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Faculty Accolades, June 2014

June 17, 2014
By Laurence Miall
Source: Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science


Peter Rigby, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, was one of four winners of Concordia’s 2014 University Research Award. Rigby has described the aim of his research as being like “sociology in a software engineering context.” He explains: “Software firms have begun releasing products more quickly. For example, Facebook releases a new version of its software to over one billion users twice a day. In collaboration with the Department of National Defence, Microsoft and other organisations, we are creating statistical models to understand the impact of quickly released features on software quality… A model of 'how fast is too fast' will allow different firms to determine how quickly they can release new features, and provide a sound basis on which to make decisions that affect the success of a company.”

The other winners of this year’s research award were Daniel Cross, Gilles Peslherbe, and Thien Thanh Dang-Vu.


Glenn Cowan, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has won the Concordia Emerging Leadership Award. This award recognizes exceptional leadership abilities and achievement. Cowan joined Concordia in 2007, and has since been active on numerous committees at the department and faculty levels, as well as in the School of Graduate Studies.  “He has assumed these leadership roles while retaining a very productive and active research agenda,” said Jorgen Hansen, vice-provost of Faculty Relations. Cowan has also demonstrated exceptional leadership in curriculum development, most notably in his work to establish an Electronic/Very Large Scale Integration option in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.


Rolf Wüthrich, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, and his research team won first prize at the business case competition held during the 82nd International Congress of Acfas (Association canadienne-française pour l'avancement des sciences), this year was hosted by Concordia, May 12-16, 2014. Wüthrich’s team developed an innovative catalyst for producing hydrogen, thanks to a patented electrochemical treatment. This innovation means that nickel electrodes—the industry standard—are rendered almost as efficient at production as when platinum is used as a catalyst.

Lyes Kadem, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, has won the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award. He begins each of his lectures in thermodynamics by introducing a real-world engineering problem, which he then relates to the course material. As Christopher Trueman, interim dean of the Faculty of Engineering, points out, this simple technique has proven “remarkably successful in motivating students in thermodynamics to appreciate the importance of this fundamental course.” The other winners of the teaching award this year were Philippe Caignon, Lan Lin, and Santo Roman.

Amir Ajorlou, a recently-graduated student supervised by Amir Aghdam in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been nominated for the Best Ph.D. Thesis Award in the Province of Quebec.  His thesis was called “Connectivity Preservation in Distributed Control of Multi-Agent System.” Ajorlou is a two-time gold medal winner of the International Mathematical Olympiad, and the author of over 30 papers in the most prestigious journals and conferences in control systems, which to date been cited over 200 times. He obtained his Ph.D. from Concordia University in 2013, and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.

Concordia SAE, the student chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers, has wrapped up an impressive racing season. The Supermileage team’s year started off exceptionally when they won first place in the prestigious Student Exhibit Competition at the SAE World Congress and Exhibition in Detroit, April 8. The Supermileage team went on to win the 35th Anniversary Endurance Award (minimum of five successful fuel economy runs) at the SAE Supermileage® event held June 5-6 at Eaton’s Proving Grounds in Marshall, Michigan.   Meanwhile, the Formula SAE team finished fifteenth in Design Judging at the Formula SAE® contest at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan — a great achievement since this is the biggest Formula SAE event in the world.


Space Concordia finished second to the University of Victoria in the second Canadian Satellite Design Challenge. In total, 11 teams started this competition; five made it to the final stage, held at the David Florida Laboratory in Ottawa, May 27-29, 2014. Concordia’s ConSat-1 team won the inaugural competition in September 2012. Space Concordia’s second contest entry, ConSat-2, also known as “Aleksandr” — a name chosen by the largest individual donor to the team’s successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign — was created to test self-healing material in space. The material — supplied by Suong V. Hoa, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering — may have the ability to prolong the lifespan of space structures. 

Dan Juras, technical officer in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, has been awarded a “Safety Ambassador Award” by Environmental Health & Safety. This is a recognition of the tough but important job that Dan does keeping students and researchers safe in the labs.


And to all the students celebrating their Convocation this spring, CONGRATULATIONS!

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