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The explosion of connected sensors and objects, dubbed the Internet of Things, is just one application driving future Internet architectures. Designing the next Internet is just one project U of T engineers are working on in collaboration with Huawei: an agreement between the parties will spark new multidisciplinary partnerships. (Photo: Creative Commons)

The University of Toronto and Huawei have just announced a new research partnership agreement. This partnership will see Huawei invest $3 million in research projects with the University over the next three years. The collaboration will support a diverse range of projects, from designing optimized cloud computing to engineering next-generation Internet architectures, and aims to expand the relationship into fields such as biomedical engineering, materials science and theoretical physics.

The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) has a strong history of successful collaborations with Huawei in many different areas. For example, ECE Professor Wei Yu has had a fruitful partnership with the company since 2013. He and his lab are working toward designing 5G cellular networks, the next generation wireless standard targeted for 2020.

As demand for data puts strain on existing 4G or LTE networks, the race is on to engineer new wireless network architectures that can move and process massive quantities of data from more sources in real time.

“We’re thinking ahead about ways to enhance broadband user experience through massive connectivity and cloud computing. Future wireless networks will also be about connecting your car, monitoring and sensing the environment, and widespread home and office automation,” said Yu. “That means millions of connected devices and an explosion of new applications.”

The success of collaborations such as Yu’s paved the way for this bilateral agreement, which has sparked new partnerships between Huawei and researchers in ECE and the Department of Computer Science. Its framework will broaden the scope of Huawei’s interaction with the University to include research initiatives in areas such as mechanical and industrial Engineering, materials science, chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, aerospace engineering, and theoretical and applied physics.

“This agreement further solidifies the established partnership between ECE and Huawei,” said Professor Farid Najm, chair of The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. “Close collaboration with industry partners like Huawei promises practical solutions to some of today’s most pressing telecommunications challenges.”

“This new agreement with Huawei opens countless opportunities for collaboration beyond the areas of cloud acceleration and data centre optimization, where we have long enjoyed strong partnerships,” said Professor Ted Sargent, vice-dean, research, for the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. “We look forward to exploring joint projects that build upon U of T Engineering’s world-leading research strengths in biomedical engineering, materials science and other fields.”

“We are proud to be partnering with the University of Toronto,” said Huawei Canada President Sean Yang. “The research partnership agreement announced today further reflects our confidence in the talent and outstanding network of ICT researchers that exist in Toronto and the Province of Ontario.”

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