Doctoral candidates to be celebrated at Convocation PhD reception
Fall Convocation begins tomorrow, and the University of Waterloo takes pride in recognizing the achievements of undergraduate and graduate students.
It is a substantial and distinguished honour to be awarded a PhD, becoming an expert in a field of the graduate’s choosing. To recognize this impressive feat, a live, online reception to celebrate the 2021 PhD graduates will take place tonight at 7:00 p.m. Guests, including supervisors, family, and other supporters, will be invited to watch this reception. The event will highlight the distinct accolades of the newest doctors and outline the titles of their theses.
Speaking at the event will be President and Vice-Chancellor Vivek Goel, Vice-President, Academic & Provost James W.E. Rush, Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs Jeff Casello, and Shihab Chowdhury, Alumni Gold Medal Winner in the Faculty of Mathematics. Additionally, the Associate Dean, Graduate Studies from each Faculty will be part of the proceedings.
Graduate names will be showcased on-screen and a special address from the Alumni Gold Medal recipient will be made during the celebration.
Six outstanding new doctorates as of fall 2021 have been chosen to share about their academic journeys — how they got here, what they did here, and where they are going. You can read their stories in a special article on Waterloo News.
Waterloo, Madrid and Buffalo collaborate on climate action
A message from Waterloo International.
With partner institutions in Spain and the United States, the University of Waterloo is catalyzing discussions regarding how networked universities can best advance climate action.
The University of Waterloo is a member of the University Global Coalition (UGC), which was formed in 2019, to foster engagement, leadership, and collaboration amongst universities in support of the Sustainable Development Goals both locally and globally through their education, research, and service missions.
As part of their contributions to the Coalition, the University of Waterloo, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, and the University at Buffalo worked together to identify more than 30 national and international higher-education networks focused on or connected to climate change. They also highlighted the networks’ geographic and thematic dimensions.
“It is highly encouraging to see a clear and growing recognition of higher education’s essential role in tackling the climate crisis, as evidenced by the growth and proliferation of these networks at many scales.”, reported Mat Thijssen, director of sustainability. “However, we have also noted that this could have the potential to dilute efforts, and it is essential for networks to step beyond generating interest and collaboration and towards meaningful impact."
The collaboration presented their results at the recent UGC 2021 Annual Gathering (28 September 2021). Invited to lead the closing plenary session, Professor Ian Rowlands – Waterloo’s associate vice-president, international – moderated discussion amongst representatives of the three partners:
- Jenna Phillips, University of Waterloo: Previously a co-op student at the University of Waterloo’s Sustainability Office, Jenna’s work included major contributions to the report. She is currently a fourth-year undergraduate student in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability and the Sustainability Commissioner for the University.
- Netra Mittal, University at Buffalo, SUNY: A senior majoring in economics and mathematics, Netra works as a student assistant for UB Sustainability, aiding with the university’s Climate Action Plan (CAP).
- Anxo Sanchez, Climate Strategic Initiative, Universidad Carlos III Madrid (UC3M): A professor of mathematics at the Polytechnic School of UC3M, Anxo is one of the leading promoters of UC3M’s Climate Strategic Initiative, a group of researchers committed to interdisciplinary research, specialized education, knowledge transfer and policy advice on climate change.
The three universities’ partners are continuing their collaborations to advance SDG13 – both through their engagement in networks and through their portfolio of activities within their respective campuses. For more information about the report, which is expected to be published later this year, contact Mat Thijssen via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speeding into history
By Brian Caldwell. This article was originally published on Waterloo News.
Two students at the University of Waterloo expect to be part of history this weekend when an autonomous, million-dollar racecar they helped develop drives itself around the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway at speeds of up to 120 miles per hour.
Brian Mao and Ben Zhang are members of a four-university team set to compete with rivals from around the world for a US $1-million top prize at the Indy Autonomous Challenge on Saturday.
“This is something nobody else has done before – take autonomous vehicles up to those kinds of speeds,” said Mao, a master’s student in applied mathematics. “There are a lot of unsolved problems that have to be tackled.”
