Monday, November 29, 2010

  • Four more Canada Research Chairs named
  • Emergency test today; watch your cell
  • At term's end: the libraries and WatITis
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Four more Canada Research Chairs named

Four Waterloo researchers were named to Canada Research Chairs this week and will receive a total of $5.6 million in federal funding over the next five to seven years. Another four professors received renewals worth $2.9 million for their existing Canada Research Chairs.

One of the new CRCs will investigate the future of the Internet, another will probe wireless communications networks, a third Waterloo professor will study nanotechnology in radio-frequency systems and a fourth will explore multimedia data compression.

"This generous funding allows the University of Waterloo to continue to create an environment conducive for ground-breaking research and offers a stimulating environment for our graduate students to engage in research," said a statement from George Dixon, vice-president (university research), after the new positions were announced during a Toronto symposium marking the 10th anniversary of the CRC program. The Canada Research Chairs are described as positions that allow a faculty member to focus on research as well as on training the next generation of scientists.

All four of the new chairholders are in the electrical and computer engineering department, and each is funded at $200,000 a year for seven years.

One is former department chair Catherine Rosenberg, who will hold the Canada Research Chair in the Future Internet. Her research explores novel directions in wireless networks, social networks and incentive-based mechanisms between Internet stakeholders. Rosenberg aims to create breakthroughs in the design and practical implementation of the future Internet and develop highly efficient protocols and techniques to improve the Internet user’s experience.

The second new chair goes to Weihua Zhuang, who will be Canada Research Chair in Wireless Communication Networks. Her research involves developing distributed radio resource allocation and network control algorithms and protocols for vehicular ad hoc communications. Zhuang seeks to provide a deep understanding on how a large number of vehicles on road and high vehicle speed can impact network stability and performance, as well as to design networking protocols for efficient and reliable information delivery.

Raafat Mansour is the new Canada Research Chair in Micro and Nano Integrated RF Systems. His research looks at introducing a new class of RF (radio-frequency) systems and instrumentations that leverage the benefits of integrating RF, Micro and Nano technologies on a single-chip. This innovative chip-scaled technology platform will enable the development of highly advanced RF systems for use in applications such as wireless communication, biomedical and nano-instrumentations.

En-hui Yang becomes the Canada Research Chair in Information Theory and Multimedia Data Compression. Yang's research investigates how to improve the areas of information theory, multimedia compression and multimedia communications efficiency, reliability and diversity by proposing and exploring advanced concepts/paradigms. He explores the development and use of new information transmission, storage, protection theory and algorithms.

The four Waterloo researchers who won renewals for their Canada Research Chairs are Grainne Fitzsimons, psychology, CRC in Social Cognition, funded $500,000 over five years; Michel Gingras, physics and astronomy, CRC in Condensed Matter Theory & Statistical Mechanics, $1.4 million over seven years; Debbie Leung, combinatorics and optimization, CRC in Quantum Communication, $500,000 over five years; and Justin Wan, computer science, CRC in Scientific Computing, $500,000 over five years.

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[Excited students, one in hijab]

What a thrill when the robot does your bidding! This was the scene at yesterday's First Lego League Waterloo Qualifier, a tournament for some 200 school kids held in Engineering 5. Photo by Gillian Gutenberg for the engineering outreach office.

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Emergency test today; watch your cell

Another test of the university’s emergency communications system is scheduled for this afternoon, somewhere between 3 and 4 p.m.

This system — which is tested about once each term — employs multiple communications media, including messages to voicemail on campus phones, text messages to cell phones, and a message to computers that appears as a "pop-up" directing everyone to the university's special emergency home page.

This system is designed to be deployed in the event of major emergencies where there is imminent physical danger to members of the campus community.

To ensure that you will receive an emergency cell phone text message, faculty, staff and students must list their cell phone numbers in their university personal information files. For students this should be done using Quest. For faculty and staff, log into the myHRinfo system to make sure your cell phone is accurately listed.

Most PC users across campus will receive the automatic pop-up message. Those with "self-managed" machines, including all users of Macs, can obtain the necessary software for downloading on their own. This software will enable these machines to connect with the Emerge software system used to display pop-up messages.

In addition, during emergency situations, the university's InfoLine can be accessed at 1-866-470-0910. This special number is a communication service allowing multiple callers access simultaneously. The number is meant to reduce the load on the regular switchboard in high-volume situations. The university will also use InfoLine in non-emergencies, such as a campus closure due to a winter storm or other important updates for the campus community.

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At term's end: the libraries and WatITis

With the fall term racing toward its end (the final day of classes is Monday, December 6), the libraries have already begun their exam-time schedule of extended hours. From now through December 22, the Davis Centre library will be open around the clock (except 2 to 8 a.m. on Sundays), and the Dana Porter Library will be open 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Service desks will close at the usual time (midnight in Davis, 11 p.m. in Porter), but, says lending supervisor Mary Lynne Bartlett, "There will be attendants for security purposes. At Davis, the monitors and attendants will also monitor for noise, cell phone use, and hot foods that are not permitted in the library environment."

[13 button designs]Some of the people visiting the libraries are apparently seeking not books, not electronic resources, not even study space, but… buttons. Library staff are giving away one-inch souvenir buttons noting the various library locations — the thirteen designs are illustrated here — and thousands of users are taking and wearing them. "The button designs are only located at their respective locations," the library web site says. "You can find the buttons in bowls at the service desks. Each location is distributing one button design at a time. Other designs will be made available as we run out." They acknowledge not just Davis and Porter, but the University Map Library, the Pharmacy library, the Musagetes Library in Architecture, and "WLRC", which is the Witer Learning Resources Centre in Optometry.

