Letter from the Dean

Stories of impact

After a memorable 2023 for the Faculty of Mathematics community, the new year is off to an impressive start. Already our researchers and students have received prestigious accolades and won big competitions: Professors Shai Ben-David and Ian Goldberg were named 2023 Association for Computing Machinery Fellows; Professor Ming Li received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society award; and Waterloo computer science students won the inaugural AI EarthHack competition at Microsoft’s headquarters in Toronto. 

In early February, we were proud to announce the launch of the Equity and Inclusive Communities Principles, a new set of eleven principles developed over the last two years for the Faculty of Mathematics by a committee of eighteen faculty, staff, and students, including members from the Office of Indigenous Relations and the Centre for Teaching Excellence’s Indigenous Knowledges and Anti-Racist Pedagogies Unit

This issue of E-Ties features more exciting news and stories from our community, including the following:   

  • Edith Law, professor at the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science and co-director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab, explains how we can harness the power of new technologies ethically for the betterment of humanity

  • In celebration of Black History Month, the Faculty of Mathematics and the University of Waterloo honours Black innovators, including our alumni.   

  • Ming Li, a Canada Research Chair in Bioinformatics and University Professor at the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, is developing personalized cancer vaccines.  

  • The Faculty of Mathematics has a rich and storied history–from the IBM 7020 to the Red Room to the Oxford Dictionary project–and the Computer Museum is dedicated to its preservation. In this Q&A, the Museum’s founders talk about what inspired them to create the museum and how you can connect with them (including at Reunion 2024 on June 1) to learn more about the Faculty’s past.  

  • Using machine learning, Cheriton School of Computer Science researchers recently discovered that the DNA of some species called “extremophiles” living in comparably harsh environments is strikingly similar despite these organisms being only very distantly related.

There are also several opportunities for you to connect with fellow alumni and the Faculty in the near future:  

  • Join Mathies worldwide to celebrate the impact of mathematics on Pi Day, March 14. If you are a Math alum in Waterloo, Toronto, Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, New York or Hong Kong, be one of the first ten alumni to register to pick up a free pie at a local pie shop.  Live elsewhere?  Email us a story at mathalumni@uwaterloo.ca and we will mail you a gift!  

  • During National Volunteer Week (April 14-20), we’re celebrating the incredible Math volunteers who mark contests, serve on committees, speak at events and mentor our students. If you are interested in volunteering with the Faculty, please check out the many volunteer opportunities and fill out this form. As our events and programming reach more diverse communities, we want participants to see themselves represented in the volunteers, panelists and mentors involved. If you have thoughts on how we can develop a pool of volunteers that is as diverse as our participants, we would love to hear from you! You can reach out to us at mathalumni@uwaterloo.ca.   

  • Save the date Saturday, June 1, and plan to attend our Reunion 2024 event. Watch your inbox for more information. 

To celebrate the 80th birthdays of Distinguished Professor Emeritus Jerry Lawless and Distinguished Professor Emerita Mary Thompson, the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science is hosting a conference on May 28-29, 2024, and raising funds to support the creation of two new graduate scholarships–the Jerald F. Lawless Graduate Scholarship in Biostatistics and the Mary E. Thompson Graduate Scholarship in Statistics. We are inviting past and present colleagues, students and associates of Jerry and Mary to make a financial contribution in support of these scholarships.  

Finally, Faculty of Mathematics alumni are invited to participate in a research study (for a $35 Amazon gift card!) by the Work-Learn Institute (WxL) to explore the relationship between participation in a work-integrated learning program (like co-op, internship, practicum, field placements, entrepreneurship programs, etc.) and labour market integration of previous University of Waterloo international students. You may be eligible for the study whether you participated in a work-integrated learning program or not. If interested, please click here to check your eligibility. For more information about the research project, please click here