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Thursday, January 5, 2012

  • Water Under the Bridge now flows online
  • Travel rules, reimbursement rates revised
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Water Under the Bridge now flows online

by Chris Redmond, communication and public affairs

The cover of Water Under The Bridge by Chris Redmond.The troll’s telling of this university’s history — the text of Water Under the Bridge, published in book form in 1998 — is now available online, with text and photos telling the university’s story from “roots and tributaries” in the 19th and early 20th centuries, through the founding in 1957 and the developments of the decades that followed.

It’s all told in the voice of Simon the Troll, who has observed all these years from his home under one of the Laurel Creek bridges. He winds up his story-telling with 1993, the year James Downey became president.

A sample of the troll’s style, from the chapter on 1965: “The funniest, most touching thing I have seen in my long trollian life was the procession across the arts quadrangle on the afternoon of Saturday, October 23, 1965. Robed in black, a very young Ron Eydt — a biology instructor who hadn't yet grown the black mustache by which generations would come to recognize him — solemnly carried your university's new silver mace down the front steps of the Modern Languages building, across the quad, and up the steps of the new Arts Library. Behind him walked Dana Porter, chief justice of Ontario, and chancellor of the University of Waterloo, whose name would be given to the building after his death three years later.”

Getting Simon into the electronic age has been one of the historical projects I’ve worked on during these pre-retirement months. The web site was designed and created by my colleague Sarah Forgrave.

Jim Jonkman, Tom Schulz, Greg Bakker, and Jonathan Schaeffer pose with their chess chip.Meanwhile, just before Christmas the Daily Bulletin published this photo, dated 1982, asking if anybody could identify the people and their project. The most extensive answer came — via Frank Tompa of the school of computer science — from Jonathan Schaeffer, who is now an executive at the University of Alberta, but three decades ago was a graduate student at Waterloo. He writes: “The people in the photo are (left to right) Jim Jonkman, Tom Schulz, Greg Bakker, and Jonathan Schaeffer. We were grad students together in an electrical engineering course on VLSI design. Of interest is that the project we designed was a chip for making chess legal moves. The design was sent for fabrication but took two years (!) to come back. By then we had all graduated and left Waterloo. I still have the chips, but have no idea whether they work or not.

“We were the first to design a chip for playing chess. 15 years later, chess chips developed by IBM were the successful ingredient in the Deep Blue chess machine that defeated the World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov in an exhibition match.” A report on their work, “A VLSI Chess Legal Move Generator”, was published in the proceedings of the Third Caltech Conference on Very Large Scale Integration, 1983.

Since we’re on a roll, would anybody like to provide any insights into the photo reproduced below?

Undated computer lab photo.

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Travel rules, reimbursement rates revised

A memo from Vice-President Academic and Provost Geoff McBoyle and Vice-President Administration and Finance Dennis Huber released in December reveals some changes to the reimbursement rates for university travel. "The University establishes its travel reimbursement rates (i.e. kilometer rate and meal costs) based on average costs and comparisons with other universities," reads the memo. "This year, the determination of travel reimbursement rates is also affected by Ontario's Bill 122 Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, and the Broader Public Sector (BPS) Expenses Directive."

Changes to kilometer and meal reimbursement rates related to travel for university business came into effect January 1, and have received the president's approval. The changes include an increase of the kilometer rate, from $.40 to $.45 per kilometer, and adjustments to the amounts that can be claimed for meal reimbursements.

"Meals while travelling on university business must be claimed based on the actual costs incurred and supported by an original receipt up to the maximum specified in the chart below:

Meal CAD Amount (within Canada) CAD Amount (outside Canada & in North America) CAD Amount (outside North America)
Breakfast 12.50 15.00 18.75
Lunch 12.50 15.00 18.75
Dinner 25.00 30.00


Total for the day (3 meals) 50.00 60.00 75.00


"Any meal claimed based on a per diem is not permitted, except where travel expense is funded by a third party and a per diem is specifically permitted in the funding agreement or related documentation," continues the memo. "Supporting documentation must accompany any claim for meals based on per diem rates."

