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Tuesday, February 4, 2014



  • Image expert wins Steacie fellowship...
  • ...while auto researcher gets a Synergy award
  • Going digital to end poverty and other notes



Professor Wang and a student.
Image expert wins Steacie fellowship...

A University of Waterloo professor is the recipient of an E.W.R Steacie Memorial Fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for his work to understand how people view the quality of images and videos.

Zhou Wang.Professor Zhou Wang (right) leads a research team that is developing next-generation ways to measure and improve the visual experience for a variety of multi-media applications. Wang’s work is helping to understand how we view the quality of video on demand, HDTV, 3DTV, Internet television and wireless video services, as well as the imagery in the medical, entertainment and education industries. 

Over the past decade Professor Wang has developed the standard for objectively measuring image quality, called Structural SIMilarity (SSIM) index.  Companies such as Cisco, Motorola, Ericsson AT&T and NBC rely on the SSIM method to deliver products and services with the best possible perceptual quality to hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide.

Professor Wang is one of six fellowship winners to receive a research grant of $250,000 over two years. He plans to use his grant funding to extend his research into the field of visual quality-of-experience.

“One of our goals is to develop a flexible multi-dimensional assessment framework that closely reflects the experiences of the end user,” Wang explains. “Our research can subsequently be used to guide the design and optimization of a wide range of network visual communication products and services.”

“Zhou Wang is a world-renowned researcher known for his ground-breaking accomplishments in perceptual image and video quality assessment and has become one of the most frequently cited authors in this area,” said Pearl Sullivan, Dean of Engineering at Waterloo. “The Steacie Memorial Fellowship will allow him to further his excellence as a researcher and establish a global leadership position for the University of Waterloo and Canada in image processing.”

Professor Wang is a member of the IEEE Multimedia Signal Processing Technical Committee, which promotes the advancement of multimedia signal processing technologies throughout the world.

NSERC’s E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships honour the memory of Edgar William Richard Steacie, an outstanding chemist and research leader who made major contributions to the development of science in Canada during, and immediately following, World War II. NSERC presents this respected award to promising young researchers whose work has the potential for major impact.


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John McPhee and students examine an engine.
...while auto researcher gets a Synergy award

by Yvonne Hunter.

The University of Waterloo, Maplesoft, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada are the recipients of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Synergy Award for Innovation, which recognizes their success in collaborating on the model-based design and control of automotive systems that improve vehicle safety and comfort while reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

John McPhee.The $200,000 award was presented to Professor John McPhee (left), Professor of Systems Design Engineering and Industrial Research Chair in Mathematics-based Modelling and Design at the University of Waterloo and one of Canada’s leading experts in vehicle design, modelling, and simulation. 

“I am honoured to be part of a partnership that has the power to achieve enormous impacts on Canada’s information technology and automotive manufacturing sectors, delivering new software and safer, more energy-efficient vehicles to Canadian consumers,” said Professor McPhee.

MapleSim, a software platform developed in collaboration with Professor McPhee and his team of University of Waterloo researchers, enables design engineers to accurately model and simulate the impact of individual components on overall performance. This advanced simulation capability shortens the design cycle and improves product quality, two essential outcomes for technology developers, component manufacturers and assemblers in the rapidly-growing development of green vehicles.

Supplying application-side expertise as an end user, Toyota has provided technical support and experimental assistance throughout the collaboration.  As a result, MapleSim is a more powerful software platform that Toyota now utilizes as part of their advanced engineering design process.

“The quality of the research collaboration between Professor McPhee, Maplesoft, and Toyota and the resulting commercial impacts are unquestionably world-class,” said Pearl Sullivan, Dean of Engineering. “The outstanding training opportunities provided by this program and the prodigious level of scholarly output from this three-way partnership are clear indicators of research excellence.”

With a commercialization pathway that allows Maplesoft to take advantage of the University’s unique “inventor owns it” intellectual property policy, Professor McPhee, Toyota, and Maplesoft have been able to work as an integrated unit.

“This long and productive relationship with Professor McPhee, strengthened by our collaborative partnership with Toyota, has given our company a significant competitive advantage in green vehicle development, arguably the most significant trend in the history of automotive technology.” said Jim Cooper, President and CEO, Maplesoft.

“The fresh insight into problem-solving gained through this integrated research has allowed us to set a global benchmark for this type of scientific approach,” said Ray Tanguay, Chairman of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. “Increased production of green vehicles such as the hybrid Lexus will minimize harmful emissions and fuel consumption resulting in environmental benefits to Canada.”

The NSERC Synergy Awards for Innovation annually recognize examples of collaboration that stand as a model of effective partnership between industry and colleges or universities.


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Going digital to end poverty and other notes

St. Paul's University College is hosting Penny Goldsmith, founder and CEO of PovNet, an online anti-poverty community that "leverages the power of passionate people to make poverty history." Goldsmith, who is on campus this week, is the inaugural Carold Institute Visiting Fellow. The Carold institute Visiting Fellow program brings to campus former or current Alan Thomas Fellows of the Carold Institute to engage with students, faculty, and the public on social innovation. Fellows spend a week on campus, during which they will give a public lecture, lead classroom discussions, and meet with students and faculty. Goldsmith's public lecture on Wednesday will focus on how digital activism can help make poverty history.

Goldsmith's public presentation takes place on Wednesday, February 5 at 7:30 p.m. in STP 201. The lecture is free but registration is encouraged.

