Engineering professor Ning Zhang, Canada Research Chair in Edge Computing and the Internet of Vehicles.Engineering professor Ning Zhang has been awarded a Canada Research Chair in Edge Computing and the Internet of Vehicles.

Engineering prof using Canada Research Chair to improve Internet of Vehicles

UWindsor engineering professor Ning Zhang has joined a cadre of elite scholars working to make Canada a world leader in research and development.

Dr. Zhang has been awarded a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Edge Computing and the Internet of Vehicles, giving him a steady stream of funding to work on innovations that will benefit the automotive industry and Canadian consumers. The position comes with $120,000 in annual funding for five years, renewable for an additional five years.

“I am very grateful for the support from the CRC program and the University of Windsor,” he said. “Along with other colleagues in the relevant areas, our research team will work to address the key challenges and promote the research and development of Internet of Vehicles (IoV). This grant from the CRC program will be very helpful in assisting us to reach our goals.”

Zhang is an expert in mobile edge computing, in which data can be accessed more quickly and computation tasks can be processed faster by bringing data storage and processing closer to the user.

“Timely data acquisition and processing is crucial to IoV for real-time control and decision-making,” Zhang said. “With edge servers in proximity, vehicles’ requests for content or computation power can be served locally and quickly, significantly reducing service latency.”

IoV is an “emerging platform that enables various vehicular applications to improve road safety and transportation efficiency,” he said.

IoV encompasses self-driving vehicles, artificial intelligence, and networking. It allows for traffic information, roadside assistance, collision avoidance, route guidance, and on-board entertainment.

Cars are already outfitted with sensors to help with collision avoidance and other functions. But the sensors’ scope become limited in heavy rain, snow, or in heavy traffic. Improving connectivity would make sensing more reliable and increase sensing scope to combat such hindrances, Zhang said.

“With edge computing, crowdsourcing data from vehicles can be processed efficiently.”

Zhang is a highly cited researcher, named in an annual study by Stanford University as among the world’s top two per cent of scientists. His research papers have on six occasions taken top honours at international conferences and he often chairs conferences, symposiums, and workshops. He has received this year’s Rising Star award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and is the associate editor of several of its journals.

He will use his CRC to train future engineering researchers, including one post-doctoral fellow, three doctoral students, two Master’s students and one undergrad.

The Canada Research Chairs program is a national strategy to propel our nation to the forefront of research and development in the world. The program, launched in 2000, invests up to $295 million each year to attract and retain a diverse cadre of world-class researchers in engineering, the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and the social sciences.

“Canada Research Chairs funding supports innovative and world-class research projects like Dr. Zhang’s, which will help solidify UWindsor’s position on the cutting edge of automotive and automobility research,” said K.W. Michael Siu, UWindsor’s vice-president, research and innovation.

“Dr. Zhang’s research will advance key emerging technologies and help train UWindsor students for the high-tech jobs of tomorrow. The concept of an Internet of Vehicles is at the leading edge of autonomous and connected vehicle research, and I am delighted that Dr. Zhang’s innovation in this field has been recognized and supported.”

Zhang is one of two new Canada Research Chairs at the University of Windsor. Law professor Manoj Mate has been awarded a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in International Trade Law.

—Sarah Sacheli

graphic representation of many handsA panel will discuss support services available to Black students at the University of Windsor on Jan. 26.

Panel to discuss support services for Black students

A panel discussion Wednesday, Jan. 26, will provide students and other members of the campus community an opportunity to learn about the support services available specifically to Black students.

The inaugural entry in the Initiatives Against Anti-Black Racism Student Speaker Series, the event is hosted by the Office of the Vice-President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and will run 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Microsoft Teams.

Panellists include:

  • Kaitlyn Ellsworth, Black student support co-ordinator;
  • Venus Olla, PhD, Black student mental health counsellor;
  • Lorraine Oloya, Black law student counsellor;
  • Ola Adeboboye, intake co-ordinator - student conduct;
  • Kevin Limbombe, law student and director of social outreach for the Black Law Students’ Association; and
  • moderator Shayna Brisset-Foster, Bachelor of Education student.

Gain an understanding of wellness, academic, financial, and social supports and resources for UWindsor Black students: register to attend “Black Student Support Services at UWindsor.”

globe highlighting location of ChinaA Jan. 26 discussion of Chinese culture is intended to help faculty and staff better support international students.

Presentation to explore Chinese culture

An online session will introduce the customs, cuisine, geography — and more — of China at noon Wednesday, Jan. 26.

This free event is presented by the International Student Centre as part of its ISC Culture Series, intended to help staff and faculty deepen their understanding of, and provide better support to, students from around the world.

“The purpose is to engage our campus community in learning more about the cultures of the students who are most prominent here,” says ISC director Beth Oakley.

Students who have picked Windsor over other global institutions merit a high level of support, says program co-ordinator Romi Saraswat, international student advising consultant.

“Only when we have an enhanced understanding of their cultures, which reflects in their behaviour and mannerisms, can we form proper connections with these valued members of our community,” she says.

The series was previously offered as “brown bag lunch” in-person sessions; it will now be conducted as one-hour noontime webinars on Microsoft Teams.

Deena Wang, manager of international recruitment and partnerships, will lead the discussion via Microsoft Teams. Join the webinar here.

Sessions later this semester will focus on Indigenous cultures, Vietnam, and Nigeria, with dates and presenters to be announced later.

Sign up to express interest and receive an email reminder about future events.

The centre has also produced support materials for staff and faculty, including a handbook for incoming international students, tips on understanding their experiences, and a guide to providing them with support outside of the classroom.

matrix applied atop androidComputer-brain interfaces are no longer science fiction, raising ethical questions alongside the technical ones.

Researcher weighs pros and cons of biological sensors

For better or worse, biometric recognition devices are already integrated into our everyday lives, says kinesiology professor Francesco Biondi.

“There are the obvious examples: fingerprint scanners that unlock doors and facial recognition that allows payment through a phone,” he writes in an article published Tuesday in the Conversation, which shares news and views from the academic and research community. “But there are other devices that do more than read an image — they can literally read people’s minds.”

A researcher in the Human Systems Lab, Dr. Biondi explores the dynamics of how humans interact with machines and how such interactions affect the cognitive state of the human operator.

While devices such as machine vision systems hold undeniable benefits in uses like detecting distracted driving, Biondi also explores questions related to neuroethics and cognitive freedom:

  • What will happen to the data being harvested and who will have access to it?
  • Should actions undertaken with an implant be governed by the same laws ruling conventional bodily movements?

He concludes: “Personally, I will need to take some more time weighing the pros and cons of biological sensors and devices in my everyday life.”

Read the entire piece, “Smart devices can now read your mood and mind, leading to a new set of concerns about technology and consent,” in the Conversation.