Dear Faculty of Math colleagues,

Happy Halloween! Between the extended Thanksgiving holiday and fall convocation, October has flown by. This month has seen us baking pies and sharing celebratory meals with family and friends, taking down coats, toques, and scarves from their places in storage, and stepping through drifts of colourful leaves on our way to work. 

It was such a privilege to celebrate with our graduating students during the convocation ceremony on Friday, October 21. Six hundred and three students graduated with degrees from the Faculty of Mathematics, and an honorary Doctor of Mathematics was conferred on Dr. Claudia Klüppelberg, a distinguished scholar of mathematical statistics and risk assessment.  She gave a wonderful Distinguished Lecture as well. I’d like to extend special congratulations to Jalisa Karim, this year’s recipient of the J. D. Fryer Gold Medal, and Ehrin Turkovich, the fall 2022 valedictorian. You can read more about convocation here.

As always, it is my privilege to highlight some of the numerous achievements of our students, faculty, and staff, as well as upcoming events and initiatives taking place in the Faculty of Mathematics.

Health and wellness:  

This November we are launching the Meatless Math Mondays initiative to encourage sustainability and environmental wellness! Students, postdocs, staff, and faculty are encouraged to eat meat-free meals every Monday in November. Participants can post photos of their meatless meals on social media using the hashtag #meatlessmathmondays and buy meatless meals from Coffee & Donuts in order to be entered to win weekly prizes. To learn more, follow the Meatless Math Mondays social media campaign throughout the month, or visit our table outside Coffee & Donuts each Monday in November. 

Missed the staff and faculty member Community Assemblies? No problem. Let us know your thoughts on how the Faculty of Mathematics can further support and enhance the health and well-being of our students, postdocs, staff, and faculty. Take a minute to make a Have your say submission, and share your ideas for new activities, workshops, seminars and resources that the Faculty of Mathematics can offer, or provide us with your feedback for how we can improve your health and well-being. 

Equity, diversity, and inclusion:  

I am happy to report that the Faculty of Mathematics will be hosting Professor Edward Doolittle from First Nations University on November 9th. Professor Doolittle will be meeting with faculty and campus colleagues to explore Indigenization of Mathematics, and has also agreed to host a lecture that afternoon from 2-3 p.m. in E7-3343. For more details, and to register for the lecture, please click here.

This month we are also continuing with our Capacity Building Circles. The topic we have chosen for November is: “How do we move from talk to action?” We will be focusing on translating ideas into movement to dismantle barriers to equity, and will have some returning guests from across campus joining some of the conversations. If you are interested in this topic, please feel free to visit this linkand enter the code “EDINov2022” to sign up.

Upcoming events:

  • Join Raed Kadri on November 2 from noon to 1 p.m. for this month’s Research Horizons: Dialogue with Leaders talk, “Cementing Ontario’s leadership in the global automotive mobility sector.” Raed Kadri is Vice-President, Strategic Initiatives, Business Development for the Ontario Centre of Innovation and Head of the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN), an initiative by the Government of Ontario to ensure Ontario’s leadership in the future of the automotive and mobility sector. At the helm of OVIN, Raed drives Ontario’s presence on the global stage, leading programming that supports research and development (R&D) funding, talent development, technology acceleration, business and technical supports through testing and demonstration sites. Raed also leads province-wide coordination of activities and resources, public education, research, analysis, and though leadership. Please register for either the in-person or virtual option. The in-person session will be held in the Enterprise Theatre in East Campus 5. Light refreshments will be provided but attendees are welcome to bring a lunch.  
  • There will be a Ukrainian Photo Exhibit celebration in the DC Foyer on November 9, featuring photos by Ukrainian students at Waterloo raising awareness about the war in Ukraine and its impact on academics and civilians. The exhibit will be on display from November 4 to 22. Read more here.
  • We will be celebrating Giving Tuesday on Tuesday, November 29. Three donors have come forward promising to donate over $15,000 if 20 donations are made on Giving Tuesday to each of the following three funds: CEMC Elementary School Innovation Project, Math Entrepreneurship and Pure Mathematics. To learn more about how you can help promote these challenges through your social networks, please email Nadine Collins.

