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Thinking beyond traditional boundaries


Direct sound printing is a potential game-changer in 3D printing

The development of a new platform technology for 3D printing called direct sound printing, which uses soundwaves to produce new objects, may benefit industries that rely on highly specific and delicate equipment. The process, described in a paper published in Nature Communications, shows how focused ultrasound waves are capable of creating sonochemical reactions in minuscule cavitation regions — essentially tiny bubbles. Québec Science magazine named the technology one of the most significant scientific breakthroughs of 2022.

The paper’s corresponding author was Muthukumaran Packirisamy, professor and Concordia Research Chair of mechanical, industrial and aerospace engineering. Mohsen Habibi, research associate at Concordia’s Optical-Bio Microsystems Lab, lead author and PhD student Shervin Foroughi and former master’s student Vahid Karamzadeh were co-authors. 

Professor Muthukumaran Packirisamy, research associate Mohsen Habibi, PhD student Shervin Forough Muthukumaran Packirisamy, professor and Concordia Research Chair of mechanical, industrial and aerospace engineering, Mohsen Habibi, research associate at Concordia’s Optical-Bio Microsystems Lab, and PhD student Shervin Foroughi.

Dating apps adapted to go-slow approach spark love during the pandemic

A study in the journal New Media & Society demonstrates that dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and quickly adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. Innovations in technology, customer messaging and promotional material helped the apps pivot from hook-up culture toward a new kind of “virtual dating,” in which couples met over video calls with take-it-slow expectations, prizing connections, relationships and authenticity over instant chemistry and sexual attraction.

The study’s lead author, Stefanie Duguay, assistant professor of communication studies, reported that the app companies seized the opportunities presented by improved video calling technology to normalize virtual dating. 

Stefanie Duguay, assistant professor of communication studies A study by Stefanie Duguay, assistant professor of communication studies, demonstrates that dating apps quickly adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Concordia receives $1.9M for transformative coatings research

The Government of Canada has committed $24 million through the New Frontiers in Research Fund for a project poised to extend the lifespan of metals. The Queen’s University-led project uses unique molecular coatings that could save billions of dollars on maintenance across several sectors.

Christian Moreau, professor of mechanical, industrial and aerospace engineering, is co-principal investigator of the research project. The Canada Research Chair in Thermal Spray and Surface Engineering will receive $1.875 million. “This new coating approach has the potential to revolutionize our manufacturing processes to produce coatings of exceptional quality that could improve Canada’s health, environment and economy,” Moreau says. 

$1M to develop new strategies against naval cyberattacks

Canada’s Department of National Defence awarded Concordia researchers $1 million in funding to help counter targeted cyberattacks on Canadian naval fleets. Kash Khorasani, professor of electrical and computer engineering and Honorary Concordia University Research Chair in Control of Autonomous Network of Unmanned Systems (Tier 1), leads the project.

“We will be looking at means to counter these key, emerging disruptive technologies,” he says. “This is a challenge the government has recognized requires the development of novel approaches.” Walter Lucia, associate professor at the Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering, and Rastko Selmic, professor of electrical and computer engineering, are Concordia’s other project co-applicants. 

A Minecraft build can be used to teach almost any subject

A Minecraft build can be used to teach almost any subject

Minecraft — the highest-selling video game of all time — is not highly regarded among serious gamers. Yet Darren Wershler, professor of English, and Bart Simon, associate professor of sociology and director of Concordia’s Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology, showed the value of Minecraft’s flexibility in a paper published in the journal gamevironments.  

The paper describes how Wershler used Minecraft to teach a class on the history and culture of modernity, based entirely within the game server. The pedagogical framework allowed the researchers to see how the students used the game for academic goals and found that they quickly adapted to their unique classroom and learning environment.

Concordia's Bart Simon and Darren Wershler Concordia professors Bart Simon and Darren Wershler showed the value of popular video game Minecraft’s flexibility.

Despite progress, women still underrepresented in AI research

Female researchers in the artificial intelligence (AI) industry face underrepresentation, lower hiring rates and limited professional opportunities, as they do across STEM fields. A study published in the Journal of Informetrics showed that while the number of women working in AI increased in the past two decades, representation remained around 27 per cent. However, the researchers described a noticeable uptick in female-male and female-female collaboration.

“Females are getting more involved and having a greater impact in the AI scientific field,” says the paper’s co-author Andrea Schiffauerova, associate professor with the Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering. Anahita Hajibabaei, MASc 22, was the paper’s lead author. 

