Dean's Message - November 2016

"If you want a career in medicine these days you're better off studying mathematics or computing than biology." This quote from Sir Rory Collins, the head of clinical trials at Oxford University, appeared in the recent BBC News article Maths becomes biology’s magic number.

Math and computer science are everywhere, and Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) resources are helping more and more students and teachers around the world build their skills with free online courseware. Since the launch in January 2015, this material has reached over 133,645 unique visitors from 187 different countries – over 2 million page views!

The latest US News and World Report university subject ranking now has Waterloo #1 in Canada and 18th in the world for computer science.

The unofficial results are in for last weekend’s ACM ECNA Regional Programming Contest. Waterloo had 5 teams among the 126 teams competing. All five finished in the top 8, with the Waterloo Royal Blue team (Jacob Jackson, 2A Computer Science | Timothy Li, 1A Computer Science | Antonio Molina Lovett, 4A Mathematics) and Waterloo Black team (Ted Ying, 3B Software Engineering | Renato Ferreira, 3B Computer Science | David Choi, First Year Masters – Computer Science) coming first and second. Congratulations to all participants and coaches Ondřej Lhoták, Troy Vasiga and student coach Andy Huang for this strong showing. Waterloo Royal Blue will represent UWaterloo at the ACM ICPC World Finals, held in Rapid City, South Dakota, May 2017. The team will compete against 130 other teams from around the world who are also the best teams in their particular geographical region.

Welcome to new Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, Rita Orji, whose work will focus on designing individualized purposeful and persuasive games to engage people with the purpose of promoting desirable changes in behaviour, such as exercising, making healthy food choices, saving energy, or dealing with depression.

Congratulations to Professor Raouf Boutaba on being selected been selected as a recipient of the IEEE Communications Society Donald W. McLellan Meritorious Service Award. This award recognizes dedicated and outstanding long-term service to the IEEE Communication Society. Additionally, the award recognizes high quality contributions to, and leadership in conferences, publications, standards and technical activities. 

Two friendly reminders for faculty members:

  • Members of Faculty Council are reminded to vote on the proposed amendment to the FC constitution (as sent by email from Jack Rehder on Oct. 21)
  • A new Electronic IP Disclosure Form  to disclose Intellectual Property (IP) has been designed to meet Policy 73 requirements. All Waterloo researchers (including those without IP/research commercialization information) will need to complete the form by November 30.

Faculty of Mathematics HeForShe advocate, Jo Atlee, tells us that Brianna Wu — cofounder of Giant Spacekat, and high-profile woman in tech after standing up to Gamergate — will be on campus giving a public talk on Wednesday Nov. 2 at 3:30 pm titled “Gamergate and the War against Women in Tech”.

The Women in Math fall lecture series presents Dr. Marsha Chechik’s talk “Partial Modeling of Software Behaviour” on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 3:30 pm.


Stephen Watt