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Professor Jonathan Rose (ECE) has pivoted his research to the application of software and large language models in the service of mental health. (photo by Matthew Tierney)

Professor Jonathan Rose (ECE) has received the 2024 Engineers Canada Gold Medal Award. This is Engineers Canada’s most prestigious honour, recognizing outstanding engineering achievements and leadership in the Canadian engineering community.  

Rose is a leading innovator in field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), prefabricated digital chips that can be programmed to become any digital circuit. His group produced what is now the standard computer-aided design (CAD) and architecture exploration tool in the field, as well as a series of groundbreaking innovations in FPGA architecture; these were commercialized through the start-up Right Track CAD Corporation.   

After Right Track’s purchase by Altera which was later acquired by Intel Rose’s group was a key participant in the development of Altera’s flagship architecture, the Stratix FPGA, as well as several follow-on products that make up more than 80% of Intel’s FPGA revenue.   

Rose’s research has now pivoted to the application of software and large language models in the service of mental health. Currently, he is working with CAMH: the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, using large language models to develop a chatbot that can help people move toward the decision to stop smoking.   

Having successfully commercialized his own research group’s innovations, Rose is passionate about championing engineering entrepreneurship. From 2011 to 2017, he served as the inaugural director of the faculty’s engineering business minor, which he played a crucial role in developing. It has since become the most popular minor in the faculty. He has also been a key player in the creation and oversight of The Entrepreneurship Hatchery, serving as chair of the advisory committee for the Hatchery since 2012. 

Rose served on the board of directors of Academics Without Borders from 2011 to 2022; the Canadian NGO works to increase access to quality higher education programs throughout developing nations. He was the first U of T professor to visit Ethiopia with the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration, training instructors at the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology and mentoring two PhD students.  

Throughout his career, Rose has been recognized for his contributions with several distinguished honours. He is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, a foreign member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He has also received the Engineers Canada Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education, as well as many other prestigious teaching awards.   

“Professor Jonathan Rose has been a visionary leader in engineering research, education and entrepreneurship for decades,” says U of T Engineering Dean Christopher Yip  

“On behalf of the faculty, my warmest congratulations to him on this well-deserved recognition and my heartfelt thanks for his many contributions to our community.” 

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