Dean’s Message – June 2019

Tonight, we begin to welcome alumni back to campus for the first Alumni Weekend. The festivities start tonight with the Master of Actuarial Science 10th Anniversary. The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science is hosting past and current students, faculty, and industry supporters. Tomorrow, June 1st, the Faculty hosts a series entitled ‘On the Shoulders of Giants’ which will include historians talking about William Tutte and Wes Graham, and two of our alumni Michele Mosca and Kim Davidson.

In two weeks, we will celebrate our next class of graduates. The day before convocation, June 13, we have a day of excellent discussions planned. We will begin the day with the Wes Graham Research Symposium, hearing from Waterloo researchers. Following that, the Turing Symposium will feature two Turing Award winners, Barbara Liskov and Shafi Goldwasser. They will also speak and participate in a panel celebrating women in computer science, moderated by Maura Grossman. Finally, we will hold the Recognizing Excellence Series with four of our alumni Medal winners each giving a 30-minute talk.

Following convocation, we will host an Alumni Cybersecurity Panel and Networking event in London to meet with our alumni in England. We have heard from alumni around the world that they find value in connecting with former classmates and connecting with the research happening at the university.

The media is finding interest in the research happening in the Faculty of Mathematics. This past month we saw coverage of work by Tony Wrjanto, Chengguo Weng and PhD student Danqiao Guo (Statistics and Actuarial Science) in news aggregates including Advisor News. These researchers discovered that 10- to 20-year-old stocks are in an investment sweet spot. In other financial news, the research of Srinivasan Keshav, Lukasz Golab and Christian Gorenflo (Computer Science) appeared in several newswires and the Bitcoin Exchange Guide. The team developed optimizations that sped up blockchain transactions by seven times. Finally, several trade journals, including Semiconductor Engineering, have been sharing the news about making AI more human as the key to more widespread acceptance from the work of Jesse Hoey, Neil Budnarian, and Moojan Ghafurian (Computer Science).

The work of our actuarial science and risk management researchers recently garnered high rankings by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Global Research Rankings of Actuarial Science and Risk Management & Insurance. Under the "non-business" ranking, U of Waterloo ranked 1st for our insurance/actuarial publications. Congratulations to the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. Congratulations also go to:

Congratulations continue with staff changes on the Advancement team. First, to Alex Lippert, who is now the Associate Director of Development. Thank you to Crystal Cooper, who has been working with this team on a contract basis as she leaves for a full-time opportunity. We also want to welcome Walaa Moursi, a continuous optimizer who joins the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization.

In closing, I would like to encourage our researchers to work with us to share or produce relatable demonstrations of their work. These are essential tools for us to have on hand to help the government and the general public to understand and support what we do. If you may have something we can use, or you would like to discuss what would be required, please reach out to Jodi Szimanski, Director, Strategic Communications.

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

Stephen M. Watt