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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

For ridesharing success, carpoolers should click

Ensuring that would-be carpoolers are riding with people they actually like could potentially decrease car use by nearly 60 per cent, research from a professor at the University of Waterloo has found.

The research, recently published in Transportation Research Part C, used social media analytics, algorithms and computer simulation to match would-be carpoolers with people driving to work.

“Usually carpooling is about just matching people depending on geographical location and time of schedule,” said Bissan Ghaddar, professor of management engineering at Waterloo and author of the study. “We wanted to include the social aspect into the equation, because it’s always awkward when there is silence in the car, especially if it’s a long commute.”

“We believed that we really needed to look at the social aspect, and our initial data analysis agreed with us.”

In compiling the study, Ghaddar worked with colleagues at IBM and two universities in Italy to analyze the Twitter feeds of potential carpoolers, looking for insights into their personal interests.

They then examined the users’ social circles to see if they followed like-minded friends or sought out people with different views and fed that information into a computer algorithm designed to match carpoolers based on their geo-tagged location, time preferences as well as their personalities.

As a final step, they simulated the impact of their matchmaking using real-world data from Rome and San Francisco. They found that if carpoolers are compatible, people’s satisfaction significantly increased and car use dropped by 57 per cent in the Rome and by 40 per cent in San Francisco.

“This could be a system that could put a dent in gridlock, reduce pollution and make commuting to work more enjoyable,” said Ghaddar. “As a carpooler myself, I can’t overestimate the importance of compatibility.”

Velocity Fund finalists named

A woman presents at the Velocity Fund finals.

On Thursday, July 20, twenty students will pitch startup ideas at the Velocity Fund Finals for a chance to win their share of $125,000 in prize money.

The first 200 audience attendees will receive free boxed lunches as part of the event, and, alongside those watching the live stream, attendees will have the chance to win one of 5 VR headsets.

The $5K finalists include:

  • Busboy, an ad tech company that specializes in completing the online-to-offline conversion cycle;
  • ExoMuscle, who provides smart sensing joint sleeves for enhanced athletic performance and recovery;
  • GrowXY, an indoor vertical farming company that provides fresh food stability in an unstable world;
  • HALo, which works to provide manual wheelchair users with accessible solutions to motorize their wheelchairs;
  • Intelline, which is developing inexpensive and reliable cryocooling to enable the technologies of the future;
  • QuantWave, which provides faster, cheaper, and simpler pathogen detection for drinking water and food suppliers;
  • SheLeads, a story-based game that helps girls realize their unlimited leadership potential;
  • Sienci Labs, which builds CNC machines to help makers turn their digital designs into real physical products;
  • StartSpeak, which combines traditional wisdom with modern tech to help students develop their public speaking skills; and
  • StarterHacks, who is working towards a more inclusive and collaborative hackathon culture for beginners.

The $25K finalists include:

  • Altius Analytics Lab, a health tech startup that helps occupational groups better manage musculoskeletal injuries;
  • Babylon VR, a startup building a SAAS platform that allows anyone to create interactive VR content in minutes and share it on the web;
  • Chasr Athletics, who builds smart athletic training systems that help coaches and teams to optimize their training techniques;
  • Dynalist, a painless way to organize all your notes;
  • EPOCH, a skills and services marketplace that connects refugees and community members, using time as a means of exchange;
  • Innovative Protein Technologies, a biotechnology company dedicated to developing eco-friendly crop protection products. Their first product, Frost Armour, protects crops against frost damage during the spring growing season;
  • NanoCnet, the developer of Nanosilvex, a highly flexible, conductive, and cost effective nanomaterial for use in conductive thin films, a key component of touch panels, displays, and wearable electronics;
  • Tricolops, which saves online retailers time and money through a seamless platform for dimensioning, packing, and shipping;
  •  Vena Medical, who makes navigating through arteries faster, easier, and safer by providing physicians with a camera that sees through blood; and
  • VivaSpire, who makes lightweight wearable machines that purify oxygen from the air, without the need for high pressure. 

