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Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Waterloo magazine wonders "what's your problem?"

While everyone is looking for solutions to global challenges, the University of Waterloo is teaching students how to analyze problems – important problems.

The cover of the Spring issue of Waterloo Magazine, with the title "What's Your Problem?"The spring issue of Waterloo Magazine, called What's Your Problem? takes a look at how the University launched Canada's first Problem Lab, a place where you can learn to identify the right problems to create ventures that have significant social and economic impact in the world. Find out what the five steps are to identifying your killer problem in a feature story called A lab with no solutions?

You'll also read about how Pampa Dey, who grew up in a rural village in India, overcame obstacles to get her PhD in engineering and how she inspires girls to study science and engineering. Read about her journey in Sweet success.

The spring issue also brings us a feature about how Chris Hudson, a professor in the School of Optometry and Vision Science, is researching how the eye can help physicians diagnose Parkinson's disease — while battling the disease himself. Read more about it: In the fight of his life.

There are also profiles on four alumni who are making an impact in the world of renewable energy, children's cancer care, barrier-free cities and maternal health.

Retirees celebrated at reception

President Feridun Hamdullahpur and retirees stand for a group photo in Fed Hall.

The new Retiree Reception was held on Wednesday, May 9 in partnership with the University of Waterloo Retirees Association (UWRA).

More than 170 University retirees joined President Feridun Hamdullahpur and President of the University of Waterloo Retirees Association (UWRA) Alan George at the reception held in Federation Hall.

Existing retirees gathered to welcome and celebrate new retirees from the previous calendar year during the cocktail reception. Also included in the program were speaking remarks from Executive Director, Human Resources, Kenton Needham, and Co-Chair from the Keystone Campaign Tony Munro.

This new recognition event was based on feedback from employees and recent retirees and is part of a new pilot program that enhances the way the University recognizes the service of its faculty and staff. 

LITE grants awarded to innovative teaching projects

The Office of the Associate Vice President, Academic and the Centre for Teaching Excellence have announced the recipients of the latest round of Learning Innovation and Teaching Enhancement (LITE) seed grants:

Two rounds of seed grant funding are available each year, and the next annual deadline is fast approaching: June 1. 

Since 2012, 67 LITE seed grants of up to $5,000 have been awarded to instructors and staff investigating innovative approaches to enhancing teaching and fostering deep student learning at Waterloo. Recipients across campus have explored topics ranging from transcultural learning to ePortfolios, Communities of Practice to undergraduate teamwork development workshops, and more. 

For more information, you can explore the LITE Grant website, which includes application guidelines, descriptions of funded projects, and sample proposals. If you would like guidance on your project or feedback on your application, please contact Crystal Tse or Kristin Brown at the Centre for Teaching Excellence. 

WatRISQ takes a bite out of the Big Apple

Attendees at the WatRISQ lecture in New York.

by Nan Gao.

A seminar room at the Manhattan Institute of Management was filled with Math alumni and the other guests in New York on April 19 as the University of Waterloo partnered with Columbia University to host a special lecture event.

The enthusiastic audience attended the joint lecture series entitled Machine Learning & Sentiment Analysis in Finance for Statistical Arbitrage featuring remarks by Dr. Arun Verma of Bloomberg.

The event was co-hosted by the Waterloo Research Institute in Insurance, Security and Quantitative Finance (WatRISQ) and the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Department (IEOR) of Columbia University. 

Director of WatRISQ Professor Thomas Coleman welcomed guest speaker Dr. Arun Verma, Waterloo math alumni, and the other guests.

Dr. Arun Verma joined the Bloomberg Quantitative Research group in 2003. Prior to that, he earned his Ph.D from Cornell University. At Bloomberg, Mr. Verma’s work initially focused on Stochastic Volatility Models for Derivatives and Exotics pricing & hedging. More recently, he has enjoyed working at the intersection of diverse areas such as data science (with structured and unstructured data), innovative quantitative models across asset classes and machine learning methods to help reveal embedded signals in financial data.

In his talk, Professor Verma spoke about the high volume and time sensitivity/dependence of news and social media stories necessitating automated processing to extract actionable information; the unstructured nature of textual information presents challenges that are naturally addressed by machine-learning techniques. After the lecture, there was a lively Q&A period regarding the hot topic of machine learning and finance.

To view a recording of the event, please visit WatRISQ's website.

Link of the day

20 years ago: No Hugging, No Learning as Seinfeld signs off

When and where 

MFA Thesis Two, Thursday, May 3 to Saturday, May 19, East Campus Hall. 

More Feet on the Ground - Mental Health Training, Tuesday, May 15, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Needles Hall North 2447.

How to Start Your Own Business, Tuesday, May 15, 2:30 p.m., TC 2218.

