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Meet Ying Ying Liu, guest speaker at the 2019 Vehicle Technology International Conference

September 18, 2019

Red River College is hosting the inaugural Vehicle Technology International Conference, September 30 – October 2 at the Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre in Winnipeg. RRC is excited to welcome a range of speakers who will be covering topics relating to the evolution and future of vehicle technology in Canada in beyond. Get to know one of the speakers, Ying Ying Liu, below:

“Nine years ago, I came to Canada as an immigrant from China. With a degree in Information Management and Systems, I worked at IBM China in business operation. I always had a fascination with the technical world and wanted to learn more about what happens behind the scenes. So when I came to Canada, I decided to start fresh by going back to school, where I embraced every single opportunity to learn.

After receiving my second bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with First Class Honours from the University of Manitoba in 2013, I went on to get my Master’s in 2016. I am now a PhD student. I have strong academic performance and a passion in solving real world problems with technologies. I also work at Manitoba Hydro as a system developer.

I joined InterDisciplinary Evolutionary Algorithmic Sciences (IDEAS) lab in 2013. My research areas are in computational intelligence, high performance computing, and distributed algorithms. My recent interest is in traffic-aware many objective dynamic route planning. I find this topic interesting because it is both theoretical and practical.

Individual vehicle routing refers to the task of finding the optimal travel path from place A to place B. With classical static routing algorithms, this problem is usually solved by finding the shortest path on a graph representing a road map with the weight of an edge representing the actual geometric distance between two junctions. A static routing algorithm is run once at the path planning stage and does not consider dynamic traffic information such as congestion, accidents and road closure.

As congestion becomes alarmingly severe in modern metropolitan areas, traffic-aware vehicle routing is one of the important problems in improving quality of life and building smart cities with higher productivity, less air pollution and less fuel consumption. In our problem setting, the road network is modelled as a graph with constantly changing edge weights, and a vehicle makes routing decision based on real-time and predictive traffic as it goes.

Our traffic-aware dynamic routing is composed of three steps:

  1. distributive road network clustering using real-time traffic
  2. traffic prediction at cluster level
  3. the vehicle incorporates the road network, clustering, and traffic information into its path planning algorithm to find a set of solutions for the optimizations of total vehicular emission cost (TEC), travel time, number of turns, and distance.

I would like to thank the organizers of the Vehicle Technology International Conference to give me the opportunity to present research work of the IDEAS lab. I look forward to attending the conference!”

Register for the Vehicle Technology International conference here.

Celebrating a Community of Change: new website supports vulnerable children and their caregivers

September 17, 2019

Today, Red River College (RRC) revealed a brand-new resource that highlights the potential for positive change that is released in a low-income community when their youngest citizens have access to intense early childhood services. Community of Change is a new website that demonstrates how changing vulnerable children’s early learning opportunities not only has a positive effect on them but creates a positive ripple effect on the adults around them.

The project is the result of a partnership between Red River College, Manidoo Gi-Miini Gonaan, and Healthy Child Manitoba. RRC received nearly $234,000 in funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in 2016 to support new research examining how an early childhood intervention program influenced the parents and staff at the Lord Selkirk Park Child Care Centre.

“The funding we received from SSHRC allowed Red River College to bolster our leadership role in social innovation research and knowledge mobilization,” said Christine Watson, VP Academic, Red River College. “Projects like these highlight our ongoing and innovative work in the areas of health and social sciences – work we couldn’t do without the support of our partners and community.”

To celebrate the launch of Community of Change and to thank the families and staff who participated in the research project, RRC and its partners hosted a launch event at Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre.

“It’s important for us to celebrate this work with those who helped shape it. The families who agreed to tell their stories are really at the core of this research project,” said Jan Sanderson, Research Chairperson for the Research School of Health Sciences at RRC.

“Many studies have demonstrated that young children living in economically challenged circumstances face an uphill battle to meet their developmental milestones and enter kindergarten ready for the education challenges ahead,” continued Sanderson. “Fortunately, research also tells us that we can change that trajectory by intervening early and providing services that support both young children and their parents. The project at Lord Selkirk Park is demonstrating exactly that. We have seen the ripple effect boost a child’s potential, and suddenly the parent is also engaged, motivated and inspired to explore their own developmental path. Kids benefit, families benefit, and the community grows stronger and healthier.”

To learn more about the project findings, visit communityofchange.org.

Get to know Kirk Burcar and Thomas Small from New Flyer

September 11, 2019

Red River College is pleased to welcome New Flyer‘s Kirk Burcar and Thomas Small as guest speakers at the inaugural 2019 Vehicle Technology International Conference, taking place September 30 to October 2 at the Victoria Inn Hotel and Convention Centre in Winnipeg.

Read more about Kirk and Thomas and the topics they’ll cover at this year’s conference – and register here to make sure you don’t miss it!