You can register to attend online.

Professor named to Fastcase 50; other notes

Research Professor Maura GrossmanResearch Professor Maura Grossman has been named one of Fastcase's 50 for 2017. Grossman, a professor, author and lawyer, is a faculty member in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science.

The Fastcase 50 award "honors a diverse group of lawyers, legal technologists, policymakers, judges, law librarians, bar association executives, and people from all walks of life," says a statement from Fastcase, a legal publisher who has been handing out the award since 2011. "The Fastcase 50 has spotlighted and applauded the most fascinating trailblazers and architects of the future of law and legal technology."

"Grossman is an expert in technology-assisted review (TAR), having written two seminal papers on the use of supervised machine learning for electronic discovery," says the award citation. "Maura used her background as a clinical psychologist and as a lawyer at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to demonstrate that TAR can help attorneys do e-discovery faster, cheaper, and more accurately than manual review. Her 2011 paper, “Technology-Assisted Review in E-Discovery Can Be More Effective and More Efficient Than Exhaustive Manual Review,” established one of the first benchmarks comparing TAR to human review. Her 2014 paper, “Evaluation of Machine-Learning Protocols for Technology-Assisted Review in Electronic Discovery,” demonstrated that continuous active learning (CAL)—a method she developed with Gordon V. Cormack—was the most effective method for TAR. Maura has laid the foundation for more effective, more efficient, and less expensive document review for lawyers, and for the use of AI in the delivery of legal services as well."

Grossman and the other award recipients will be celebrated during the 2017 American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Annual Meeting taking place from July 15 to 18 in Austin, Texas.

The Library will extend its hours for the exam period starting Sunday, July 23 to Friday, August 11.

The Davis Centre Library will be open 24 hours except Sundays (closed Sundays from 2:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.). On the last day of extended hours, August 11, Davis Centre Library will close at midnight.

The Dana Porter Library will be open regular hours Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

  • Service desks and related services will be closed at regular times (Porter at 11:00 p.m. and Davis at midnight).
  • Attendants will be present at Davis Centre Library for security purposes. Attendants will also monitor for noise, cell phone use, and hot foods, which are not permitted in the Library.

Looking ahead to the civic holiday on Monday, August 7, the Davis Centre will be open 24 hours, Dana Porter will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and the circulation desks will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Radix Trading is on campus next week hosting an employer information session. Visit the employer information sessions calendar for more details.

Arts Undergraduate Office closure

The Arts Undergraduate Office will be closed Wednesday afternoon from 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Link of the day

Henry David Thoreau at 200

When and where

Science 101, Wednesday, July 12, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The University Club presents Christmas in July, Wednesday, July 12, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

PhD seminar, Artificial intelligence and machine learning, “Sample-efficient learning of mixtures,” Hassan Ashtiani, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Wednesday, July 12, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., DC 3317.

Eco-Summit: Building Foundations, Wednesday, July 12, 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., St. Paul’s Alumni Hall.

Coping Skills Seminar: Cultivating Resiliency, Wednesday, July 12, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Information Session for Graduating Students -undergraduate and graduate students only, July 12, 4:30 p.m., TBD.

Velocity Start: The Startup Rollercoaster, “Panel of entrepreneurs talking about the mistakes made during the startup journey,” Wednesday, July 12, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

UW Farm Market, Thursday, July 13, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Lower Atrium.

Information Session for Graduating Students -undergraduate and graduate students only, July 13, 11:30 a.m., TBD

Interviews: Proving Your Skills, July 13, 12:30 p.m., TC - William M. Tatham Centre room 1208

Grammar Studio Series, Thursday, July 13, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

More Feet on the Ground Mental Health Training, Thursday, July 13, 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Counselling Services.

Work Search Strategies, Friday, July 14, 10:30 a.m., TC - William M. Tatham Centre room 1208.

Understanding and Overcoming Depression and Anxiety, UW Recreation Committee, Friday, July 14, 2017, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., DC 1302.

