Dean's Message - December 2018

November was a distinguishing month for the Faculty of Mathematics. Not only were there two distinguished lectures in the faculty, but we also saw very strong results at our Big E and Special K contests, as well as two Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) contests.

There is always a lot happening in the Faculty of Mathematics, including multiple seminars every week.  Some of these are part of “distinguished lecture” series, and November held two: The first distinguished lecture featured Sergey Norin as part of the Tutte Distinguished Lecture Series on November 2, and the second featured Marc Morin, co-founder of Auvik Networks as part of the CryptoWorks21 Distinguished Lecture Series on November 27.

November was also a month of strong contest results.

In competitions where our students tested their skills against students from other institutions, Waterloo placed at the top. In fact, our students swept the top four spots at the ACM Regional International Collegiate Programming Competition! The East Central North America Region comprised 133 teams from schools including Carnegie Mellon University, University of Michigan and the University of Toronto.

  • In 1st place, Waterloo Black (Joakim Blikstad, Jason Yuen, and Sean Purcell) solved nine out of 10 problems and will compete against 127 of the top teams at the world finals in Portugal.
  • In 2nd place, Waterloo Red (Reyno Tilikayen, Timothy Li, and Anzo The) also solved nine of the problems.
  • In 3rd place, Waterloo Gold (Joey Yu, Albert Gevorgyan, and Josh Jung) solved eight of the problems.
  • In 4th place, Waterloo White (Peter Ralbovsky, Kai Sun, and Felix Bauckholt) also solved eight problems.

On November 10, we held the Special K contest for 1st year students and the Big E contest for upper year students. Students completed written solutions to six problems. Congratulations to all! The winners of the Special K Contest were:

  • 1st place: Kai Sun ($200 award)
  • 2nd place: Gian Cordana Sanjaya ($150 award)
  • 3rd place: Yizhe Liu ($100 award)

The next two runners up were Shi Ze (Hunter) Hong and Shuo (Spencer) Gao. The following four students were Raphael Gozali, Xinyue (Cynthia) Xie, Sebastian Regalado, and Lorenc Bushi. 

The winners of the Big E Contest were:

  • 1st place: Albert Gevorgyan ($200 award)
  • Tie for 2nd: Anzo Teh and Jun Yan ($125 award each)

The next four runners up were Joakim Blikstad, Yesung Jung, Ruben Partono, and Sina Abbasi. The following five students were Andean Madjedovic, Timothy Wahyudi, Jason Yuen, Yangrong Zhao, and Robert Cummings. 

Congratulations to Ali Abedi and Mohammad Mazaheri who won 1st place at the ACM Student Research Competition at MobiCom 2018, 24th ACM Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking. 

We would also like to congratulate Srinivasan Keshav who was named an IEEE Fellow, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers highest recognition. 

Research from the Faculty of Mathematics received recognition in the press through November as well. David Gosset, Department of Combinatorics and Optimization continued to make headlines this month around the world with research that’s being heralded as the first proof of quantum computer advantage. Articles have now appeared in many languages including German. Researchers from the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science have also appeared in articles translated into German. The research of PhD candidate Mingyu Fang and Professors Tony Wrjanto and Ken Seng Tan regarding carbon emissions starting to dictate stock prices appeared in investment and business publications around the world, including Finally, the research of Professors Omid Abari and Srinivasan Keshav, along with postdoctoral fellow Ju Wang, of the Cheriton School of Computer Science hit the headlines this month in business and engineering publications in relation to batteryless smart devices.

For those doing research in the area of health, if you are interested in applying for the upcoming Spring 2019 CIHR Project Grant competition, there is an opportunity to learn more about the program and application process on Wednesday, December 5 from 9-11 a.m. Register to hear from Office of Research staff and faculty members including, Colleen Maxwell, Pharmacy, David Rose, Biology, Kelly Skinner, School of Public Health and Health Systems, and Tom Willett, Systems Design Engineering.

As the term winds down, we prepare for examinations, though we have one event some of our faculty will be attending in Vancouver: the Canadian Mathematical Society’s Winter Meeting. We are especially excited about this event this year, as Ian VanderBurgh will accept the Adrien Pouliot Award on behalf of the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing. Congratulations again to the team.

Join me in wishing our students success on their examinations, and on behalf of the Faculty I wish you all a happy holiday.

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

Stephen Watt