Kirk Burcar, Vice President, Engineering Services

Kirk Burcar is a seasoned production engineer, having held progressively advancing leadership roles in automotive and heavy-duty manufacturing for over three decades. He currently leads New Flyer’s engineering operation as Vice President, Engineering Services, and since joining New Flyer in 2009, Kirk has provided key direction and guidance to its critical design and production engineering programs, including reference bus development, design enhancement strategies, and quality improvement initiatives.

Prior to joining New Flyer, Kirk spent 20 years in the automotive industry, holding senior management roles in engineering and management with General Motors. Kirk holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from McGill University, and a Masters in Engineering from the University of Toronto.

 

 

Thomas Small, Director, New Product Development

Thomas Small is a product development expert and currently leads New Flyer’s New Product Development (NPD) team through its innovation, design, and development process. With over two decades of engineering experience and leadership, he oversees New Flyer’s assessment of emerging technology and implementation of new products and mobility solutions into the North American market. He also provides active support to the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium’s (CUTRIC) Pan-Canadian Electric Bus Demonstration & Integration Trial with technical planning and design.

Prior to joining New Flyer in 2000, Thomas spent several years with the product validation team at New Holland Canada. He holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Manitoba and is an accredited Professional Engineer.

 

Kirk and Thomas will speak on a variety of topics at this year’s conference:

  • New Flyer’s tech journey: where the company has come from, where they are now, and where they’re going – and that they’re in the midst of a mobility paradigm shift
  • The electrification of transit buses in North America, including discussion on low and no-emission propulsions
  • That New Flyer is “not just a bus manufacturer” anymore, but a provider of mobility solutions that includes buses, infrastructure, and technology
  • How New Flyer supports the development of smart cities through smart mobility
  • The path to advanced driver assistance system (or ADAS) deployment, and how New Flyer is using automation to make public transit safer
  • How New Flyer is driving industry collaboration, learning, tech advancement, and workforce development through our Vehicle Innovation Center
  • Why industry advocacy is critical to success on the path to zero-emission

Visit rrc.ca/vtec2019 to register for VTIC 2019.

A Q+A with Dr. Robert Parsons for the Vehicle Technology International Conference

September 9, 2019

From September 30 to October 2, Red River College is hosting the inaugural Vehicle Technology International Conference at the Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre in Winnipeg, MB. In anticipation of the conference, we’re highlighting some of our guest speakers. For a full list of speakers from the conference, and to register, please click here.

Below is a Q+A with Dr. Robert Parsons, who teaches Sustainability Economics for the MBA program in the I.H. Asper School of Business.

About me, and what sparked my interest in this vehicle technology:

I have an eclectic background, both in terms of education and experience. I have four university degrees from three different institutions, with the most important ones being a PhD in engineering from the University of Manitoba, and a MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto.

I have worked in many diverse areas, including with a municipal level government, an international technology company, a consulting engineering firm, utility, and as officer and director of a non-profit. Most importantly, I acted as a specialized energy consultant for the Government of Manitoba over a number of years, through which I began working on advanced and alternative vehicle technologies, including fuel cell and battery electric vehicles. Because of this, I have also had long associations with Red River College that now stretches back roughly 15 years.

I hold the distinction of being the person in Manitoba who has driven the most different models of electric cars, currently around 10. I also have been involved with both hydrogen and battery-electric buses, and have been able to watch as such technologies moved from being quirks on drawing-boards to functional commercial units.

Since 2015, I have been teaching Sustainability Economics as a sessional instructor for the MBA program in the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba. Teaching is both rewarding and stimulating, and I have focussed on trying to provide participants with opportunities for real world applications. This helps to move away from being dryly academic to highly relevant.

Also, since 2017 I have provided some specialized assistance directly to Red River College’s Research Partnerships & Innovation group to support the Vehicle Technology and Energy Centre (VTEC) initiative, which the College is conducting in conjunction with Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). This has primarily involved helping to develop and find funding for some new projects in this area.

What I will talk about as part of the conference:

I will be acting as the chair for one session of talks in the conference dealing with sustainability, and will also be presenting as part of that session myself. This session overall includes a number of informative talks covering diverse aspects of sustainability from different angles.

My presentation discusses a variety of insights for improving transportation that have come from sustainability economics, primarily from work done by students in my classes. These relate to electric buses, electric cars, as well as increased renewable content levels in fuels, both gasoline and diesel. As an interesting example, diesel has been well known as the second most common fossil fuel used in vehicles, after gasoline. Most with involvement in vehicle technology also know that diesel dominates for heavy duty and specialized applications, including buses, freight transport and agricultural equipment, which are all key areas for the conference. What is less known is that over the past twenty years, diesel has been progressively changing from having predictable low-costs, to becoming more expensive most of the time, compared to gasoline. Indeed diesel has been transitioning to become the “premium” and most important fossil fuel in the world. This significant change in relative pricing is an important new motivation to improve efficiency and to look for alternative motive technologies in both heavy duty and specialized areas.

