Campus memorial for Pearl Sullivan set for January 26
The University of Waterloo has announced new details around the campus memorial for Pearl Sullivan, dean emeritus of the Faculty of Engineering.
"To remember and celebrate the incredible contributions made to the University of Waterloo by Pearl Sullivan, former dean of engineering and the first woman to hold the position, we will be hosting an online celebration of her life for our internal University community," President Feridun Hamdullahpur wrote in a memo circulated to campus yesterday. "I hope you will join in this special ceremony as our campus community honours the life and legacy of Professor Sullivan."
The ceremony will take place on Tuesday, January 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on YouTube Live.
Please register to receive more details about the memorial event.
If you are grieving and need support, the following resources are available.
Counselling Services - 519-888-4567 ext. 32655
Here 24/7 - 1-844-437-3247
Health Services - Student Medical Clinic - 519-888-4096
Grand River Hospital - 519-749-4300
St. Mary's Hospital - 519-744-3311
Good2Talk - 1-866-925-5454
Crisis Services Canada - 1-833-456-4566 or by text 45645
Bereavement Ontario Network
Grieving Together Canada
EmpowerMe - 1-833-628-5589
For staff and faculty:
Just say the word: New voice tech could run home appliances
This article was originally published on Waterloo Stories.
Developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo and AI company DarwinAI, the technology enables the creation of low-cost, low-power, self-contained speech recognition software that is tailored to specific tasks.
Unlike existing voice assistant systems such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, the deep-learning AI software could run everything from televisions to thermostats without connections to cloud computing.
“Cost and efficiency are two of the biggest bottlenecks to the widespread adoption of machine-learning AI,” said Alexander Wong, a professor of systems design engineering at Waterloo. “This technology significantly addresses those issues and enables a new class of voice assistants for everyday devices with energy-efficiency needs.”
The breakthrough involves the use of AI algorithms to create AI speech recognition software so compact it can fit on chips that are smaller than postage stamps and cost only a few dollars to make.
That efficiency is achieved by giving AI algorithms data and specific requirements – the ability to understand the words “yes,” “no,” “on” and “off,” for instance – and instructing them to find the least complex way to meet them.
“The resulting software is just big enough to do a particular job well,” said Wong, director of the Vision and Image Processing (VIP) Research Group, and a co-founder of DarwinAI. “That is the goal, the essence of our approach.”
The efficiency and performance of the speech recognition AI are increased by new deep-learning building blocks introduced by Wong’s team. Known as attention condensers, they focus the software on the most relevant information in sound waves.
In addition to home appliances, the compact AI could affordably operate systems in vehicles and devices for people with disabilities, while also helping address privacy concerns associated with cloud-based voice assistants.
Researchers are now working to apply the core technology and their new AI building blocks to the creation of compact, stand-alone AI for visual perception and text interpretation.
A paper on their work, TinySpeech: Attention Condensers for Deep Speech Recognition Neural Networks on Edge Devices, was presented at a recent Neural Information Processing Systems workshop.
Mahmoud Famouri, a researcher at Darwin, Maya Pavlova, a Waterloo engineering student, and Siddharth Surana, a Waterloo computer science student, contributed to the research.
Homewood Health offers tips on fighting post-holiday depression
The University of Waterloo's employee and family assistance plan provider, Homewood Health, has some suggestions about combating post-holiday depression.
"The onset of winter typically signifies the beginning of seasonal festivities, family traditions and holidays," says the note from Homewood Health. "This year we face a season of uncertainty, a reprieve of traditions, and social and physical distancing guidelines and mandates to combat the risk of infection and spread of COVID-19. The continuing pandemic in combination with the dynamic changes in weather and a significant decrease in daylight hours can be emotionally overwhelming for many. With the approaching holidays and new year, many individuals are generally on the lookout for a bit of company to help them feel a sense of togetherness and to have some good old fashioned fun with family, friends and colleagues. This year will be different."