A stylized horse showing the year 2014 on its flank.The University of Waterloo Chinese Student and Scholar Association will be holding its annual gala at the Humanities Theatre on Sunday, February 9 at 7:00 p.m. The annual New Year celebration will include drama, magic shows, singing, dancing, and performances featuring traditional instruments. Many members of the university community have already begun to celebrate the Year of the Horse, with Environment and Arts students in the 2+2 program celebrating on January 29 with dumplings, red pockets with chocolate and traditional Chinese snacks, and the 2+2 science students enjoyed a buffet feast on January 25.

The Waterloo Store in South Campus Hall is running its Winter Warm-Up sale this week until Friday, February 7. Select uWaterloo-branded mugs and thermal flasks are up to 40 per cent off.

The Waterloo Turkish Student Association is offering Turkish language classes for beginners starting Thursday, February 6 and on Thursdays thereafter. The classes will be held in RCH 106. Send an email for more details.

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Link of the day

10 years of likes and pokes

When and where

Retail Services Winter Warm-up Sale, Monday, February 3 to Friday, February 7, Waterloo Store, SCH.

Board of Governors meeting, Tuesday, February 4, 1:30 p.m., NH 3001.

Renison presents "Dying to be thin: Kadi's Journey," Tuesday, February 4, 12:00 p.m., Renison Great Hall Extension. Details.

WatRISQ seminar featuring Ivan Sergienko, Director, CCR Measurement, Risk & Capital Analytics, Scotiabank, "Counterparty Credit Risk in Financial Institutions," Tuesday, February 4, 4:00 p.m., DC 1304.

Partners 4 Employment Job Fair, Wednesday, February 5, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., RIM Park. Details.

UW Recreation Committee presents Sharon Roberts, assistant professor of sociology, Renison University College and Vice-President of the Eating Disorders Foundation of Canada, "The “I” in Diet: Selling you Thin, Wednesday, February 5, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., MC 5158.

Cheriton School of Computer Science Lecture featuring Florin Ciucu, University of Warwick, UK, "Network Calculus: An Inconvenient Truth and New Perspectives," Wednesday, February 5, 3:00 p.m., DC 1304.

Fine Arts Life Drawing Open Session, Wednesday, February 5, 6:30 p.m., ECH 1224A. Details.

Wednesday Night Discussion Group, Wednesday, February 5, 7:15 p.m., MC 5136. Details.

St. Paul's presents Penny Goldsmith, founder, PovNet, "How Digital Activism Can Help Make Poverty History," Wednesday, February 5, 7:30 p.m., STP 201.

Arriscraft Lecture featuring Susan Zielinski, "The Whole Enchilada: A Systems Approach to Transportation Transformation," Thursday, February 6, 6:45 p.m., Cummings Lecture Hall, School of Architecture, Cambridge. Details.

FASS 2014, Thursday, February 6, 8:00 p.m., Friday, February 7, 7:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., Saturday, February 8, 6:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

UpStart 14: Festival of Innovative Theatre, February 6, Friday, February 7, Thursday, February 13, and Friday, February 14 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, February 8 and Saturday, February 15 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., HH180. Details.

Distinguished Teacher Award nomination deadline Friday, February 7. Details.

Staff Relations Committee meeting, Friday, February 7, 1:00 p.m., NH 3001.

Research presentation by Joon Lee, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health and Health Systems, "Data Driven Healthcare," Friday, February 7, 1:00 p.m., BMH 1016.

Knowledge Integration seminar, Rob Gorbet, “Near-Living Architecture”, Friday February 7, 2:30 p.m., EV3 1408. Details.

Quantitative Biology Seminar, Madhur Anand, University Research Chair in Sustainability Science, Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph, "Coupling human and environment systems to enhance sustainability of mosaic ecosystems,"Friday, February 7, 3:30 p.m., B1 266. Coffee starts at 3:00 p.m. Co-hosted by Biology.

Iron Ring Ceremony, Saturday, February 8, beginning at 12:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

15th Annual Fantastic Alumni, Faculty and Staff Day, Saturday, February 8, 12:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex. Registration Details.

Loving to Learn Day submission deadline, Tuesday, February 11. Details.

Renison Alumni College dinner, Tuesday, February 11, 4:15 p.m., Renison Great Hall. Details.

WISE Public Lecture Series featuring Dr. Brenda Kenny, “Canadian Responsibility and the Energy Trilemma,” Wednesday, February 12, 6:00 p.m., E5 2004. Details.

Fine Arts Life Drawing Open Session, Wednesday, February 12, 6:30 p.m., ECH 1224A. Details.

Wednesday Night Discussion Group, Wednesday, February 12, 7:15 p.m., MC 5136. Details.

Arriscraft Lecture featuring John van Nostrand, Thursday, February 13, 6:45 p.m., Cummings Lecture Hall, School of Architecture, Cambridge. Details.

Conrad Grebel presents An Evening With Bruce Cockburn, Thursday, February 13, 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

The Keystone Campaign Presents: Treat-A-Gram. Friday, February 14. Details.

Loving to Learn Day, Friday, February 14. Details.

Amit and Meena Chakma Awards for Exceptional Teaching by a Student nomination deadline Friday, February 14. Details.

UW Rec Book Club, "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson, Wednesday, February 19, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., LIB 407.

Fine Arts Life Drawing Open Session, Wednesday, February 19, 6:30 p.m., ECH 1224A. Details.

Environmental Lecture Series featuring Sam Sidawi, Ontario Public Works Association, City of Burlington, "Sustainable Infrastructure in Ontario - What It Is and What It Means for Ontario's citizens," Wednesday, February 19, 7:00 p.m., Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment, Huntsville.

Wednesday Night Discussion Group, Wednesday, February 19, 7:15 p.m., MC 5136. Details.


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