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Joint Alberta and HP projects to include focus on nanoscale sensors


Edmonton, AB – The Alberta government and HP say they are planning to work together on several joint research projects on advanced computing and data centre management, nanotechnology and advanced videoconferencing technology.

The proposed projects include the establishment of a new facility at the University of Calgary for work on advanced data centre operation, joint research with the National Institute for Nanotechnology to develop tiny sensors to improve medical and environmental diagnostics, and work with the University of Alberta to advance videoconferencing technology. These research collaborations would extend on-going relationships between HP and the two universities.

“HP has a tradition of collaborating with universities around the world to foster innovation and advance technology,” says Dick Lampman, senior vice president of research at HP and director of HP Labs. “We are looking forward to working with the province of Alberta on these exciting projects.”

In addition to joint research with HP on advanced data centre operation, the proposed facility at the University of Calgary is intended to provide university researchers with the capability to perform leading-edge simulation and modeling more quickly. Potential benefits from such activities include more rapid discoveries and product development. Project costs are estimated at $6.0 million, with funding coming from HP ($3.38 million in-kind) and the University of Calgary ($1.2 million).

The nanoscale research effort, which will involve the National Institute for Nanotechnology of the National Research Council (NRC), is envisioned to focus on the development of tiny sensors that could provide significant benefits in medical and environmental diagnostics. Nanoscale sensors could aid in diagnosing diseases such as cancer while the patient is still in the doctor’s office, instead of having to wait for results from a lab, decreasing time-to-treatment and increasing cost-effectiveness. Nanoscale sensors could also be useful in environmental diagnostics by aiding in the analysis of ground water and air quality. The proposed nanosensor research also includes the integration of nanomaterials into microsystems which could enable more time, energy and cost efficient nanoscale sensors.

Project costs for the nanoscale project are estimated at $1.7 million, with funding coming from HP ($707,000 – cash and in-kind), NINT ($340,000 cash) and industry.

“By bringing together NRC, university and industrial researchers, these proposed research efforts with HP highlight the collaborative focus at the National Institute for Nanotechnology,” said Dr. Nils Petersen, director general of the National Institute for Nanotechnology. “This builds on NRC’s long record of successful partnerships with industrial research groups.”

The proposed videoconferencing work with the University of Alberta would combine virtual reality research conducted by Dr. Pierre Boulanger, iCORE industrial research chair at the U of A, with research on desktop immersive videoconferencing underway at HP Labs in Palo Alto, California. The combination of these efforts promises to give conference participants a virtual 3-D presence in video and the perception of a more natural and realistic interaction. Project costs are estimated at $693,000, with funding coming from sponsors including HP ($361,000 – cash and in-kind), University of Alberta ($132,000 in-kind) and NSERC/iCORE ($45,000 cash).

“This proposed work with HP will enhance the development and dissemination of innovative technologies”, says Dr R Gary Kachanoski, vice-president (research) at the University of Alberta.