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How to program a better tomorrow: Harnessing disruptive technologies
Innovation Issue 38: Summer 2023

How to program a better tomorrow: Harnessing disruptive technologies

A grid of computer chips with sequences of ones and zeroes superimposed.

This publication is made possible, in part, with the support of the Research Support Fund.

Message from the Vice-President, Research and Innovation

In this edition of Innovation, we highlight TMU researchers on the leading edge of research and creation at the intersection of quantum technology, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. Their work addresses the critical needs facing society today while harnessing the power of disruptive technology to devise future-forward solutions.

Steven N. Liss, PhD
Vice-President, Research and Innovation


The title “Catalyst Fellowship” over a three-dimensional grid vanishing into the distance. Logos for Toronto Metropolitan University and Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst appear at the bottom.

A collaborative approach to improving cybersecurity

From remote work, to app-controlled appliances, to online shopping reviews, modern life has never been more connected. But this increased reliance on the internet comes with a related increase in threats to system security, data privacy and physical safety.

360 Degrees

Quantum Computing

Quantum computing is a rapidly emerging field of technology that harnesses the laws of quantum mechanics to solve problems too complex for classical computers. 

Source: IBM (external link, opens in new window)   

Emerging quantum innovations will underpin major advances in fields from computing, to artificial intelligence (AI), to health care, with a vast range of potential applications: developing life-saving drugs and vaccines, locating critical minerals and other natural resources (and mitigating the environmental impact of extracting them), making transportation safer and more efficient, accelerating the design of higher-capacity batteries, and many more.

Quantum technologies will also enhance digital privacy, strengthen cyber-security and safeguard digital infrastructure through secure communications—although in the hands of bad actors, advances in quantum computing could put sensitive information at risk. 

Source: Government of Canada. Canada’s National Quantum Strategy (external link, opens in new window) .


A futuristic white hallway lined with data servers behind glass doors.

Preparing industry for the quantum age

Professor Atefeh Mashatan is working with industry to migrate cybersecurity to quantum-resistant cryptography. Planning the migration today, before quantum computers are readily available, will ensure sensitive and confidential data is protected now and in the future.

A computer rendering of the inside of a theoretical quantum computer.

Building a software bridge for our quantum future

The encryption codes that protect computer data and software from quantum computing-based cybersecurity challenges already exist. Professor Andriy Miranskyy is building a software bridge that integrates these quantum-safe codes with “classical” computers, such as your current laptop, desktop or smartphone.

Technology & Design

A woman looks at a computer screen.

Convince me: Using machine learning to make search results relevant and persuasive

When searching for information on complex topics like climate change or COVID-19 vaccinations on the internet, receiving the most relevant results to a query and factual information is critical. But is this type of information also the most persuasive? Is misinformation more convincing?

Idea to Innovation

Several rows of medical brain scans.

Brain health: Using AI in medical imaging to improve patient outcomes

Research that began during Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) professor April Khademi’s PhD has resulted in a patented tool that can help transform how clinicians diagnose dementia and vascular disease, leading to earlier detection and improved patient outcomes.

A researcher’s latex-gloved hand uses a pipette to place a drop on a square testing device.

Tiny sensors have a big impact on cancer detection

A new leading-edge cancer detection process has been developed by a team from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) and Unity Health Toronto, using their patented quantum sensors and machine learning technology.

Urban Futures

A view of an urban pedestrian walkway from the perspective of a security camera. The pedestrians are highlighted by transparent blue squares, and one man’s face is highlighted in orange with the word “match” next to it.

Technology adoption and regulation in policing

Police forces around the world are integrating emerging technologies into their work, from body cameras, to algorithms predicting crime hotspots, to new digital surveillance tools. The speed of adoption, however, is moving faster than the regulations that govern their use, as has been found by the research of Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) criminology professor Ajay Sandhu.


Three silhouetted DJs perform in a dark room with a projection of a glitchy computer screen showing lines of code on the wall behind them.

Harnessing the power of AI to make digital music more accessible

A human performer writes code on a laptop computer, displayed on a screen behind them, instantaneously creating patterns of sound for live audiences to hear, see and experience. This kind of performance is live coding, a form of improvised digital music composition that manipulates computer code to create music in real time.

A glitchy image of an artificially generated woman’s face.

Preserving and sharing knowledge through AI-powered digital avatars

An interactive digital avatar that can react and converse just like the person it is based on may seem like science fiction, but an innovative technology platform developed by a Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) researcher is enabling users to create digital versions of themselves. 

Meet the Expert

A kitchen in a smart home where many of the surfaces are touch screens.

Enhancing privacy in smart home devices

Smart home devices connected to the internet can add efficiencies and convenience to daily life. This growing industry includes a suite of software tools developed by a Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) researcher that detect potential privacy and security concerns in the code that powers these applications.

Alumni Spotlight

Two students wearing medical scrubs sit at desks wearing VR headsets.

Immersive VR boosts experiential learning through a pandemic

Alarms beep and monitors flash as a patient suddenly enters respiratory distress. A student nurse must take control to manage the emergency and ensure the best outcome for their patient. If they don’t, their virtual patient may die.