Faculty of Engineering, McMaster University

Faculty of Engineering, McMaster University

November 09, 2005 11:29 ET

Experts: Computing power outpacing those trained to apply it

Expert panel participates in launch of Canada's first School of Computational Engineering and Science at McMaster University Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Education Editor, News Editor, Science Editor HAMILTON, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 9, 2005) - Five of North America's most influential business and educational figures in the field of computational engineering and science highlighted the need for more multidisciplinary researchers and business leaders capable of exploiting the untapped potential of today's increasingly powerful supercomputers.

The group was gathered to participate in the launch of Canada's first graduate school dedicated to computational engineering and science established at McMaster University. They included Bill Pulleyblank, Vice President, Center for Business Optimization, IBM Business Consulting Services; Margaret Wright, Chair, Computer Science Department, New York University; Barbara Keyfitz, Director, The Fields Institute; Hugh Couchman, Scientific Director, SHARCNET; and Tamás Terlaky, Director, McMaster School of Computational Engineering and Science.

"If we want to keep pace with our peers in the rest of the world, it is essential that we expand our expertise in this area as quickly as possible," said Terlaky who also holds the Canada Research Chair in Optimization and is a professor of Computing and Software at McMaster. "It has a direct bearing on the research conducted in this country as well as our competitiveness and productivity."

Computational engineering and science is a multidisciplinary area that utilizes mathematics, particularly the development of algorithms, and the increasing processing power of today's computer networks to simulate, model and optimize solutions to various problems, and design new products and services. Applications range from understanding pandemics, to predicting weather patterns, to improving the safety of our cars, to determining the most cost-efficient way to design a computer chip.

"Research in this area is expanding rapidly in almost every sector of engineering, science, business and health sciences," said Hugh Couchman, who is also a professor of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster. "Computational engineering and science provides a third wave of scientific investigation, along with scientific theory and physical experimentation. It has opened up investigation and discovery in areas that were previously not accessible due to physical limitations or costs."

The panel's position echoes the findings of the PITAC (President's Information Technology Advisory Council) report submitted to the President of the United States in June of this year. The report concluded that the strategic significance of computational science has not been adequately recognized by universities and governments and, as a result, US scientific leadership, economic competitiveness, and national security are being compromised.

"We established this school to help address the shortfall in expertise in Canada, particularly as it affects applied research," said Mo Elbestawi, Dean, Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University. "We purposely structured the school to bring together faculty and students from across disciplines so that they are able to share their knowledge and challenges. Interdisciplinary study and collaboration is essential in this field to advance research and knowledge."

The McMaster School of Computational Engineering and Science is an equal partnership between the Faculties of Engineering and Science, with outreach to the School of Business and the Faculty of Health Science. This unique structure encourages and supports the multidisciplinary research and educational programs necessary for the advancement of discovery and innovation within the field. Fifty faculty at McMaster are involved with the School. Programs at the Master's, Ph.D. and post doctoral levels will be focused in three major research areas: Computational Physical Sciences; Computational Optimization, Design and Control; Computational Biosciences. (http://computational.mcmaster.ca)

"McMaster attracts faculty and students open to collaboration and with the versatility to work in a multidisciplinary environment," said John Capone, Dean, Faculty of Science, McMaster University. "This unique aspect of our university's culture made the development of this School a very natural extension of the work currently underway."

McMaster University is a research-intensive university that fosters a culture of innovation and a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, Ontario Canada, the University has a student population of more than 23,000, and an alumni population of more than 115,000 in 128 countries.
/For further information: David Doze
Pilot PMR for Faculty of Engineering, McMaster University
Mobile: 416-779-5560

Gene Nakonechny
Manager, Public Relations
Faculty of Engineering, McMaster University
905-525-9140 ext. 26781

Contact Information

  • Gene Nakonechny, Manager, Public Relations, Faculty of Engineering, McMaster University
    Primary Phone: 905-525-9140 ext. 26781
    E-mail: genen@mcmaster.ca