Thursday, December 1, 2016

Meet Ariel, the University's new pension system

A message from Human Resources

Human Resources is pleased to announce that the University of Waterloo has implemented a new pension administration system, licensed by Morneau Shepell and called Ariel, effective November 1, 2016. This system was selected through a competitive bidding process and implemented with the approval and oversight of the Pension and Benefits Committee, and demonstrates the University’s long-term commitment to the ongoing management and administration of the pension plan.

Ariel provides HR’s Pension Services team with enhanced functionality to support more automated, accurate and efficient administration of the University’s defined benefit pension plan, and superior data integration with the University’s HR system. The previous pension system required several manual workarounds, checks, and balances by the Pension Services team to deliver accurate administration of the pension plan.

Starting today, plan members have access to an improved myPENSIONinfo portal with a more user-friendly interface, the ability to view beneficiary designation(s) and access annual pension statements, and use of an enhanced tool to run estimated pension projections. Similar to the previous tool, you need to sign into the portal through the myPENSIONinfo link on the Human Resources website with your WatIAM identification and password; this ensures your information is kept private and confidential and can only be viewed by you. Pensioners and former employees who left their pension in the UW plan also have access, and HR will provide information to these individuals in the new year.

The HR Pension Services team is offering Lunch & Learn sessions  for employees to learn how to use the enhanced functionality in myPENSIONinfo. View the registration dates and sign-up for a Lunch & Learn session.

The new myPENSIONinfo portal can be accessed from the Human Resources website. If you have any questions about this new system or any other pension related questions, please contact

Exchange student photo contest winner named

Multicoloured leaves on grass.

First place photo from Shi Chun Goh of the National University of Singapore

by Jessica Barch

Waterloo International and the Student Success Office hosted an exchange student photo contest during the month of November for students who are currently on exchange here at the University of Waterloo. Students were asked to send in photos of their experiences in Waterloo to showcase their unique adventures on campus and in Canada.

The top five photos were selected from over forty wonderful submissions, and it was difficult to choose just five.  Last week students voted for their favourite of the top five photos in person and on the UWaterloo Life Facebook page, to crown Shi Chun Goh, of the National University of Singapore, the winner.

To see the top five photos and read about the inspirations behind them, make sure to check out the UWaterloo Life blog or the UWaterloo Life Facebook page.  

Researchers get green light to take autonomous car on the road

The Autonomoose autonomous car.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo will help move fully autonomous vehicles much closer to reality now that they are the first to receive approval to test their innovations on all public roads in Ontario.

In a first for Canada, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, the Honourable Steven Del Duca, announced Monday that the province approved Waterloo’s three-year autonomous vehicle research program, under its AV pilot initiative. The Waterloo team is using a Lincoln MKZ hybrid sedan nicknamed Autonomoose.

“This is a direction in automotive engineering innovation that are we are proud to lead in Canada, and we applaud the Government of Ontario for their foresight,” said Dean of Engineering Pearl Sullivan. “As Canada’s strongest research team in connected and autonomous vehicles, with engineering and computer science professors working in areas from embedded sensors, to advanced controls to artificial intelligence, we are very excited about this new frontier for piloting Waterloo innovations.”

Fully connected to the Internet and featuring powerful computers to process and analyze data in real time, the test car includes technologies such as radar, sonar and lidar, as well as both inertial and vision sensors. A researcher will always be behind the wheel and ready to assume control at all times. The vehicle currently operates with some degree of self-driving capabilities, combining features such as adaptive cruise control to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles without intervention by the driver.

The goal of the research team, which includes nine professors working under the umbrella of the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR), is to progressively add more automated features. Specific aims of the Waterloo project include improving automated driving in challenging Canadian weather conditions, further optimizing fuel efficiency to reduce emissions, and designing new computer-based controls. The researchers will test the vehicle everywhere from city streets to divided highways as they add and fine-tune new capabilities.

“The ability to take this research work to the next level while safely testing on all kinds of roads in Ontario represents a significant leap forward in this field,” said Krzysztof Czarnecki, a lead researcher and professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Cheriton School of Computer Science. “We are very honoured to be part of this initiative and appreciate the province’s leadership in this exciting area of technology.”  

Initial industry partners in the project include AutonomouStuff, vendor of automated driving research development vehicles, and NVIDIA, manufacturer of an AI computer system known as Drive PX.

BlackBerry QNX and Erwin Hymer Group, the Kitchener-based manufacturer of Roadtrek motorhomes, also received approval to test automated vehicles on Ontario roads under the pilot project.

Thursday's notes

Human Resources would like to acknowledge that the following position should have been included in Wednesday’s Positions Available list. We apologize for the error.

  • Job ID# 2016-1307 – Development Officer – Dean of Math Office, USG 9-11

Human Resources is reporting that Professor Michael Bennett died on November 17. Professor Bennett began his career at Waterloo in September 1968 as Assistant Professor in Statistics and Actuarial Science. He achieved Associate Professor in July 1971 and Tenure in July 1973. Professor Bennett retired under the Special Early Retirement Program in July 1996.  He is survived by his spouse, June Whalen Piitz.