Ten teams representing 21 universities will put modified Dallara AV-21 racecars through their paces at Indy, the largest sports venue in the world, as the culmination of a competition that included several simulated races.
Students from nine countries have been working since 2019 to program driverless cars equipped with the latest sensory equipment so they are capable of negotiating the track on their own at high speeds. Waterloo is the sole Canadian school involved.
“The only control we have is an emergency button,” said Zhang, a master’s student in electrical and computer engineering.
Mao (BASc ’20, mechanical engineering) and Zhang (BCS '20, computer science) have been in Indianapolis for about six weeks, working full-time to integrate software developed by their team into the actual racecar.
“Honestly, it’s amazing just seeing it in person,” Mao said of the stadium. “The track is so big that after the first turn, we won’t even be able to see our car. We have to watch it on several monitors.”
Waterloo initially had a team of its own called WATORACE, but joined forces with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Pittsburgh and the Rochester Institute of Technology to pool resources and expertise due to the complexity of the project.
The core of the Waterloo contingent, a subgroup of student design team WATonomous, also includes software engineering undergraduate Kyle Anderson, computer science undergraduate Ryan Larkin and Rollen D’Souza, a PhD student in electrical and computer engineering.
Mao, 23, of Newmarket and Zhang, 24, of Vancouver will be part of a six-person pit crew for their car when the final race – the details of which are still being worked out by organizers – is staged. It was one of just four that didn’t crash in the final simulated race in June.
“We are confident it will go around the track at high speed,” said Zhang. “We have tested it multiple times. What we’re still a bit unsure of is its obstacle avoidance manoeuvre.”
Organized by Energy Systems Network and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and backed by a long list of sponsors, the event is meant to advance technology for the commercialization of autonomous vehicles and advanced driver-assistance systems.
Waterloo’s joint team backed off its original goal of a 180-mph top speed to improve safety and complete the race unscathed.
“We’re both nervous and excited at the same time because we’ve put in so much time and care so much about this,” Mao said. “We really want to make sure we don’t crash the car.”
Cybersecurity Awareness: multiply your defenses
A message from Information Systems & Technology (IST). October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and the UW Information Security Services team will be bringing you some simple hints to allow you to be cyber secure.
Two-factor (2FA) or multi-factor (MFA) authentication require you to prove your identity in an additional way. At UWaterloo, we use the Duo 2FA system which can require a response from your smartphone to authenticate yourself after entering your passphrase to an online service. Other companies, like Apple, Dropbox, Google, and Facebook, also allow you to make use of 2FA to help prevent unauthorized access to your accounts. Make use of these methods when available.
You can find lists of some major organizations and companies that support 2FA, with instructions on setting up access, at these web sites:
Your Daily Inspiration continues and other notes
Today's Daily Inspiration
Be part of the first comprehensive Equity Survey at UWaterloo
The Equity Office offers us an incredible learning stream to build your knowledge, skills and awareness related to equity and anti-racism.
They are asking all of us to help create a complete picture of the makeup of our campus through an Equity Survey. The learning outcomes will create opportunities for positive change now and in the future. Your participation matters! Take the survey in just 5 minutes now or before October 31. You can access your personal link through Learn, Portal or Workday.
The 2021 Benjamin Eby Lecture will be delivered by Associate Professor of Music, Karen Sunabacka tonight at 7:30 p.m. During "Composing Louis Riel's Dream: Exploring the history of the Red River Settlement through family stories and music," Professor Sunabacka will discuss her Métis heritage, a number of her compositions, her inspiration for the pieces, her challenges, her collaborations with her mother Joyce Clouston, and the ways her music has been received. Register for the event.
This year's program will be held virtually, with a video presentation, and a Q&A to follow.
The Benjamin Eby Lecture is an annual lecture that presents the research of a faculty member at Conrad Grebel University College. It is named after Benjamin Eby (1785-1853), an early educator and Mennonite church leader in Waterloo County.