Conrad Grebel Concert – University Choir, “Island Music,” Saturday, July 15, 7:30 p.m., Cedars Worship Centre, Waterloo.

The Hymn Society Annual Conference 2017, Sunday, July 16 to Thursday, July 20, Conrad Grebel University College.

Arts 101, Monday, July 17, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Test Preparation & Test Anxiety, Monday, July 17, 3:00 p.m., SCH 108A.

Conversation Café, Monday, July 17, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., SCH 219.

Weight Watchers at Waterloo Summer Session info and sign-up, Tuesday, July 18, 12:00 p.m., HH 373. Contact for more information.

Coping Skills Seminar – Strengthening Motivation, Tuesday, July 18, 4:00 p.m., HS 2302.

Calming the Panic: Practical Skills to Reduce Anxiety, Wednesday, July 19, 2:30 p.m., Counselling Services.

NEW - PhD seminar, “Nonphotorealistic rendering of stereoscopic 3D media,” Lesley Istead, PhD candidate, Wednesday, July 19, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., DC 2314.

Organize your time for midterms and exams, Wednesday, July 19, 4:30 p.m., SCH 108A.

Banting postdoctoral fellowship final application deadline at Waterloo, Wednesday, July 19, 8:00 p.m.

Math 101, Thursday, July 20, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

UW Farm Market, Thursday, July 20, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Lower Atrium.

Velocity Fund Finals, “20 startups compete for $125,000,” Thursday, July 20, 11:00 a.m., SLC Great Hall.

PhD seminarDeep active learning for dialogue generation,” Nabiha Asghar, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Friday, July 21, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., DC 2306C.

Waterloop Pod Launch event, Friday, July 21, 3:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

UW A Cappella Club end of term concerts, Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22, 7:30 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

Conrad Grebel Concert, Instrumental Chamber Ensembles, Sunday, July 23, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

The University Club presents Lobsterlicious, Monday, July 24 to Friday, July 28, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

Conversation Café, Monday, July 24, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., SCH 219.

Getting Published for Grad Students, Wednesday, July 26, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Exploring Your Personality Type: (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), Wednesday, July 26, 12:00 p.m., TC 1113.

CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy, “Making security sustainable,” Ross Anderson, University of Cambridge, Wednesday, July 26, 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., DC 1304.

Social Impact Showcase, Thursday, July 27, 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., St. Paul's Alumni Hall. All welcome! Register here.

Conrad Grebel Peace Camp, Monday, July 31 to Friday, August 4.

Conversation Café, Monday, July 31, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., SCH 219.

Employee-Explore your personality type: Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Wednesday, August 2, TC 1113 - Please note, you must sign up for the session on July 26 as this is a follow up session to that one.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable on the UWaterloo Talent Acquisition System (iCIMS):

  • Job ID# 2017-1617 - Advisor, Housing Services- Housing & Residences, USG 5
  • Job ID# - 2017-1702 - Chemistry Stores Sales and Inventory Coordinator - Chemistry, USG 5
  • Job ID# - 2017-1620 -Coordinator, Occupancy and Data - Housing & Residence, USG 7
  • Job ID# - 2017-1623 - Coordinator, Residence Ambassadors - Housing & Residences, USG 5
  • Job ID# - 2017-1717           Director of Advancement - Dean of Math Office, USG 15
  • Job ID# - 2017-1770           Employment Relations - Student Advisor - Coop Education & Career Action, USG 8-9
  • Job ID# - 2017-1703 - Laboratory Supply and Solvent Specialist -Chemistry, USG 5
  • Job ID# - 2017-1774 - Records Assistant - Registrar, USG 5-7
  • Job ID#- 2017-1776 - Room Booking Coordinator - Coop Education & Career Action, USG 7
  • Job ID#- 2017-1633 - Specialist, Communications - Housing & Residences, USG 8
  • Job ID# - 2017-1625 -          Specialist, Digital Design - Housing & Residences, USG 8

Internal secondment opportunities:

  • Job ID# 2017-1754 - Admissions Coordinator -Registrar, USG 7