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As a child, I dreamed of having invisible and intelligent robot friends to help me with my daily tasks. My childhood dream became a passion—a passion for a career that I have been pursuing since I arrived in Montreal. I have always been enthusiastic about anything having to do with human-machine interaction, ambient intelligence and technological innovation. My intellectual curiosity and childhood ambition to change the world, to find solutions to everyday problems, have fuelled my transdisciplinary and transcultural journey. I have always been very curious, asking questions about everything around me, and I have never limited myself to just one field or just one culture.
A Multidisciplinary Journey
A math graduate from a small town in southern Tunisia, I pursued my university studies in management and computer science at the ISG Institute of Tunis (Institut supérieur de gestion). I then worked in industry as manager of an integrated management software (ERP) before becoming a teacher. Interested in developing more interactive learning tools for my students, I took my project further as part of a CAPES thesis on interactive CD design for ICT teaching while pursuing my master’s degree at Paris 11 University in multimedia engineering. Subsequently, my desire to combine science and the arts led me to Rennes, where I completed my master’s working on “algorithmic art”, specifically generic algorithms relative to the symbolism, creation and regeneration of Berber art forms, in the context of machine digital design and co-design.
The Turning Point: Montreal and ÉTS
After my master’s, I proposed a research project in “affective computing” and chose to come to Montreal for its reputation in digital arts and innovation. ÉTS accepted my PhD project, which combines algorithmic art and human-machine interface, offering me the resources and flexibility I needed to continue my progress in a field that remains largely unexplored, and become a groundbreaker in the field.
Embarking on a research path comes with its own set of difficulties, but makes us much more courageous and better equipped to turn failures into rewarding experiences. My multidisciplinary career was also fuelled by related activities, such as getting involved in “les Ingénieuses de l’ÉTS”, a group that promotes the integration of women in the engineering field, allowing me to honour my commitment to women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and to embrace a wider community, promoting a wide range of exchanges. I also shared my passion for technological innovation and popular science by becoming a writer for Substance, the ÉTS scientific and innovation news platform.
Research, My New Passion
Today, I am a postdoctoral fellow at the ÉTS Synchromedia Laboratory. I am also a researcher entrepreneur, cofounder of a start-up company that offers a cognitive and eco-sensitive IOT platform to fight urban pollution.
For me, research is the essence of innovation in our daily lives. Creating ingenious solutions, developing effective, science-based strategies, and offering local and international communities efficient tools derived from scientific thinking is what brings me back to the lab each day.
Today, I have the great privilege of working with Professor Mohamed Cheriet, a world-renowned specialist in the field of pattern recognition, next-gen networks, eco-cloud computing, smart grids, the Internet of Things and intelligent life. In addition to having the chance of working with him on innovative strategic projects, my mentor encourages me to pursue a path that reflects who I am, and to undertake, innovate and engage in local and international initiatives in causes that are dear to my heart. For example, I wish to strengthen the position of women in the field of technology and I hope to integrate technological innovation into solutions that will accelerate global sustainable transition. I play an active role as an international technology expert in U4SSC (United for smart sustainable cities), an initiative of ITU (the United Nations specialized agency for information technology and communication (ITC) whose goal is to develop solutions and in-depth thinking to achieve Goal 11 of SDGs.
The challenges are ubiquitous for a woman in technology and entrepreneurship, especially when she is an immigrant. Things will never be easy and success is not guaranteed. However, I am motivated to continue on this path more than ever. I will keep my rebellious spirit and my childhood curiosity. I feel surrounded by the right people, and the path I have chosen is both rewarding and exciting. I fell in love with Montreal. I see in this city a lot of potential, an environment that promotes progress and most importantly, a community of which I am a proud member. I want to contribute to its influence and prosperity.
The author can be followed on Linkedin.
Darine Ameyed is a postdoctoral associate researcher at the ÉTS Synchromedia Laboratory. She is also scientific project manager at CIRODD.
Program : Automated Manufacturing Engineering
Research chair : Canada Research Chair in Smart Sustainable Eco-Cloud
Research laboratories : SYNCHROMEDIA – Multimedia Communication in Telepresence