"As we approach those celebratory days, people can experience feelings of excitement, anticipation and this year apprehension. There’s typically a lot to do, and in spite of all of our preparations, it seems as if we’re never fully prepared. In previous years, many started planning weeks or even months in advance, as there may have been many invitations or events to attend. As the second wave of COVID-19 continues, these desired occurrences have been either scaled back or cancelled, giving way to feelings of disappointment and in some instances depression. During times of upheaval and unfamiliar routines, these feelings may be intensified or prolonged. In most instances, we take it in stride and generally try to enjoy the time we spend together, in-person or virtually, making new memories and perhaps new traditions. However, as the season draws to an end, a different set of emotions may surface for many individuals, as we realize the year, and celebrations are winding down. It’s in these moments, that post-holiday depression can set in."
"It’s important to recognize that depression is one of the most common mood disorders, and it can have serious and lasting implications on an individual's mental and physical health. Depression is a mental health disorder which makes individuals feel sad or indifferent to many events or scenarios."
Alumnus talks investing for good and other notes
Upkar Arora (BA '85, MAcc '85) understands just how powerful our investments can be. He spoke with the Office of Advancement recently to talk about his work at Rally Assets, an impact investment firm. Plus, he speaks about his personal investments to Waterloo as an alumnus, donor and committed volunteer. Why does he care so deeply about our University community? How does he hope these investments will impact the world? How can others make an impact too?
The Cheriton School of Computer Science will be hosting Mary Czerwinski, Partner Research Manager at Microsoft Research’s Human Understanding and Empathy Research Group, for a Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, January 14 entitled Using Technology for Health, Wellbeing and Empathy.
Czerwinski will explore how we can create technologies to help us reflect on and change our behaviour, and improve both our health and overall wellbeing at work and at home. She and her team have developed wearable technology to help families manage tense situations with their children, mobile phone-based applications for handling stress and depression, as well as automatic sensing systems for tracking well-being over time.
The latest focus agents she and her team have developed can help with planning and focus and recommend good times to take a break at work. The overarching goal of this research is to develop intelligent systems and agents that work with the user so they can maximize their goals and improve their wellbeing over time. She will also briefly share some information on how academics studying human-computer interaction can work with industrial partners such as Microsoft Research to have greater impact.
To join this Distinguished Lecture Series Presentation on Zoom, please go to https://zoom.us/j/97938109183.
Here's what’s happening at the Centre for Career Action (CCA) this week:
- Wednesday, January 13: How to Find a Co-op Job, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
- Thursday, January 14: Virtual Interviews” Prepping for Questions, 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- Monday, January 18: Getting a Job Using LinkedIn, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, January 19:
- Information Session for Graduating Students, 11:10 a.m. to 12:30 pm.
- Interviewing Effectively (Graduate Students/Post-docs) 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Exploring Career Pathways-Part 2, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Preparing for virtual interviews, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, January 20:
- Academic Careers: Writing CVs and Cover Letters (Graduate Students and Post-docs), 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Information Session for Graduating Students, 4:00p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Thursday, January 21: Virtual Interviews: Practice!, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
CCA virtual drop-in advising hours for November:
Résumé, cover letter, and interview drop-ins for UG and Master's students are offered Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Career Consult and work search drop-ins for UG and Master's students are offered Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.
PhD and Postdoc drop-ins are offered Monday to Friday, 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.
Further education support can be requested by filling out the Further Education Support Form. Students can book all virtual drop–ins through WaterlooWorks. Online registration begins at 8:30 a.m. daily.
Employers on campus next week hosting employer information sessions include HSBC, Wish, Bloomberg, Capital One | Business, Roche Canada, Travelers Canada, Capital One | Tech, Oliver Wyman, Qualcomm, Accedo, Tribe, CloudNatix, Aviva, Splunk, The Argus Group. Make sure to register through WaterlooWorks and check the calendar for any updates.