Dean's Message - April 2019

We had a number of activities in March focused on entrepreneurship. On March 25, former computer science student and entrepreneur Vitalik Buterin delivered the Computer Science Distinguished Lecture. Vitalik is the creator of Ethereum and co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine. The following day, David Salib (4A), co-founder of Mingo, competed in the Velocity Fund Finals. Then on March 28, six groups of computer science students participated in their first Capstone symposium along with software engineering students.

While in Hong Kong this month, we visited the headquarters of Bowtie, a company led by alumni Fred Ngan (BMath ’07) and Michael Chan (BMath ’08). We also reconnected with alumni and celebrated Pi Day at the inaugural Dean’s Lecture. We were pleased to see the large number of people join us to hear Florian Kerschbaum (Cheriton School of Computer Science and Executive Director of the Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute) talk about cybersecurity. In fact, the demand was so large that we had to switch venues.

Looking to the future, we have a few notable events in April. The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science is hosting the first Waterloo Conference in Statistics, Actuarial Science and Finance and Anita Layton (Applied Mathematics) is involved in the Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada Conference hosted by the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Conestoga College. On a different note, Eric Xi Xin Liang, a second-year math student will play the Brahms Piano Concerto #2 with the Orchestra at UWaterloo on April 4. Eric won the orchestra's 2018 Concerto and Aria Competition, which is sponsored by Professor Emeritus David Taylor (Cheriton School of Computer Science).

Anita Layton has been in the news recently. For International Women’s Day, she wrote an OpEd piece that appeared in the Globe and Mail. Her research into the development of a computer kidney also appeared in several news publications including Digital Health Age, Med-Tech Innovation News, and ReachMD.

We also saw research led by Raouf Boutaba (Cheriton School of Computer Science) covered by several tech publications regarding a new cybersecurity system called Bitforest that boasts better hacking protection. Earlier in March, Quanta Magazine produced a piece that referenced William Slofstra’s (Pure Mathematics) game he invented in 2016 that showed how using an infinite amount of entangled quantum particles allows players to always win the game. This work has since been expanded upon by Vern Paulsen and Jitendra Prakash (Pure Mathematics) and Ken Dykema (Texas A&M).

We would also like to announce and congratulate the following for recent awards and honours:

  • Daniel Vogel (Cheriton School of Computer Science) received the 2018 Outstanding Young Computer Science Researcher Award from CS-Can/Info-Can.
  • Robin Cohen (Cheriton School of Computer Science) was recognized in the March Senate meeting and will be presented a Distinguished Teacher Award at convocation.
  • PhD candidate Rina Wehbe’s (Cheriton School of Computer Science) GRADflix video was chosen as a top entry in the NSERC Science, Action video contest.
  • PhD candidate Priyank Jaini (Cheriton School of Computer Science) received the 2019 Borealis AI Graduate Fellowship.
  • Six graduate students received a 2018 Huawei prize for their outstanding research papers: Andrew Giuliani (Applied Mathematics), Stefan Sremac (Combinatorics and Optimization), Ruizhang Jin (Pure Mathematics), Rui Qiao (Statistics and Actuarial Science), and Nik Unger and Ahmed Mohammad Saleh Alquraan (Cheriton School of Computer Science).
  • Caelan Wang (Combinatorics and Optimization) received the Amit and Meena Chakma Award
  • Farbod Yadegarian (Combinatorics and Optimization) was the first recipient of the William Tutte Centenary Undergraduate Scholarship.
  • Jiahui Huang, Gian Cordana Sanjaya, and Luming Zhang tied for first at the Bernoulli Trials Contest with 12 of the 15 questions answered correctly.
  • The University of Waterloo team of Ryan Goldford, Jasmine Sirohi, Adaijah Wilson, and Jillian Zhu Ge won the 2019 Munich Re Cup.

We are sad to say that we received the news that Professor Andrew Conn (Combinatorics and Optimization) passed away March 14. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.

To close, we want to welcome some new members to the Faculty of Mathematics. Samanthi Sooriyabandara has joined the Department of Applied Mathematics as the Administrative Coordinator Graduate Studies. In the Cheriton School of Computer Science, Xi He is our newest assistant professor and N. Asokan will join as a Cheriton Chair in September.

Stephen M. Watt
Dean, Faculty of Mathematics - University of Waterloo

Stephen M. Watt

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