Where are they now?
Of course, there is a life before and after studies! GERAD opens doors both onto academia and industry. This is shown by the profiles of some of our graduates:
Mehdi Abedinpour Fallah
Mehdi Abedinpour Fallah received a BSc in electrical engineering from the University of Tabriz and an MSc in mechanical engineering from Concordia University. His PhD in electrical engineering was obtained from Polytechnique Montréal in 2017, and was followed by a postdoctoral research position at WPred Inc. (Montréal), both under the supervision of Professor Roland P. Malhamé. During that time, he was a member of GERAD, where he investigated distributed decision-making under uncertainty and partial observation for a class of stochastic networked multi-agent control systems, and worked on another project on wind forecasting. At GERAD, he enjoyed meeting and interacting with like-minded students and researchers from different disciplines and multiple universities, and with diverse cultural backgrounds. He also learned a lot by attending various ISS Informal Systems Seminars.
He is currently an R&D specialist in the Controls Software Engineering Department at Pratt & Whitney Canada (Longueuil), where his GERAD-acquired expertise in analysis, control and optimization of complex dynamic systems has led to contributions in the development of safety-critical control systems and software design for next-generation turboshaft and turboprop aircraft engines.
I obtained a master's degree in mathematics (2002) from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. I discovered GERAD in 2001, when I did my master's project, in their offices, under the local supervision of Alain Hertz.
The warm welcome I received and the opportunities for furthering my knowledge in operational research (OR) convinced me to stay in Quebec for my doctoral work. Conducting OR research and programming for my thesis in the GERAD offices enabled me to develop a professional network in OR and optimization that I still maintain.
While doing my doctoral work, I had the opportunity to teach several math and OR classes at Polytechnique Montréal, where I received my PhD in mathematics in OR in 2009.
My career path then led me to Acquisio, where I held several positions: OR specialist, technical product analyst and product owner.
Since 2017, I have been at Timesphere, working as the director of development and optimization services. I lead four software development teams, the infrastructure team and the business analysis team on optimization needs. The major optimization problems Timesphere deals with are scheduling and delivery route optimization.
I vividly remember the time I was having lunch in the GERAD kitchen with a few other students and François Soumis walked in and exclaimed, "What a great family!" These words are a perfect description for my six years' experience at the lab.
I'm happy I was able to contribute to creating a friendly work environment by organizing student seminars and establishing links with the Montreal Operations Research Student Chapter (MORSC) at Concordia. These activities not only stimulated my curiosity and thinking, they also allowed me to build friendships with brilliant students from around the world. They are now professors, esteemed researchers or respected members of industry.
Studying on the fourth floor of Pavillon André-Aisenstadt also allowed me to interact with experienced professors, who revealed math's elegance and illustrated its many industrial applications. I feel privileged I was able to do my thesis on the stochastic optimization of hydroelectric production, with the collaboration of Hydro-Québec.
The applied aspect and the multidisciplinary nature of this research have been major assets in my career. Combining operational research with statistics allowed me for instance to teach the undergraduate class on probability at Polytechnique Montréal. My master's and doctoral work also allowed me to gain valuable experience in programming. All these skills made it easier for me to transition to a data science position in industry.
GERAD is a great institution and I am honoured to have been part of it. I hope many generations of members will continue to feel proud to belong to such a great family.