Thursday, August 24, 2017

A byte-sized history of computing at Waterloo

The IBM 360/75 mainframe computer.

by Jonathon Jackson. This is an excerpt of an article published in the Innovation 60 blog as part of the University of Waterloo's 60th anniversary.

The David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science is one of Waterloo’s greatest advancements and this year marks its 50th year of innovation and change to the world. What started with the construction of a new building, also jump started a new faculty and a positive change to the world; one that was unexpected by academics like Don Cowan, Wes Graham and many more. This contribution has sparked a ripple effect of success throughout the past 50 years, and will definitely continue in the years to come.

The IBM 360/75, the most powerful computer in Canada 50 years ago ,  the same model of computer that NASA would use to send astronauts to the Moon, was acquired and installed in the building that would house the University of Waterloo’s new Faculty of Mathematics, the Mathematics and Computer building (MC)

The Ontario government was funding 90 per cent of the cost of the Mathematics and Computer (MC), which the included furnishings for the building. Don Cowan and his colleague, the late Wes Graham, put in the proposal for the IBM 360/75 claiming it was a furnishing for the new building, which then was approved.

It was that sort of outside-the-box thinking that helped put Waterloo and its fledgling Department of Computer Science on the map. There was now a $5-million building with $8 million worth of furniture located on campus.

Ralph Stanton, the first Chair of Mathematics at Waterloo, had big plans from the moment he arrived from the University of Toronto. Eventually those dreams would culminate with the separation of Mathematics into its own stand-alone faculty in 1967.Stanton’s vision always included computers at the center of the Faculty of Mathematics, and he hired bright young people to help bring his vision to fruition. One of those people was Wes Graham, whom Stanton had taught. Successfully, Graham, along with Cowan, helped Stanton’s vision come true as he brought the IBM 360/75 into the center of MC, into the famous Red Room. Graham is regarded today as the Father of Computing at Waterloo and served as the first Director of the University’s Computing Centre.

Read the rest of the article on the Innovation 60 blog.

Confronting the monumental misdirection of Confederate statues

A pair of advertisements placed following the Civil War, as African Americans sought to locate family lost through slavery.

Two examples of advertisements placed following the Civil War, as African Americans sought to locate family lost through slavery.

A recent post on the English Language and Literature blog Words in Place has become one of the most-read entries yet this year.

On Confederate Monuments and American Literature was written by Associate Professor Jennifer Harris of English Language and Literature. 

"Like many people, the past few days I have found myself explaining things that I thought didn’t require explanation," writes Professor Harris, whose research areas include late eighteenth and nineteenth-century American literature and African American literature. "Among these things is that Confederate statues are not war memorials as generally understood, but monuments intended to memorialize and romanticize the Confederacy, a nation explicitly founded to defend the right of whites to enslave black children, women, and men. We take it for granted that statuary of Nazi military leaders from the war years are better suited to museums than public squares; but statues of leaders of armies mustered to preserve slavery are somehow treated differently."

Professor Harris contrasts the mythology of the Confederacy as symbolized by these statues, many of which were erected during the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras, with the very real narratives published in the late 19th Century "by those formerly enslaved, in which they recount portions of their experiences of slavery...The full-length narratives most commonly taught are by Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass, and sit firmly within the canon of American Literature."

Read the full post on the Words in Place blog.

Keep the 60th spirit alive this fall!

60th Anniversary wall header showing campus in 1957 and today

Thank you to all campus partners who have showcased this milestone so far in 2017.  Many have hosted special 60th celebrations or included the 60th in some way in an existing activity, celebrating this special year with our campus and external community.

As we head towards a busy fall season, we encourage campus to continue to keep the celebration going.  Some simple ways to include the 60th in your events and activities:

To discuss partnership opportunities, contact Kelly McManus, Senior Director, Community Relations & Events.

UW Fitness programs for faculty and staff

A message from UW Fitness.

Are you looking to get more exercise in 2017? Did you know you can exercise in a private gym under the supervision of certified trainers right here on campus? Did you know that Waterloo staff can get a 50 percent discount on these services?

UW Fitness is offering Waterloo staff and faculty several specialized once weekly small group exercise programs in addition to our regular twice weekly small group personal training. Thanks to funding from the UW Staff Association’s Staff Excellence Fund, Waterloo staff receive a 50 percent discount on all fitness program registrations (includes "Learn To" programs and Small Group Personal Training). Take advantage of the private on campus facility under the guidance of our certified staff.  

Please see our website for more details and scheduling. Click on “Learn To program” in the right side bar. This will take you to info on Small Group Personal Training and Learn To programs.

Email to register or call ext. 36841 for more information. Spaces are limited and new programs are starting soon so sign up ASAP.

Link of the day

Voyager spacecraft still voyaging after 40 years

When and where

Ontario Mennonite Music CampSunday, August 13 to Friday, August 25, Conrad Grebel University College. 

Deadline for students to get “Fees Arranged,” Wednesday, August 23.

PhD Seminar featuring Kathryn Jastremski, Thursday August 24, 12:00 p.m., EV2-2022.

10th Annual St. Paul's Golf Tournament, Friday, August 25, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Glen Eagle Golf Club.

Fall Orientation, Sunday, September 3 to Saturday, September 9.

Fall Move-in begins, Sunday, September 3.

Labour Day, most University services and buildings closed, Monday, September 4.

Co-operative work term begins, Tuesday, September 5.

LGBTQ+ Making Spaces workshop, Tuesday, September 5, 12:30 p.m., NH 3318. Please register- Seating is limited.

WaterTalk: Data instead of concrete? Exploring the potential of digitalization in urban drainage, featuring Professor Max Maurer, Tuesday, September 5, 2:30 p.m., DC 1302.

Lectures begin, Thursday, September 7.

UWaterloo Music Ensembles auditions begin, Thursday, September 7.

The Role of Water Technology Innovation in the Blue Economy: Elsevier's International Water Research Conference hosted by the Water Institute, Wednesday, September 10-13, Crowne Plaza in Kitchener.

Feds Welcome Week, Monday, September 11 to Friday, September 15.

President and Senior Staff Luncheon, Monday, September 11, 12:00 p.m., Davis Centre Quad.

The Water Institute RBC Distinguished Lecture 2017 featuring Quentin Grafton, “Innovation, Incentives and Infrastructure in the Blue Economy,” Monday, September 11, 3:40 p.m., Crowne Plaza Grand Ballroom, Kitchener.

Writing Centre presents STEM Lab Reports: improve your lab report writing, Tuesday, September 12, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Writing and Communication Centre presents Getting it done: Productive writing strategies for big projects, Wednesday, September 13, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

GTFO: Film Screening and Discussion, Wednesday, September 13, 4:00 p.m., QNC 0101.

Waterloo Innovation Summit - Hacking the Future, Thursday, September 14 and Friday, September 15.

Deadline to submit nominations for the President's Community Impact Awards, Friday, September 15.

WaterTalk: Emerging Outcomes From a Cross-Disciplinary Doctoral Programme on Water Resource Systems, Friday, September 15, 2:30 p.m., DC 1302.

Doors Open Waterloo Region, Saturday, September 16. 

Doors Open: Free Talk- 60 Years at Waterloo: Perspectives of a University from a Corn Field to Architectural Traditions, Saturday, September 16, 1:00 p.m., Library Flex Lab.

Doors Open Waterloo Region Free Talk: Attractors, Saturday, September 16, 2:00 p.m., School of Pharmacy.

Noon Hour Concerts: A Journey to Romantic Vienna, September 20, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College – Chapel.