Dean's Message - December 2019

On December 4 and 5, stop in to say hello to the 150 markers from across Canada who will be assessing more than 20,000 Canadian Intermediate and Senior Mathematics contests in Mathematics and Computing, the CIMC and CSMC. In addition to the CIMC and CSMC marking, the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) was busy organizing 19,636 students from 503 schools for the Beaver Computing Challenge. Their last challenge of the month is the Programming Challenge for girls on December 10 to introduce programming to grade 10 female-identifying students.

We encourage our own students to get involved, try something new, and share their research. As stated in our Strategic Plan, one of our objectives is to provide an enriching, supportive, and progressive learning environment, including experiential and online education. Upcoming opportunities include two hackathons, Hack to the Future on December 3 and StarterHacks January 18-19. Students can also create videos for the Elevating Mathematics video competition or the #IAmInnovation twitter competition, or apply to attend the eighth Heidelberg Laureate Forum.

Recently a group of students from the Math Business and Accounting Programs competed for the first time in the McGill International Portfolio Challenge. Jeremy Wang, Sunny Li, and Seldi Shembitraku – all 5A Math Business Double Degree students – made it to the semi-finals. On November 20, two groups of students from our Faculty competed at the Concept $5K Finals. One of the companies that pitched, Flowy, received one of the $5K cheques. Neil Liu (Computer Science), Kevin Cheng (Mathematics), and David Zhao (Accounting and Financial Management) started the process automation company. The second company, Gooloo, is already serving up to 100 orders a day. Yuqian Li (Actuarial Science and Statistics), Lu Lyu (Statistics), and Yinong Wang (Computer Science, Statistics) started the workday lunch delivery service.

Innovation and entrepreneurship has had a stronger focus since the summer when we divided the Associate Dean, Research responsibilities into two roles: Associate Dean, Research and International and Associate Dean, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. We thank Raouf Boutaba for helping with this process and for serving as the initial Associate Dean, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. I am pleased to announce that Jesse Hoey will assume this role in January.

Congratulations to Jesse and the competitors announced above, as well as:

  • Tony Wirjanto (Statistics and Actuarial Science) who was appointed Curator in Insurance and Asset Management for the World Economic Forum (WEF) by the University of Waterloo and WEF
  • Levent Tuncel (Combinatorics and Optimization) and Richard Cook (Statistics and Actuarial Science), both appointed as Faculty of Mathematics Research Chairs for the next five years
  • Douglas Stebila (Combinatorics and Optimization) contributed to the book "Protocols for Authentication and Key Establishment," the latest title in Springer's series on Information Security and Cryptography
  • Distinguished Professor Emeritus Johnny Wong (Cheriton School of Computer Science), his former master’s student Ye Hu, and colleagues Marin Litoiu from York University and Gabriel Iszlai who received the CASCON most influential paper award for research they presented 10 years ago at the IBM Centre for Advanced Studies Conference 2009
  • Nashid Shahriar, Sepehr Taeb, Shihabur R. Chowdhury, Mubeen Zulfiqar, Massimo Tornatore, Raouf Boutaba, Jeebak Mitra and Mahdi Hemmati (Cheriton School of Computer Science) who received the best paper award at the International Conference on Network and Service Management 2019

In the news, PhD candidate Matthew Lakier’s (Cheriton School of Computer Science) work on cross-car, multiplayer games for semi-autonomous vehicles drove our news coverage analytics this month. The news outlets in India heavily covered this research, including Yahoo! India News,, Analytics Insight, and Mashable India. Locally, Florian Kerschbaum (Cheriton School of Computer Science) was interviewed by CTV News and the Waterloo Chronicle about the $2.1 million cyberattack on Waterloo Brewing, while work by Joel Wallman and Joseph Emerson (Applied Mathematics) were covered in many science publications., Science Daily, Science Codex, and Scienmag all wrote a new method called cycle benchmarking to assess scalability potential and compare quantum platforms.

Following the holiday break, we will welcome many new faces in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, including:

  • Two new Assistant Professors, Yousra Aafer and Rafael Oliveira
  • An Outreach Coordinator for Women in Computer Science, Raeana Samuel
  • A new Administrative Officer, Lewis Fraser who was previously interim Administrative Officer in Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering
  • A familiar face, Costin Ograda-Bratu, is moving to the Help Desk in the Computer Science Computing Facility

As classes wind down in the next couple of days, we wish our students the best on their upcoming exams and a restful break to enjoy friends and family over the holidays.

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

Stephen M. Watt