These changes aren't the final word on the matter, the memo promises. "In addition to allowable costs while travelling on university business, the BPS Expenses Directive addresses other expenses such as hospitality. In 2012, the university will issue guidelines for other expenses covered by the legislation."

On the heels of the reimbursement rate announcement was another memo from the provost introducing a new form, available on the Provost's website, that must be filled out in advance by a faculty or staff member who plans to be absent from campus for more than three business days. "This is a requirement in case of an accident so that you will be covered by the university's insurance," the memo explains. "If you have an accident and the form has not been filled out prior to your leaving campus, you will not have insurance coverage from the university." For periods of less than three days, an individual's supervisor still needs to be informed of the planned absence, "but not necessarily by using this form."

Travel rules and regulations are covered by the university's Policy 31.

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Auditions open for 50th FASS show

The FASS (Faculty, Alumni, Staff and Students) Theatre Company is holding auditions for their 50th anniversary show on January 5 and 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. in HH 123. This year's performance — FASS: The Neverending Story — promises to be "an irreverent retelling of the organization's own history (most of it completely made-up) that is sure to delight new audiences and FASS veterans alike." Details are available online.

Link of the day

Twelfth Night

When and where

Open rehearsal for orchestra@uwaterloo, Thursday, 7:00 p.m., REV Great Hall. All players welcome, registration required.

Knowledge Integration Seminar "Everything I Need to Know about Life I'm Learning From Cognitive Science" Friday, January 6, 2:30, St. Paul's University College Room 105.

4th Annual AHS Speed Networking Career Night, Tuesday, January 10, 6:00 p.m., BMH Foyer, AHS students only.

Open class enrolment for winter term classes ends January 9 (online courses), January 16 (on-campus courses).

Senate Graduate and Research Council Monday, January 9, 10:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

AHS Speed Networking career night, Tuesday, January 10, 6:00 p.m., BMH foyer.

Mexican Menu Themed Dinner Wednesday, January 11, 4:30, REVelation.

Mennonite Lit lecture series featuring Rudy Weibe "On This Earth: 57 years of writing" Wednesday, January 11, Conrad Grebel College Chapel, 7:00 p.m.

Grade 10 Family Night, Thursday, January 12, 6:30 p.m., Hagey Hall.

Knowledge Integration Seminar, Lucie Edwards, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Friday, January 13, 2:30 p.m., St. Paul's University College, room 105.

University senate Monday, January 16, 3:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Studies in Islam Speaker Series, Professor Ali Zaidi, Monday, January 16, 7:00 p.m. Dunker Family Lounge, Renison University College.

Chinese New Year at Mudies, Wednesday, January 18, 4:30.

MDEI Student showcase, Wednesday, January 18, 5:00 p.m., Waterloo Stratford Campus.

Allen Loney, President and CEO of Great West Life lecture, Thursday, January 19, 2:30 p.m., reception 4:00 p.m.

Pension and benefits committee Friday, January 20, 8:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Engineering Alumni Ski Day, Friday, January 20, Osler Bluff Ski Club, 8:30 a.m.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel U College , lunch seminar, “What Is CFIB Doing to Assist Family Businesses?” Friday, January 20, 11:00, Bingemans Conference Centre.

Fantastic Alumni, Faculty and Staff Day Saturday, January 21, 1:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex.

Official Chinese New Year at Chopsticks, Bon Appetit Monday, January 23, 5:00, featuring a live performance by the Central Ontario Chinese Cultural Centre Lion Dancers.

Drop, No Penalty Period ends January 23.

Volunteer/Internship Fair Tuesday, January 24, 11:00 a.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Canada's Digital Economy, 49 Pixels Study Wednesday, January 25, 5:30 p.m., Waterloo Stratford Campus.

Surplus sale of furniture and equipment, Thursday, January 26, 12:30 to 2:00, East Campus Hall.

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