Research, advancement, and media outreach:

  • The Cheriton School of Computer Science was ranked number one nationally for the third year in a row, according to the Maclean’s 2023 university rankings based on program and research reputation. Read more here.  
  • PhD candidate Ryusuke Sugimoto and Computer Science professors Christopher Batty and Toshiya Hachisuka won the best paper award at this year’s ACM SIGGRAPH/Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation. Read more here.
  • Combinatorics & Optimization postdoc Anirban Chowdhury and faculty member David Gosset coauthored a paper with IBM researchers that was published in Nature Physics this month. Read more about it at this link.
  • A workshop on combinatorial optimization was held at the University of Bonn from October 17-21 in honor of Combinatorics & Optimization faculty member Bill Cook’s 65th birthday. Read more about it here.
  • Combinatorics & Optimization faculty members Walaa Moursi and Henry Wolkowicz, along with Boris Mordukhovich from Wayne State University, organized the 24th Midwest Optimization Meeting & Workshop on Large Scale Optimization and applications here on campus on October 28-29. Read more about it here.
  • Waterloo Women’s Impact Network (WWIN) supports innovative projects and ideas submitted by our students, partner groups, faculty, and staff, with the goal of building community for women and underrepresented genders in the Faculty of Mathematics. This year, $3,000 is available and applications are open until November 25, 2011. We are looking for projects that cost between $500 and $3,000 and that take place before April 2023. Project ideas could include one-day conferences, bringing in a special speaker, programs to connect with high-school youth and students, etc. To apply, please follow these instructions

Faculty awards and accolades:

  • Congratulations to Charmaine Dean, Vice President for Research and Professor of Statistics and Actuarial Science, for being named in the 2022 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards. The awards are given out by the Women’s Executive Network, and recognize women’s leadership and advancement across the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. Learn more here.
  • Congratulations to Xi He and Wenhu Chen, professors in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, for being named Canada CIFAR AI Chairs! They are among eight leading researchers across Canada who are building a robust artificial intelligence research ecosystem to advance the nation’s leadership in priority areas under the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy at CIFAR. Learn more here.

Student awards and accolades:

  • As noted above, congratulations to Ehrin Turkovich on being named the fall 2022 valedictorian for the Faculty of Mathematics! Read more about Turkovich here.
  • Congratulations to Luna Xin, who has been awarded the Stewart and Ann Kelland Award for Pure Math students in their second year with a significant interest in another discipline.
  • Congratulations to Sharat Ibrahimpur, Combinatorics and Optimization PhD graduate, who was named a university finalist for Alumni Gold Medal at the fall convocation.

Faculty hires and retirements:

Welcome to Qinlong Tian, Assistant Professor of Statistics and Actuarial Science, who starts November 1.

Staff hires and departures:

Please join me in welcoming the following new staff members:

  • Paloma Gonzales Izquierdo joined Computer Science as the Graduate Coordinator (on contract) on October 17. 
  • Devel Wolff joined Computer Science as the Instructional Support Tutor on October 17.
  • Carly McLeod joined Computer Science as a Graduate Coordinator on October 24.
  • Amy Todd joined Computer Science as the Graduate Coordinator (on contract) on October 31.
  • Madeleine Blauel will be joining Math Business (on contract) as the Assistant Coordinator beginning on November 1.
  • Ye Hua (Eva) Lee will be joining Combinatorics & Optimization as the Administrative Assistant to the Chair on November 7.

All the best to: 

  • Karalee Clerk (Math Research Office) who has taken another opportunity off-campus.

Looking forward 

Thank you, again, to everyone who continues to make this year a success. Before we know it, winter and the end of the year will be upon us! As the days get shorter, thank you for your continuing enthusiasm and unflagging hard work (I’ll thank in December when they start to get longer, too!)


Yours truly,

Mark Giesbrecht

Dean, Faculty of Mathematics, University of Waterloo

Mark Giesbrecht