Organizers of WatITis, the annual conference for information technology staff, sent out an alert last week inviting registrations — and it's none too early to make that commitment, as the event is being held December 7, a week from tomorrow and the day after fall classes end. The location was originally announced as the Accounting wing of Hagey Hall, but in the end the conference is going to be held in the Rod Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall, as it was last year. Registration is free and is, of course, online. An agenda for the one-day event shows that the keynote speaker will be Brad Moggach, president of the Federation of Students. Single sessions include "Student Success Opportunities for Technology and Virtual Applications", "A Snapshot of Instructional Digital Media Production", "Exponential Growth in Maple TA Usage", "The Evolution of Publishing", "Maintaining Mental Fitness for Life", "Identity Management at Waterloo", and "Moving Forward on Mobile Applications".

As events to celebrate the holiday season get underway, groups and departments are bound to be holding social events, and officials are expressing hope that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the best of the season. However, there are risks in running these events, says a note from Neil Murray, director of staff and labour relations. "Whether the festivity is large or small, it remains as important as ever that steps are taken to ensure the health and safety of those who attend office parties or other celebrations." He points to a memo that was issued in 2005 about UW's alcohol rules, Policy 21, and says it's as valid now as it was then: "Apart from specific venues listed in the policy such as the Graduate House, only UW Catering is allowed to serve alcohol on campus. An event such as a wine and cheese reception not served by UW Catering is contrary to policy. If a civil action arose from such an event, the organizer and/or department head could be found personally liable." The memo also pointed out that an event in somebody's home, such as a reception for co-workers, is a private event. "As a private host, you assume personal responsibility for such events. Managing the service of alcohol at a private event that involves fellow employees, subordinates or students can sometimes present difficulties. UW Catering staff are trained in these matters and you may want to retain them for such occasions."

The university had a full-page ad in Saturday's Globe and Mail recognizing the seven researchers with Waterloo connections who were installed last week as Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada. • Work on the overpass to the new Math 3 building is going slowly because of windy weather, with the result that the mathematics access road will be closed for another few days, the plant operations department says. • A systems upgrade for OnBase, the online system for graduate admissions, is under way, so the service will be down today.

The WatIAM online authentication system will be down for software maintenance tomorrow (Tuesday), with administration and self-service functions unavailable from 8:30 a.m. for most of the day. • The staff association has invited its members to apply for vacant staff seats on the Employee Assistance Program committee, the influential Staff Relations Committee, and the association's own nominating committee. • The University Club's annual Christmas lunch buffet starts today and continues weekdays through December 22 (reservations ext. 33801).


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[Bare branches against deep blue sky]

The hawk at dawn: People regularly spot the red-tailed hawk that frequents the central campus and preys on small creatures around the Dana Porter Library. Breean Belton, staff member in electrical and computer engineering, caught this view of the bird, in a tree near Physics, early Friday morning.

Link of the day

Politics, 100 years ago today

When and where

Co-op job rankings for architecture students November 29-30.

Canadian Association of University Research Administrators meets at Waterloo November 29-30. Details.

Student recitals by Waterloo music students Monday-Thursday 12:30, Conrad Grebel UC chapel.

Perimeter Institute special announcement with PI chair Mike Lazaridis and BMO Financial CEO Bill Downe, media event 5:45 p.m., 31 Caroline Street North.

Wilfrid Laurier University lecture: Shelagh Grant and Michael Byers, “Canada’s Arctic Sovereignty: From Prime Minister Laurier to Today” 7 p.m., WLU senate and board chamber.

Hagey Lecture: John Mighton, mathematician and author, “The High Cost of Intellectual Poverty” 8:00, Humanities Theatre, no tickets required.

Hagey student colloquium: John Mighton, “The Open Mind” Tuesday 10 a.m.,  Doug Wright Engineering room 3518.

PDEng presents “Beyond the Ring: Bridging the Gap Between University and the Workforce” Tuesday 11:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

‘Student Voices: Making Connections Between Learning Inside the Classroom and Learning Outside the Classroom’ panel sponsored by Teaching Excellence Council and Centre for the Advancement of Cooperative Education, Tuesday 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 329.

Organizational and Human Development workshop: “Email Strategies” Tuesday 1:00. Details.

‘Technology to Support Graduate Supervision’ workshop organized by Learning Community on Graduate Teaching and Learning, Tuesday 1:30, Humanities room 336. Details.

Techno Tuesday teaching workshop: “Data Visualization Tools” Tuesday 2:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

WatRISQ presents Ji-Eun Choi, actuarial consultant, Milliman, “Post-Crisis Variable Annuity Market and Its Future” Tuesday 4:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Imaginus poster sale Wednesday-Thursday 10:00 to 8:00, Student Life Centre.

ChaRisMa: First Waterloo Conference on Characteristics, Risks and Management of Natural Hazards, Wednesday-Friday. Details.

Centre for Teaching Excellence presents Eric Mazur, Harvard University, “Memorization or Understanding: Are We Teaching the Right Thing?” Wednesday 11:00, Arts Lecture Hall room 105.

Perimeter Institute lecture: Eric Mazur, Harvard University, “Stopping Time” Wednesday 7:00, Waterloo Collegiate Institute. Details.

Canada’s Technology Triangle international reception and dinner, speaker former ambassador Ken Taylor, Thursday 5:30, Waterloo Inn, tickets $125. Details.

Orchestra @ UWaterloo end-of-term concert, “Three Edwards”, work by Grieg, Elgar, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Boyd McDonald, piano soloist Edward Cho, Thursday 8 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Last day of lectures for fall term Monday, December 6. Exams run December 9-22 (online class exams, December 10-11).

Faculty association fall general meeting December 7, 2:00, Math and Computer room 4059.

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