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National Smarter-Car Research Network Established at McMaster University


HAMILTON, ON- : · $16.6 million national research network established with $10.5 million in funding from Automotive Partnership Canada (APC)

· Industry partners include General Motors of Canada Ltd, IBM Canada, and Malina Software Corp

· National research network comprised of McMaster University, University of Waterloo, McGill University, Queen’s University, University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, University of Victoria, and Centre de Recherche Informatique de Montréal

The Network on Engineering Complex Software Intensive Systems for Automotive Systems (NECSIS) was announced today by Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, at McMaster Innovation Park. NECSIS is a $16.6-million national research network created to tackle the technological challenges related to the growing complexity of automotive software systems.

“Taking a leadership role in this new software engineering network expands McMaster’s contributions to yet another growing area of automotive research, adding to our expertise in hybrid powertrains, material lightweighting, and advanced manufacturing,” said Patrick Deane, president and vice-chancellor, McMaster University.

Under this new university-industry R&D collaboration, General Motors of Canada Ltd and IBM Canada are mobilizing leading software engineers at seven Canadian universities and a Montreal research centre. NECSIS also includes the participation of Malina Software Corp, an Ottawa-based consultancy focused on advanced software engineering methods.

“As a leading supporter of collaborative research in Canada, we have helped build a strong automotive innovation network,” said Kevin Williams, president and managing director of GM of Canada. “NECSIS is a key initiative as we re-think the automobile and deploy innovative approaches to develop tomorrow’s technologies.”

“In an era where billions of devices are being interconnected to enable intelligent decisions, the time is right to create and to innovate development processes using real-time navigational capabilities that will help build a smarter car,” said Bruce Ross, president, IBM Canada. “Together with our partners, IBM is proud to leverage our Canadian research capabilities to invest and to collaborate in this innovation effort as we collectively advance intelligent transportation in Canada.”

NECSIS is led by principal investigator Tom Maibaum, Canada Research Chair in the Foundations of Software Engineering at McMaster University, along with co-principal investigator Joanne Atlee, associate professor at the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. Other universities in the network include McGill University, Queen’s University, University of British Columbia, University of Toronto, and University of Victoria, as well as Centre de Recherche Informatique de Montréal.

“Computer systems in vehicles are managing more and more operations and increasing in complexity,’ said Maibaum. “That adds up to tens of millions of lines of software code that must work flawlessly and seamlessly together, and achieving this is becoming increasingly challenging using current approaches to software development.”

Backed by a five-year $10.5 million grant from Automotive Partnership Canada, of which the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is the lead agency, research by NECSIS will focus on the advancement of an emerging methodology called model driven engineering (MDE). MDE reduces the complexity of developing software by focusing on models and their relationships, reflected in the designs, code and documents that developers work with, enabling them to test and verify models even before the code exists.

“Canada has long led the world in the highly advanced field of model driven engineering,” added Bran Selic, President and Founder of Malina Software Corp. “With decades-long expertise in this field, we are extremely pleased and proud to have the opportunity to contribute to this important initiative.”

Functions managed by computer systems in today’s vehicles include braking, stability, safety and fuel systems; systems to reduce emissions; and systems to protect, entertain and communicate with the driver. Hybrid and all-electric vehicles involve even more complex software based systems.

The network will be based in the new McMaster Automotive Resource Centre (MARC) being developed at McMaster Innovation Park. It is the same facility that will house research initiatives related to new hybrid powertrain and lightweight materials. MARC is being developed as an innovation ecosystem, promoting daily interactions among industry, university and government on market-oriented and industry-driven research.

About McMaster University:

McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 140,000 alumni in 128 countries.

About General Motors of Canada Limited:
Headquartered in Oshawa, Ontario, General Motors of Canada Limited (GMCL) employs over 9,000 people across the country and is a recognized leader in green manufacturing. GMCL markets the full range of fuel-efficient Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles and related services through Canada’s largest automotive dealer network, which employs over 23,000 people dedicated to delivering a top customer experience. GMCL also plays a leadership role in automotive design and engineering, engaging in innovative research and development partnerships with leading Canadian universities and research institutes. In addition, through its Canadian Engineering Centres, GMCL conducts development activities ranging from cold weather testing to the advancement of key electric vehicle and green technologies.


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