy and telephony", and the Scientific American Medal in 1929 for his numerous inventions relating to safety at sea. He died in 1932, relatively unknown until his son Ken Fessenden wrote the dedication in a book entitled "Radio's First Voice, the Reginald Fessenden Story" Four Fessenden-Trott Scholarships of $9,000 Cdn. annually, are available to any first year university student from a member or affiliate of the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada in any discipline.



Dave Plant

This year’s IEEE LEOS (Laser & Electro-Optics Society) Distinguished Lecturers Award has been granted to Professor David Plant, recognizing his status as a leading researcher and pioneer in photonics and optical communications. The award is designed to honor excellent speakers who have made technical, industrial or entrepreneurial contributions of high quality to the field of lasers and electro-optics, and to enhance the technical programs of LEOS chapters. Eight lecturers are selected annually, each agreeing to at least 6 lectures at LEOS chapters maintaining the balance of speakers addressing the wide range of topics of current interest in fields covered by LEOS.

The IEEE - LEOS (Laser & Electro-Optics Society)

  • provides opportunities for information exchange, continuing education, and professional growth
  • publishes journals, sponsoring conferences, and supporting local chapter and student activities
  • formally recognizes the professional contributions of members
  • represents the laser, optoelectronics, and photonics community and serving as its advocate within the IEEE, the broader scientific and technical community, and society at large