Some additional material being presented and additional thoughts:

There is also a poster presentation being presented by myself and students from one of my classes. This group undertook an exhaustive cost-benefit analysis examining “externalities” associated with changing from conventional diesel transit buses to more-advanced battery electric buses.  The results involve primarily benefits, but not entirely. There are still some cautions we all need to be aware. Importantly, this more-fundamental work, which was undertaken through advanced university studies in business, was made possible given the more practically-oriented results of applied research by Red River College documenting the history and performance of the prototype electric transit bus, with which the College was an important consortium partner. This serves to highlight collaboration, and important synergies that can result.

***

Visit rrc.ca/vtec2019 to register for VTIC 2019 today!

Third-annual ARI Day shows future is bright for women in STEM

June 4, 2019

Red River College’s third-annual Applied Research & Innovation Day was a great success, with innovative student research projects running the gamut from smart technology, to plant-based proteins, to advancements in health and social sciences.

The event also demonstrated the future is bright for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) – as women researchers took home the first, second, and third place prizes, as well as the people’s choice award. Here’s a look at their award-winning projects:

First Place:

Natural Language Processing – Chatbot

Student: Victoria McNab
School: Business and Applied Arts
Referred by: Randall Peters, Instructor – Business Information Technology

“This project aims to process millions of historical chat records, to develop an industry specific, assistive chatbot trained on this data using an offline environment, with no access to cloud computing resources. Rapid RTC provides online chat services to their customers, along with receptionist support. My goal is to use machine learning, and Natural Language Processing techniques to help the receptionists build better customer relationships by extracting the topics being discussed and analyzing the sentiment of the discussions. Using unsupervised machine learning, I applied the Latent Dirichlet Allocation algorithm to model the topics being discussed. In parallel, I applied statistical analysis techniques to manually determine topics, which gave me a result set to evaluate models against.”

 

Second Place:

Manitoba Soy-Free Tempeh

Student: Anna Borys
School/Program/Class: Culinary Arts
Referred by: Mavis McRae – Culinary Research and Innovation

“Tempeh is traditionally made from hulled soy beans, the purpose of the project is to create a non-soy tempeh, using a different source of pulses. Initially, we used traditional methods to making a yellow pea tempeh, however resulted in substandard product. To get a product that more closely resembles a more traditional tempeh, we altered cooking and culture variables. Although no clients were initially incorporated into this project, the work is applicable to companies such as Manitoba Pulse and Soy Growers Association, Best Cooking Pulses, AGT, or Prairie Fava. Further work to optimize product to commercial standards would be required.”

 

Third Place:

Acid-based Cleaning Solution for Animal Barns and Related Areas

Student(s): Erum Naz
School/Program/Class: Health Sciences and Community Services
Referred by: Said Hassan, Instructor

“This project involved developing an acid based cleaning solution for use in animal barns and related areas. This project was conducted for our client Precision Chemicals a Manitoba company which is primarily in the business of developing innovative solutions to farming problems. Precision Chemicals markets an alkaline barn cleaning solution, Bioshredder. However, the company wanted to also market an acid base solution. This project started by investigating various emulsifying and foaming agents. The project then proceeded by making various formulations and trying them in simulated real life environment. Eventually a product meeting the client’s specifications was developed and is being tried in the field.”

 

People’s Choice:

Reducing Post-Stroke Depression

Student(s): Samantha Eveleigh
School/Program/Class: Research and Scholarship in Nursing
Referred by: Meagan Chorney, Patrick Griffith

“Depression after stroke is considered a primary complication and can lead to decreased health outcomes. Despite this, there are limited studies that describe the individual’s experience with depression. With my lived experience of surviving a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 18, my hope is to bridge the gap of knowledge and bring alive what is learned in theory.

Recovery from a stroke reveals depression in both immediate and long-term phases that may require intervention that could be led by nurses. Support to manage symptoms of depression can be led by nurses who are specialized in neurosurgery by leading a follow up after discharge either by telephone or by face-to-face interactions.”

The top three winners were all NSERC-supported projects, while Victoria McNab’s Natural Language Processing Chatbot also received support through IRAP.

NVDIA hosts keynote address on Manitoba’s Future in HPC-2019

May 22, 2019

All are invited to attend a special keynote address hosted by NVDIA on Wednesday, June 5.

Griffin Lacey will present the keynote address on Manitoba’s Future in HPC-2019. Lacey is a deep learning solutions architect for NVIDIA. In his current role, he assists Canadian customers in designing and deploying their scientific compute infrastructure to solve artificial intelligence problems.

