Category 1: Small and Medium-Sized Companies
A 20-year partnership between the University of Toronto and Autodesk Inc. has made Canada a leader in the expanding field of visual modelling—which is used in film, animation, architecture, medicine and a variety of other fields. The market for the tools developed by this partnership has increased from $100 million in 1992 to approximately $2 billion today.
Begun by Eugene Fiume at the University of Toronto’s Dynamic Graphics Project and Gordon Kurtenbach and Bill Buxton from Autodesk Inc., this unique partnership has produced volumes of research, dozens of highly skilled computer scientists, numerous patents and awards that include a Technical Academy Award and an Academy Award nomination for Film Animation.
Thanks to the longevity of the partnership, over the years many employees of Autodesk Inc. have become graduate students and, in some cases, professors at the University of Toronto. At the same time, formers students and professors have become employees of Autodesk Inc.
This interaction among people has made for a robust research culture. Challenges encountered by industry can be tackled by academic researchers and academic research quickly adapts to industrial use.
Research carried out through the partnership is being used to conceptualize green buildings and improve environmental performance. Automakers use visual modelling to design vehicles that are safer and more comfortable. It is also used in medical imaging to help diagnose and cure disease.