Public Release: 

U of T scientists among world's top young innovators

University of Toronto

Two researchers at the University of Toronto have been named among the top 100 young innovators in their fields by the highly respected Technology Review magazine, citing their innovative work in technology as having a profound impact on the world.

Professor Ted Sargent of the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Alex Vasilescu, a PhD candidate in the Department of Computer Science, were chosen by an elite panel of judges from among nearly 650 candidates under the age of 35. Technology Review is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's magazine of innovation, with a readership of over one million.

Sargent, the Nortel Networks - Canada Research Chair in Emerging Technologies, is conducting groundbreaking research into nanotechnology and an agile optical network. His team is creating "designer molecules" and supramolecular structures to harness the vast potential of nanomaterials. They are using the materials to emit, modulate, detect and amplify light on a microchip. In 2002, Sargent was named one of the nation's top 20 researchers under age 40 by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and he received the IEEE Canada Outstanding Engineer Award.

"To be named to Technology Review's TR100 is a tremendous honour," says Sargent. "Getting to know my co-laureates as people-rather than purely as legendary innovators-has been humbling. These colleagues span the globe and the disciplines."

Vasilescu was selected for her innovative research on anti-terrorism technologies, including face recognition and human motion analysis. Her research in face recognition resulted in TensorFaces, a unified mathematical framework for face recognition that could have an immediate impact on the security and biometrics industries. Vasilescu has also developed Human Motion Signatures, a new method for analyzing human movement. It computes a quantifiable human motion signature that is unique regardless of the action performed. While the method has more immediate implications for the filmmaking industry, it will also have an impact on the security and biometrics fields.

"I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to interact with colleagues who are brilliant mathematicians and computer scientists, and talented artists. This award is a reflection of an inspirational work environment," says Vasilescu.

Sargent and Vasilescu will be honoured Sept. 24 and 25 at the Emerging Technologies Conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


*For more information on the conference, please visit:


Ted Sargent
Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Alex Vasilescu
Department of Computer Science
212-998-3320 (currently at New York University)

Nicolle Wahl
U of T Public Affairs

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