Concordia hosted the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering (CSME)
International Conference on Multidisciplinary Design in Engineering, Nov.
Dr. R.B. Bhat, conference co-chair and chair of Mechanical and Industrial
Engineering at Concordia, said that multidisciplinary work is essential
for training tomorrows engineers.
We emphasize teamwork between students of different disciplines
in the department and the whole Faculty, and the same is true of engineering
faculties throughout Canada, said Bhat, who is also the vice-president
of CSME Quebec.
The team approach to engineering research and projects is also vital
to our own involvement with local industries, especially aeorospace. Last
year, we created the Concordia Institute for Aerospace Design Innovation,
in which 30 undergraduate students from various disciplines are working
together on real-life projects for companies like Pratt & Whitney
Multidisciplinary design is not a recent trend, but is growing to accommodate
the complexity of todays engineering tasks.
Design is interconnected, both from a components point of view and
a disciplines point of view. An automobile or aircraft, for example, requires
structural design, electrical design, noise reduction many disciplines
come together in the final design.
Bhat said that the growing role of computers in the engineering field
has made that kind of integration feasible and desirable.
In the past, because of the lack of computer facilities, people
would work on their designs separately, and then try to put them together.
Each discipline has its own culture and language, in a sense; computers
with specialized software translate from one to another and perform the
rapid calculations necessary for an optimum design, Bhat said.
The conference heard speakers from all over Canada and 15 other countries.
In the first day, keynote speaker Ian Yellowley, chair of the Canadian
Design Engineering Network, spoke about the objectives and activities
of the Network and the research modules established at 34 engineering
schools across the country. On the second day keynote speaker Fassi Kafyeke,
of Bombardier, provided an industry perspective to the conference.
Dr. Kafyeke explained that the organizational structure in industry is
built around multi-disciplinarity, and managers have to make sure that
different departments are always aware of what each other is doing. The
days of each department working independent of each other are over; there
is a growing interdependence.
The conference also highlighted engineering students, including a student
research paper competition. The Department of Mechanical Engineering celebrated
the completion of the 100th doctoral thesis since the department was founded
30 years ago. Given everything that is involved in guiding students
through the complex research involved in a PhD thesis, we are proud of
The Quebec Ministry of Science and Technology, Pratt & Whitney Canada,
the Concordia Faculty of Engineering, the Concordia Institute of Aerospace
Design and Innovation, and the ASME-Quebec supported the conference with
funds. Other co-sponsers included the National Research Council of Canada,
IRSST and the Canadian Space Agency.