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IBM Bromont and U of Sherbrooke renew partnership

The aim is to develop innovative processes that will meet growing needs of digital technologies and artificial intelligence (AI)


To develop innovative and increasingly powerful processes that meet the growing needs of digital technologies and artificial intelligence (AI), the Université de Sherbrooke and IBM Bromont have renewed their partnership with the NSERC/IBM Canada Industrial Research Chair in High-Performance Heterogeneous Integration and the launch of a complementary Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) project in support of the Chair.  

In 2014, UdeS came together with IBM Canada Ltd. in a unique corporate-university partnership by launching the NSERC/IBM Canada Industrial Research Chair in Smarter Microelectronics Packaging for Performance Scaling. The Chair’s first mandate was to develop a number of new approaches ranging from robust industrial manufacturing processes to the development of new materials that increase the durability and reliability of electronic components. While building on scientific progress and industry transfer over the past five years, the research teams are pooling their expertise to meet tomorrow’s tech challenges by increasing the power of microelectronic components that let digital systems and AI develop even more quickly.

Develop cutting-edge skills

“This industrial chair is an excellent opportunity for Université de Sherbrooke students to develop cutting-edge skills that are highly sought after by the industry while advancing our technological knowledge at the highest level with IBM, one of the world’s most innovative high-tech companies,” said professors Dominique Drouin and Julien Sylvestre.

The CRD research project entitled “Low Temperature Interconnections for High-Performance Heterogeneous Integration” will be led by Professor David Danovitch. The goal of this project is to support the Chair with the assembly environment for microelectronic interconnections.

The CRD research project entitled “Low Temperature Interconnections for High-Performance Heterogeneous Integration” will be led by Professor David Danovitch from University of Sherbrooke.

“Thanks to the integrated innovation chain that includes C2MI and 3IT, UdeS and its partner IBM can develop advanced packaging technologies to support performance scaling in microelectronics. This is an exemplary project whose research success comes from each partner’s strength and complementarity and that contributes to technology transfer to support digital technologies,” stated Professor Vincent Aimez, Vice-President, Partnerships and Knowledge Transfer.

Dr. Marc Fortin, Vice-President, Research Partnerships at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, said that “the NSERC’s research partnerships support collaborations that lead to scientific advances and that benefit Canada and Canadians economically, socially and environmentally. The NSERC is pleased to continue to support this important partnership between the Université de Sherbrooke and IBM that fosters innovation capacity building in microelectronics, an important tech field for various industrial sectors.”

Better meet the industry’s needs

For Valérie Oberson, Senior Technical Professional at IBM, this partnership will indeed meet the needs of the company. “The ever-increasing demand for performance combined with new low-energy consumption requirements mean that optical links have to be integrated into the module or chip itself. This means that we have to explore new and advanced photonic assembly solutions. Thanks to our partnership with UdeS, these new technologies can be developed and quickly transferred to industry while directly and significantly accelerating computing performance and advanced networking,” explained Valérie Oberson.

Luc Sirois, Executive Director of Prompt, also believes in the importance of working with the science and industrial community. “At Prompt, we are dedicated to supporting an innovative Quebec that is at the cutting edge of technology through collaborations between scientists and companies. By developing these collaborative ecosystems and reinforcing its expertise, Quebec can cement its leadership in strategic sectors of the 21st century. This is why Prompt is proud to be involved with the renewal of this Research Chair, and with its high-level partners, to boost and propel forward Quebec’s research and economy.”

State-of-the-art facilities and an integrated innovation chain

The Chair’s research program will mainly involve creating prototypes to demonstrate the feasibility of the technologies that the research teams will develop in a unique collaborative space. At 3IT, students and faculty can create proof-of-concept prototypes, while at C2MI, a unique ecosystem in Canada, these proofs of concept can be integrated into the development of products in collaboration with the Chair’s teams, which in turn will accelerate product commercialization. Once integrated, the results will be transferred to IBM’s research and industries teams.

The Chair’s work will also include training for over 24 highly qualified students in a world-class research environment. The training of this pool of talent, and their contributions to new scientific knowledge, will help advance digital technologies that depend on the performance of microelectronic components. These two launched projects have received over $6 million in funding from the NSERC, Prompt, IBM and UdeS.