Accelerate Research projects

  • Development of Cost-Effective Solutions for Energy Management in Smart Buildings

    Guchuan Zhu
    Waselul Haque Sadid
    Fusion Énergie Inc.
    Engineering, computer and electrical
    Energy
    École Polytechnique de Montréal

    The proposed research aims at developing control strategies under the paradigm of Demand Response (DR) in the context of the Smart Grid in order to improve energy efficiency and to reduce operational cost in commercial buildings and communities. The emphasis will be put on consumer side energy management strategies that able to balance energy demand and supply and to reduce the overall operational cost while providing an enhanced performance. The envisaged solutions lie mainly on autonomous demand response management in smart buildings including peak shaving, consumption scheduling, and load forecasting. The achievements of the present project will allow the industrial partner, Fusion Energy Inc., to enhance their solutions for energy management through optimization of mechanical and electrical equipment, automation, and real-time energy consumption control.

  • Neural Network Model for Predicting NBA Shot Outcome

    Dr. Richard Zemel
    Kuan-Chieh Wang
    Toronto Raptors
    Computer science
    Sports and recreation
    University of Toronto

    As the game of basketball evolved, analysis of the game has also grown from taking average of field goal percentage to more complex analytics. In the 2013-2014 season, the NBA has installed the SportVU Player Tracking technology in every NBA arena. SportVU collects 25 frames of data per second, each frame containing the (x,y) coordinates of each of the 10 players and the (x,y,z) coordinates of the basketball. The goal of this research is to understand how much better we can predict the outcome of shot given this massive amount of newly available information, and what the important factors are in contributing to a made shot. This understanding will assist the Toronto Raptors, and even the general basketball community, on many levels. For example, this could provide some guidance to players (shot location and time-of-game selection) and to coaches (which player/game situations tend to be most successful. The system could also help quantify the quality of performances of players by the shots that they took, instead of only looking at the outcome, which is inherently probabilistic.

  • Effectively Communicating Triple Bottom Line: Investor Appetite for CSR at TransCanada

    Dr. Irene Herremans
    Ariel Kangasniemi
    TransCanada Corporation
    Business
    Oil and gas
    University of Calgary

    Triple bottom line is the nexus between the environmental, societal and financial performance of an organization. The corporate social responsibility (CSR) department of TransCanada is responsible for strategy & communication of information related to the environmental and social performance of the firm. This information is intended for use by a wide variety of stakeholders, including shareholders and potential investors, who are interested in understanding the context of non-financial performance in driving corporate profits. While research supports that at a societal level, shareholders are increasingly using this information to inform their investment decisions, firms are currently struggling with understanding the appetite and expectations of investors for communication at the company level. This research project aims to capture this information, through a survey of current retail and institutional investors at TransCanada and a broader characterization of the current interests and appetites of socially responsible, retail and institutional investors. A potential communication strategy will be developed to allow TransCanada’s investor relations and CSR teams to better communicate the business case for sustainability to potential and current shareholders.

  • Build Cross Platform Mobile application supporting various screen resolutions

    Dr. Liang Chen
    Raj Singh Dhawal
    Noratek Solutions Inc.
    Computer science
    Information and communications technologies
    University of Northern British Columbia

    Diversity among the mobile platforms requires an application developer to develop separate applications for each platform. Reason for this is the unique technological support and features that each platform comes embedded with. To use the features associated with any particular platform, we need to use the underlying SDK supported by that platform. Major market share (more than 98%) is dominated by three mobile platforms Android, Apple iOS, and Windows phone. For any business application it becomes necessary to have support on all major platforms. A simple approach for having support on all platforms is to develop separate applications for them using underlying SDKs. However it requires a lot of efforts to be put in by the company in form of labor and money. Cross platform mobile application development has emerged a best alternative to this problem that makes development and maintenance of any application easier. It enables the use of a single technological platform to develop application for all major mobile platforms rather than using platform specific SDKs. This approach focuses on the commonality among the features of the targeted platforms rather than diversity.

  • Operational runoff prediction during rain-on-snow in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia

    Dr. Dan Moore
    Joel Trubilowicz
    BC Hydro
    Geography, geology and Earth science
    Energy
    University of British Columbia

    Rain-on-snow events, where rain falls on pre-existing snow, cause some of the highest peak flows in mountainous coastal regions, such as Southwestern British Columbia. Operational hydrologists have a difficult time predicting runoff during these events because of an incomplete knowledge of the energy fluxes into and within the snowpack over large areas, and because of an incomplete knowledge of which areas of a watershed have snow coverage and which do not. This project will investigate the energy fluxes that govern rain-on-snow melt with a goal of determining a simplified method for predicting runoff. Additionally it will investigate the use of satellite snow cover measurements in a hydrologic model to improve prediction accuracy via a better knowledge of the initial conditions prior to the onset of rain-on-snow.