Résumé Writing Tutorial (for 1st work term math students only), Tuesday, May 15, 4:30 p.m., MC 2054

Résumés, Careers and Personal Branding – Part 1, Tuesday, May 15, 5:00 p.m., TC 2218

Candidates Debate: Post-Secondary Education as a Provincial Priority, Wednesday, May 16, 10:00 a.m., Lazaridis Hall (LH1001), 75 University Avenue West.

UWRC Book Club featuring  "It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree," by A.J. Jacobs, Wednesday, May 16, 12:00 p.m., LIB 407.

Résumé Tips (for employees only), Wednesday, May 16, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., TC1208.

Copyright for Teaching, Wednesday, May 16, 12:00 p.m., DC 1568.

Developing Your Compassionate Mind, Wednesday, May 16, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Coping Skills Seminar - Cultivating Resiliency, Wednesday, May 16, 4:00 p.m.

Résumés, Careers and Personal Branding – Part 2, Wednesday, May 16, 5:00 p.m. TC 2218

Velocity Start: The Startup Rollercoaster, Wednesday, May 16, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

Say it in your own words: Paraphrase & summary for graduate students, Thursday, May 17, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 

Career Interest Assessment, Thursday, May 17, 10:30 a.m., TC 1112.

Architecture 50th Anniversary Lecture Series- Conversation 6, Thursday, May 17, 6:30 p.m., Laurence A. Cummings Lecture Theatre- School of Architecture.

Balinese Gamelan Ensemble, Friday, May 18 at 2:30 p.m., Waterloo Town Square. Free admission.

Victoria Day holiday, Monday, May 21, most university buildings and services closed.

The Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition applications close, Monday, May 21, 2018, at 11:59 p.m.

University Senate meeting, Tuesday, May 22, 3:30 p.m., NH 3407.

Coping Skills Seminar - Strengthening Motivation, Tuesday, May 22, 4:00 p.m.

Politics at The Pub: Student Meet & Greet with PC Candidate, Tuesday, May 22, 4:00 p.m., The Bombshelter Pub.

Mindfulness Meditation: A Stress Reduction Program, Tuesday, May 22, 5:00 p.m., Needles Hall North, NH 2447.

Games Institute Spring 2018 Game Jam LEARN event, Tuesday, May 22 and Thursday, May 24, 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Games Institute, EC1.

Technical Interview Workshop Presented by Scotiabank, "Cracking the Technical Interview", Tuesday, May 22, 5:30 p.m., E5 6004.

Velocity Start: What’s Your Problem?, Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

Clarity in scientific writing, Thursday, May 24, 10:00 a.m., online webinar.

WaterTalk featuring Ryan Walter, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, California Polytechnic State University, "What lies beneath: Internal waves in the nearshore coastal environment," Thursday, May 24, 2:30 p.m., DC 1302.

"India, Canada and Shastri India-Canadian Institute - A Canada-India Bridge for Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: New Funding Opportunities for Collaborative Educational and Research Activities with India," Friday, May 25, 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. DC 1302.

Games Institute Spring 2018 Game Jam MAKE event, Friday, May 25 to Sunday, May 27, QNC 1502, QNC 2502.

You @ Waterloo Day, Saturday, May 26.

Velocity Fund $25K and $5K applications open, Monday, May 28.

Undergraduate School on Experimental Quantum Information Processing (USEQIP), Monday, May 28 to Friday, June 8, Institute for Quantum Computing.

Politics at The Pub: Student Meet & Greet with Green Party Candidate, Monday, May 28, 3:00 p.m., The Bombshelter Pub.

Interviews: Preparing for Questions (for employees only), Tuesday, May 29, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., TC2218.

Retirement celebration for Ralph Smith, Tuesday, May 29, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., University Club. RSVP to Margaret Berton - mberton@uwaterloo.ca.

Beyond stigma: Increasing our understanding of mental health in the workplace, Wednesday, May 30, 12:00 p.m., EC5 1111.

Preventing Depression Relapse: A Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Group, Wednesday, May 30, 5:00 p.m., Counselling Services, NH 2447.

Velocity Start: Building a Kick A** Team, Wednesday, May 30, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

Keystone Picnic, Friday, June 1, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the DC Quad. Or for those on campus in the evening, 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the SLC.

Discovery: A Comic Lament, Friday, June 1, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College.

Transforming Space: Immerse, interact and imagine in Philip Beesley, School of Architecture, Saturday, June 2 to Monday, October 8, 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Royal Ontario Museum.

QPR Training, Monday, June 4, 1:30 p.m.

Gustav Bakos Observatory public tour, Wednesday, June 6, lecture 9:00 p.m. in PHY 313, telescope viewing 9:30 p.m.

Velocity Start: Ain’t No Model Like a Business Model, “Learn how to create a lean business model canvas”, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.