This event is open to the general public. It is being hosted by the Enterprise Machine Intelligence & Learning Initiative and is being held in conjunction with Manitoba’s Future in HPC-2019, Digital Ag conference, which takes place the following day (June 6th at the University of Winnipeg’s Eckhardt Gramatté Hall).

To register, please click here.

Save the date: 2019 Vehicle Technology International Conference

May 7, 2019

Red River College is proud to introduce the inaugural 2019 Vehicle Technology International Conference, September 30th through October 2nd in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The Conference is oriented to researchers and practitioners involved with advances in and practical applications of vehicle technologies. The conference focus includes alternative propulsion technologies, heavy-duty and specialized vehicle applications, vehicle simulation, vehicle testing, data analysis and modeling, “smart” vehicle technologies, improving vehicle sustainability performance, and addressing barriers for new technologies. A particular tour-feature is Red River College’s newly completed MotiveLab, an advanced heavy-duty vehicle capable, extreme temperature climatic-chamber and chassis dynamometer test facility.

For more information and to register, please click here.

Call for Talent: Colleges and Institutes Canada 2019 Art Showcase

January 31, 2019

For the fifth year in a row, Colleges and Institutes Canada(CICan) is looking to showcase student talent on the walls of the association’s national office at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa. For the 2019 Art Showcase, CICan invites students from colleges and institutes across the country to submit their artwork.

CICan will be selecting a winner from the following categories:

  • Printmaking
  • Textile/Mixed Media/Sculpture
  • Photography
  • Digital illustration/animation
  • Painting
  • Drawing

The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2019. To learn more, please visit the CICan website.

Insights and Trends in the Healthy Food Sector: a talk with Dr. David Hughes

November 26, 2018

Red River College, in partnership with Bioscience Association Manitoba, is pleased to welcome Dr. David Hughes, international speaker on global food and drink industry issues, to the Prairie Lights Dining Room on Monday, Dec. 3rd for a talk on “Insights and Trends in the Healthy Food Sector.” The event is free and all are welcome.

  • Date: Monday, Dec. 3rd, 2018
  • Time: registration is at 9am, session begins at 9:30am
  • Location: Prairie Lights Dining Room, Notre Dame Campus
  • Please register in advance at: biomb.ca.

Light refreshments will be served.

From Bioscience Association Manitoba:

Professor David Hughes is an Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing at Imperial College London, and a Visiting Professor at the Royal Agricultural University, U.K. He is a much sought-after speaker at international conferences and seminars on global food industry issues, particularly consumer and retail trends. David has lived and worked in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, Africa and South East Asia and has extensive experience as an international advisory board member with food companies and financial service organizations on three continents.

For 20 years, he was a Non-Executive Director of Berry Gardens Ltd – a U.K. farmer-owned berry fruit business (£230 million turnover in 2015). With his American business partner, David established, grew and sold a branded fresh produce business which served supermarkets in the USA. Around the globe, he works with food and beverage supply chain companies – including farm input, growers, manufacturers and ingredient companies, retailers and food service firms – to assist them in management training, strategy and Board level decision-making. David’s views are frequently sought by TV, radio and the printed press.

PARKING INFORMATION

If you are entering through the main entrance by the bus loop:

  • Please go down to the Mall level,
  • Proceed through the hallway on your right,
  • Prairie Lights Restaurant is located on your right, next to Tim Horton’s in the Mall Level.

If you are entering through any other entrances:

  • Please head to the Mall level
  • Look for the Tim Horton’s (Prairie Lights is adjacent to it.)

Lunch & Learn: RPI hosts IDeAS program representatives

September 6, 2018

Research Partnerships & Innovation (RPI) in collaboration with the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) is pleased to host IDEaS program representatives at Red River College, Notre Dame Campus to bring awareness of the program to individuals, companies of all sizes, and academia. Learn more about the IDEaS, understand how to access program funds, and find out which of the many program elements might interest you the most. They will also get the chance to ask specific questions to program management, hear about new and upcoming IDEaS challenges, and ask questions about the various application processes.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

Lunch & Learn
Time: 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Date: Thursday, September 20
Location: Prairie Lights Dining Room, Notre Dame Campus

Seating is limited so please register early. Deadline to register is by September 17, 2018.

Light lunch will be provided.

For more information, please email rpi@rrc.ca.

About the event:
Are you an innovator? Regardless if you are working from your home, an academic in a university lab, or a scientist in a small or major corporation, the Department of National Defence (DND) Innovation for Defence, Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program is looking for your solutions to help resolve defence and security challenges.

On April 9th, 2018, the Government of Canada launched the IDEaS Program. Through IDEaS, DND will invest $1.6 billion into the external innovation community over the next 20 years, accessing innovation from the most creative minds external to DND. The program will include competitions, contests, networks and mechanisms to engage with DND and show and test proposed solutions. As the program moves forward, new challenges and opportunities for working with DND will be announced.