  • Re-engineering business process of an insurance broker group

    Dr. Tom Dean
    Harman Singh
    Upper Canada Commercial Insurance Group
    Engineering, computer and electrical
    Finance, insurance and business
    Queen's University

    This project aims to identify and fix the gaps in existing business processes of commercial insurance brokers group. In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the processes, I plan to redesign the processes to eliminate bottlenecks and improve the service quality by developing workflow management system for the organization. Workflow management system deals with supporting business processes in the organization. The end product includes streamlined business process with integrated workflow management system that will take care of modeling, execution, management and monitoring of workflow. Streamlined business process would make sure the status of a client application is transparent and traceable within the organization that is currently one of the major limitations because of the current business process. Also the deployment of workflow management system in the organization will reduce the manual work at each department of the organization by automating the tasks currently being performed manually.

  • Federation of heterogeneous data sources for the linked data back-end in the Gold Fish mobile application

    Petko Valtchev
    Victor Eduardo Fuentes & Tomas Martin
    Fruitful Source
    Computer science
    Digital media
    Université du Québec à Montréal

    The overall goal is to create the backend of a mobile personal organizer that suggests professional events (conferences, colloquia, workshops, exhibitions) and contacts to establish while attending events, to members. Currently, the target audience are professionals in the biomedical domain. Given the need to feed data and meta-data from heterogeneous sources into the application, the industrial partner chose to implement the backend using semantic data management technologies. The main challenge at this stage is therefore to create the database (triplestore) that federates the chosen sources (social network profiles, event descriptions, domain terminologies, standards, etc.). Tools designed and co-designed by members of the academic team will be used and improved during this stage, in particular, methods for matching schemas and ontologies (domain models) originating in independent sources as well as for recognizing the alternative representations of the same entity (e.g. event) in independently created datasets. Thus, the academic team brings its joint expertise in the semantic technologies and its tools to the project that thoroughly benefits the industrial partner.

  • Snow Crab productivity and Management Targets under Changing Ocean Conditions

    Dr. Noel Cadigan
    Stephanie Lelievre
    Association of Seafood Producers
    Agriculture
    Fisheries and wildlife
    Memorial University of Newfoundland

    With recent annual landings values over $200 million, snow crab remains a dominant component of Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries and these snow crab stocks have recently been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as an initiative of the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP). MSC certification increases market value and access by the fishery; however, it also prescribes research and management milestones aimed at sustainability that must be met within a five year timeframe in order to maintain MSC certification. This research proposal is aimed at fulfilling some of the MSC research needs of industry partners by providing snow crab biomass and harvest rate estimates, and also forecasting how environmental conditions affect the productivity of Newfoundland and Labrador snow crab stocks. By contributing new knowledge in support of the MSC certification process and to aid management decisions, this project will help ensure that the NL snow crab industry maximizes its economic potential for years to come.

  • Facies control on fracture characteristics in the Cardium

    Dr. Per Kent Pedersen
    Daniel Hill
    Penn West
    Geography, geology and Earth science
    Oil and gas
    University of Calgary
    Hydrocarbon production from the Cardium Formation of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin peaked in the 1970’s. However, in recent years multistage hydrological fractured horizontal wells have unlocked large volumes of oil from low porosity permeability thin-bedded sandstones, laminated shales, and the bioturbated muddy sandstones. However, the geometry of the induced fractures is poorly understood. The proposed internship research project will analyze and compile a database of hydraulic completion data for different sedimentary facies using internal Penn West data. Further, integration of well logs (FMI, gamma ray, sonic, etc.), cores, hydraulic completion data, microseismic, and production data will likely lead to an better identification of most productive facies. The developed model and established relationships will secondly be compared with an existing Cardium outcrop study of the relationship between sedimentary facies and natural fracture networks (i.e. fracture dimensions, spacing and orientation). This latter part will allow construction of a predictive fracture model of fracture length and connectivity data for further modelling of the induced fractures in the subsurface by the sponsoring company.
  • The New Economy: Empowering Business Through Organizational Thinking

    Dr. Ian Colquhoun
    Jessica Hua
    Conscious Brands
    Environmental Sciences
    Environmental industry
    Western University

    Due to consumer demand for social and environmental responsibility, accountability and transparency, businesses are looking to redefine stakeholder value as more than just financial returns. This paradigm shift in business allows for progressive organizational thinking and the adopting of alternative forms of business organization that embed principles of corporate social responsibility. The proposed research will explore alternative business organizations, such as Certified BCorporations and Social Enterprises, to provide a snapshot as to how these models fit in existing businesses and how they will shape a new economy. In addition, the research will aim to identify aspects to consider when accounting for non-financial metrics and what mechanisms businesses need to ensure business continuity while also promoting positive social and environmental impact.

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 From my perspective, the true value of the Mitacs-Accelerate internship is the individual relationships developed with people working for the industrial partner. Through the internship, although I became more familiar with methods, ideas, and technical issues related to my area of research, it was the networking experiences that I found to be most rewarding. I have no doubt that these relationships will continue to be of value throughout my career. 

Gurjit Singh, Mitacs-Accelerate intern at the University of Toronto with partner Oticon Canada

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