Professor Hoi-Kwong Lo
Winner of the 2022 CAP-INO Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Applied Photonics, "in recognition of his outstanding impact on the field of Quantum communication in terms of practical implementations, laying the groundwork for commercial products for the Quantum internet."
Professor Jason Anderson
Named a 2023 IEEE Fellow "for contributions to high-level synthesis and low-power FPGAs"
Alumnus Yongle Zhang
Winner of the 2022 Dennis M. Ritchie Thesis Award for 'Automating Failure Diagnosis for Distributed Systems' (supervised by Professor Ding Yuan)
Can you describe a typical day at Intel during your PEY Co-op?
My main work was to design layout for high speed SerDes [Serializer/Deserializer] alongside many teams and analog designers. A typical day for me would consist of designing layout using industry software, meeting with peers and other engineers to discuss design challenges, coordinating project work, and learning and developing new tools or skills. I had my own cubicle to work in, managers and coworkers were all close by, and we’d take breaks together in the cafeteria on our floor. It was a very collaborative office environment. There were multiple meeting rooms redesigned to accommodate those who were working virtually. I always looked forward to our team’s weekly meetings, where we played games together and competed for prizes. Intel gave me ownership of a major portion of the layout design and delivering it as a milestone was one of the most satisfying parts of my time there. They also gave me the chance to train new hires and interns.
Our world runs on power and electricity, and advancements made by electrical engineers in a certain area can have many applications in other fields. Working at Intel, I experienced this firsthand. For those who leverage the technology to do good, every advancement and modification in a design can lead to greatly improved experiences. I’d say that for someone looking at a similar position, the engineering design courses are crucial to learn and demonstrate practical design, teamwork and communication skills.
How can research into space exploration solve problems here on Earth?
A lot of the money that goes into space research positively impacts Earth. Think of spin off technologies such as GPS, artificial limbs, Velcro, Invisalign, etc. — all are a direct result of needing to create radiation proof materials, to minimize weight or maximize space onboard a shuttle, none of which would have been possible without space exploration. I had the opportunity to see this research angle firsthand when I worked at Space Tango, a microgravity research company. One of their partners, LambdaVision, is creating protein-based artificial retinas to restore sight to those with retinal degenerative diseases. They use the microgravity environment to ensure even stem cell distribution throughout the many intricate layers, increasing stability, performance and optical quality compared to what could be manufactured in normal gravity.
Another example: GHGSat, the Canadian satellite company, has become a global leader for monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, enabling industries to better measure, control and ultimately reduce emissions. While I was there, I created a visualization tool to picture where each of their satellites were positioned over the Earth at any given time, allowing for more optimal planning of their satellite schedules. To me, space is the most meaningful way I can use my interests in math, physics, robotics and engineering to make an impact here on Earth. Learn more about the Zenith Fellowship.
Your career path seems to have a surprise twist — in ice cream! How did you get there?
My path has been long and winding. I’ve done so many jobs. In first year I started a business assembling and selling computers with a classmate. After graduation I joined Hydro One as a Systems Admin for a system that helped restore power to areas experiencing outages. Later, I worked as Systems Architect and helped design the smart meter network in Ontario. Later still, as a software engineer, I worked for a food manufacturer to implement ERP solutions.
This all seems a world away from ice cream! However, engineering equipped me with the analytical skills that have been key to analyzing and overcoming seemingly daunting challenges. The most important thing I've learned is that every complex problem is merely a collection of simpler problems that can be solved by applying first principles — though you don't need to solve every problem entirely by yourself! People will surprise you with how helpful they can be when you share your challenges. Check out Graffiti Alley Ice Cream.