A partnership forged in photonics

Carleton University popped the question, the University of Arizona said “I do” and one of the academic world’s most formidable partnerships in optical data became a reality.

Officially, the two universities signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on August 18, formalizing a five-year, co-operative exchange in research and education that covers all mutual areas of interest in Ottawa and Tucson. But when Carleton’s Vice-President (Research and International) Feridun Hamdullahpur traveled to Arizona last October to discuss the partnership, he saw photonics, and the integral part it plays in informational technology (IT), as a great place for the relationship to start.

Carleton’s leading expertise in optical IT and the University of Arizona’s ability in photonics-based data storage seemed a perfect match for research executives in both places. The new relationship will pay a major role in creating a Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre.

The project is funded by the National Research Centre of Canada and, when opened early next year in Ottawa, is expected to become one of the top three photonics institutes in the world. Carleton is playing a lead role in construction and administration, thanks in large part to a ground-breaking experiment by the University’s physics department earlier this year that moved 700 gigabytes of data from Geneva to Carleton through an optical carrier.

The MOU provides for exchanges of faculty, research and development specialists and students as well as collaborative project design. Rights to any resulting intellectual property will be shared equitably.

More importantly, the MOU will span multiple disciplines in the future. The two universities have already co-operated on computer simulations, such as embedded systems and discrete events run by Assistant Professor Gabriel Wainer, of Carleton’s Department of Systems and Computer Engineering. Hamdullahpur expects future co-operation to include biosciences and next-generation IT.

The interuniversity MOU is part of a larger Ottawa-Tucson Strategic Economic Partnership that seeks to promote high tech economic development in the two cities. Ottawa Mayor Bob Chiarelli joined Hamdullahpur on the Tucson trip.

From – http://www.now.carleton.ca/2003-09/210.htm

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