New research and funding power Concordia’s nanoparticle lab

Recent developments in the Naccache Research Group’s nanoparticle lab in the Applied Science Hub include tackling sustainable biofuels and post-operative wound healing. The latter project was awarded $1 million in funding via a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Alliance grant.

Rafik Naccache, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and the Concordia University Research Chair in Sustainable Multifunctional Nanomaterials (Tier 2), is seeking to make biofuels environmentally safe through an in-depth understanding of their chemistry. He works to make carbon nanomaterials, prepared from carbon sources such as orange peels, coffee beans or simple molecules, cost efficient and sustainable. 

Electric vehicle charging stations’ weaknesses uncovered

As reported in a paper published in the journal Computers & Security, a Concordia-led team of researchers found vulnerabilities from some of the electric vehicle (EV) charging station industry’s biggest manufacturers. The researchers at the Gina Cody School’s Security Research Centre uncovered weaknesses in firmware and mobile and web applications that can leave those systems open to cyberattacks. 

The researchers identified three categories of EV charging station management systems, all of which to different degrees are vulnerable to manipulation and potential malware infection. By exploiting and manipulating them, the researchers concluded that attackers could conduct multiple types of malicious actions. “We are about to see an exponential rise of EVs on the road,” says Chadi Assi, professor at the Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering and the paper’s supervising author. “But without a secure charging infrastructure, customers will be reluctant to commit to electric cars.” 

Concordia researcher explores how to make AI “more intelligent”

Simone Brugiapaglia, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, co-authored an article for Proceedings of Machine Learning Research that asked what happens when AI systems get things wrong and examined how to make AI “more intelligent.” 

“Many mathematical results on deep learning assert the existence of neural networks able to approximate a given class of functions up to a desired accuracy,” he says. “However, most of these results do not address the ability of training such networks nor do they quantify the amount of data needed to reliably do this. Despite the tremendous success of deep learning in countless applications, the mathematics of it is still in its infancy.” 

PhD student Jake Pitre

PhD student Jake Pitre says Disney uses a strategy to instill cultural dominance.

Disney’s plans for total dominance are well underway

In a paper published in the journal Television & New Media, Jake Pitre, a PhD student in film and moving image studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, described how the Walt Disney Company uses a strategy he calls brand futurity to instill a sense of inevitable, permanent and total Disney cultural dominance well into the future, burnished with the sheen of its trademark joy and wonder.

“Brand futurity is a way of understanding how brands position themselves in the digital age and in the age of hyperfinancialization,” he says. “My focus is anti-capitalist but pro-hope.” 


Concordia co-leads Canadian cybersecurity innovation network

The Government of Canada announced $76.4 million in funding over four years to the National Cybersecurity Consortium (NCC). The NCC, as a lead recipient, will establish the Cyber Security Innovation Network, a vital platform for the advancement of cybersecurity in Canada.

“Cyberattacks are on the rise with unprecedented sophistication, speed, intensity, volume, damage and audacity,” says Mourad Debbabi, director of Concordia’s Security Research Centre and dean of the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, and one of the NCC’s five co-founding executive directors. “This investment will usher in a new era of collaborative R&D, innovation and training that will further secure Quebec and Canada’s economy.” 

Mourad Debbabi, co-founding executive director, National Cybersecurity Consortium Concordia’s Mourad Debbabi is co-founding executive director of National Cybersecurity Consortium.

Concordia launches Applied AI Institute

Climate change, smart cities, health care, transportation, aerospace, cybersecurity, privacy and trust — Concordia researchers have been applying AI solutions to these problems for years. Now, they’re joining forces under the university’s newly launched Applied AI Institute, co-directed by Tristan Glatard, professor of computer science and software engineering, and Fenwick McKelvey, professor of communication studies. 

“My work will amplify the innovation that research at Concordia brings to the global AI ecosystem,” says Glatard, who holds the Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) on Big Data Infrastructures for Neuroinformatics. “Artificial intelligences raise governance questions, challenging our traditions of technology regulation. Solutions have to be interdisciplinary,” McKelvey adds.  

New think tank bridges digital innovation and climate action

Concordia, in collaboration with Future Earth Canada Hub, welcomed Sustainability in the Digital Age (SDA). The think tank brings together subject-matter experts to explore how digital innovation can support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Damon Matthews, Concordia University Research Chair in Climate Science and Sustainability and SDA scientific co-director, stresses the importance of meeting climate goals and the SDGs. “Progress and societal transformations need to be amplified and accelerated, and this is where the digital revolution is key,” he says. “If we could harness the innovative power of the digital world toward meeting the world’s climate and other sustainability goals, we might be able to start making real and rapid progress.” 

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