Research project

Machine learning techniques to solve optical design challenges


Data-driven approaches – propelled by the widespread success of machine learning and especially deep learning – have the potential to revolutionize optical design.

Optical system design is a large nonlinear optimization problem that is usually addressed using traditional local and global optimization methods. Traditional methods do not learn from data, and therefore must start from scratch for any new design process. A novel family of data-driven approaches, relatively unexplored, offer the ability to extract the features that make up a good design and reuse them to infer new designs – similar to how optical design practitioners develop and then exploit their intuition and knowledge.

Our research group, a pioneer in this field, wants to further develop a deep learning approach that extrapolates from previous designs to directly infer optical systems tailored to the desired specifications. Other approaches such as training an optimization algorithm may also be explored.

Research Field

- Lens design
- Artificial intelligence
- Machine learning

Research Supervisor

Simon Thibault

Research Environment

Optical Engineering research lab

Profs. Simon Thibault and Jean-François Lalonde have been working together for a few years now. Their efforts focus on how machine learning techniques can be applied to solve challenges that optical designers face when designing a new optical system. Their expertise in optics and machine learning are highly complementary and their work has received attention from the international community. In addition, Profs. Thibault and Lalonde's research groups are known for their dynamism and the emphasis on teamwork.

Web Site

Financial Aid Available by Program of Study

Master's Degree in Physics with thesis

Program description

Financial Aid Available*

Financial Aid Related to Research Project

Information unavailable

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Graduate Studies Awards

Milestone Amount
Evaluated activity
Achievement scholarship $1,000 
Total $1,650

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Sources de financement Montant
Leadership and Comittment Scholarship (Canadians & permanent residents) $10,000
Citizens of the World Scholarship (International students) $20,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships or Research Visits (in French)
$1,000 to $2,000
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies
$17,500 to $40,000
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

* Amounts shown represent maximum financial aid available. Certain conditions apply. Subject to change without prior notice. For further information, contact sponsoring organizations directly.

Desired Profile

- Physics

Required Documentation

- Curriculum vitæ
- Student transcript

Find Out More

Anne-Sophie Poulin-Girard
Professionnelle de recherche
Département de physique, de génie physique et d'optique