Retiree William A. Ross died on November 25. Bill started working at the University in December 1990 and worked as a Custodian in Plant Operations prior to retiring in May 2006.  Bill is survived by his spouse, Pauline.

Calling all moms: Waterloo's Child and Adolescent Neuropsychology Lab, located in the Psychology department, is looking for participants for a study that aims to better understand how the behaviours of parents and children can impact family life. The lab is looking for mothers and children aged 8-17 to participate in the study, which has 2 parts and involves the completion of questionnaires at home and tasks in the lab. Participants will be compensated for participation in both parts of the study. For more information contact the lab at or by calling extension 32053.

Getting feedback is essential to improving your writing skills. The French Writing Centre (Centre d'aide à la rédaction or CAR) offers one-on-one drop-in sessions with trained consultants (who are also graduate students in the French department) who will work with you to improve your capacity to plan, write and revise your French assignments. "Undergraduate students are invited to visit us during our hours of operation," says a statement from CAR. "We are located on the third floor of Modern Languages in the Department of French Studies. À bientôt!"

Link of the day

World AIDS Day

When and where

Retail Services Book Store pop-up sale, Monday, November 28 and Tuesday, November 29, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Wednesday, November 30 to Friday, December 2, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., South Campus Hall. Save 25 percent on new titles and gift items.

University Club Christmas Lunch Buffet, Monday, November 28 to Friday, December 23, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

Velocity Fund Finals, Thursday, December 1, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

WaterTalks lecture series featuring Richard Luthy, Stanford University, “Urban Water Supply Re-invention for Dry Cities,” Thursday, December 1, 1:30 p.m., DC 1304. Note: this event has been cancelled.

CrySP Speaker Series featuring David Murakami Wood, Queen’s University, “Hack the Planet! From phone phreaking to subverting planetary infrastructures,” Thursday, December 1, 2:30 p.m., MC 5501.

Orchestra@uwaterloo presents "Farewell, Maestro," Thursday, December 1, 8:00 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

PhysiXX: Girls Matter, Saturday, December 3, 9:00 a.m., Science Teaching Complex.

UW A Cappella Club End of Term Concerts, Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3, 7:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages.

University Choir concert,“Classical Roots,” Saturday, December 3, 7:30 p.m., St. John’s Lutheran Church, 22 Willow Street, Waterloo.

Jazz Ensemble concert, Sunday, December 4, 2:00 p.m., Conrad Grebel Great Hall.

Instrumental Chamber Ensembles, Sunday, December 4 and Monday, December 5, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College.

Lectures end, Monday, December 5.

Animal Studies and the Voice of the Other, Monday, December 5, 5:30 p.m., HH 1108.

Pre-examination study days, Tuesday, December 6 and Wednesday, December 7.

WatITis conference, Tuesday, December 6, Science Teaching Complex.

Faculty Association Fall General Meeting, Tuesday, December 6, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., MC 4020. Lunch provided.

GreenHouse Social Impact Showcase, Tuesday, December 6, 4:00 p.m., St. Paul’s Alumni Hall.

Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) Program Webinar, Tuesday, December 6, 5:30 p.m.

Women in Math present "Responding to Disrespectful Communications," Wednesday, December 7, 12:00 p.m., MC 5501. 

The Library presents Copyright & Licensing for Teaching, Wednesday, December 7, 12:00 p.m., DC 1568.

Faculty Association Town Hall Meeting for Lecturers, Wednesday, December 7, 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., STC 0010.

Cognitive Science Confessions: My biggest research mistakes, Wednesday, December 7, 3:00 p.m. to 5:20 p.m., HH 1102.

Retirement reception for May Yan, Wednesday, December 7, 4:00 p.m., Book Store.

Examination period, Thursday, December 8 to Thursday, December 22.

Becoming a better man - Working to end gender-based violence, Thursday, December 8, 9:30 a.m., Renison University College.

Online examination days, Friday, December 9 and Saturday, December 10.

The Office of Research will be closed on Friday, December 9, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., for its annual holiday lunch.

Retirement celebration for Janet Metz of CECA, Friday, December 9, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., TC 2218.

Workshop: Strategies and Stories of Resilience and Transformation, Sunday, December 11, 2:00 p.m., Dunker Family Lounge, Renison University College.

German Studies Forum 2016, hosted by the Waterloo Centre for German Studies. Monday, December 12, 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Registration required.

Deadline for students to be "Fees Arranged," Tuesday, December 13.

WISE Lecture Series featuring Daniela Roeper, Borealis Wind, “Experimental and Computational Optimization of a Wind Turbine Blade De-Icing System,” Tuesday, December 13, 10:30 a.m., CPH 4333.

Gender and Equity Scholarship Series featuring Madhur Anand, “A Sample Size of None: Creating Your Own Career Path,” Tuesday, December 13, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., MC 5501.

University Club Christmas Dinner Buffet, Wednesday, December 14, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., University Club.

Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) Program Webinar, Tuesday, December 20, 10:30 a.m.

Waterloo Women's Wednesdays: Holiday Luncheon, Tuesday, December 20, 12:00 p.m., University Club.

Holiday season closure, Saturday, December 24 to Monday, January 2. Most university buildings and services closed.