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Mitacs-Accelerate funds major research collaboration into cloud computing

University of Toronto professor establishes research network through 50 cluster internships


Dr. Alberto Leon-Garcia is leading one of the biggest research projects of his career.

The professor at the University of Toronto’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is bringing together research students from nine universities as part of the Smart Applications on Virtual Infrastructure (SAVI) Network.

SAVI was set up to examine the future of cloud computing and software-defined networking, and Mitacs-Accelerate is helping to make the huge collaboration possible. By using Accelerate clusters, multiple students are being matched with 20 company partners for a total of 50 internships over two years.

As Dr. Leon-Garcia explains, “Through the SAVI network, we wanted to create a spark that would lead to innovation and refresh the telecommunications industry in Canada. Mitacs-Accelerate has helped me realize the vision of what I wanted SAVI to be.”

He has worked extensively with the Mitacs Business Development Director David Kideckel at the University of Toronto to establish relationships with companies that can benefit from SAVI.

“With many research networks, the connection to industry is usually tenuous; however with Mitacs, we are building strong, collaborative relationships with the world’s leading telecommunications companies.

“The benefits to the partner companies are not just from the research; they also get to work with students before they graduate and assess them as potential future employees.”

One such company is Ericsson, where Ishaan Bir Singh interned through Mitacs-Accelerate while completing his Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University.

Ishaan’s research focused on new technology being developed by Ericsson to help electricity companies better manage the supply of energy to homes, using smart meters.

“By using this technology, a power provider can determine consumption by each home in real time and adjust their electricity generation as required. Or they could offer electricity at a certain price during different times of the day, depending on what plan a household wants to sign up to.”

Ishaan has since been employed by Ericsson in Montreal.

“Mitacs provided the opportunity for me to create a very real connection between industry and academia. Without it I would not have had this opportunity to join Ericsson.”

Yves Lemieux, a researcher at Ericsson, said Mitacs-Accelerate helped bring both unique research expertise and a new employee to the company.

“Ishaan understood the technology we are working with and brought a new set of competencies to our research team. The internship was a huge success and we’ve since taken on two more Mitacs interns to build on the research he started.”

Mitacs gratefully acknowledges the Government of Canada, the Networks of Centres of Excellence’s Industrial Research and Development Internship program, Western Economic Diversification, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Alberta Innovates Technology Futures and the governments of British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec through Le Fonds de recherche du Québec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador through its Research and Development Corporation for their support of Mitacs-Accelerate.


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