Dean's Message - November 2018

Last week was Fall Convocation, and the Faculty of Mathematics gained 595 new alumni, all of whom we are extremely proud. We look forward to seeing what they do next as they move on to their careers, their ventures, or their further studies. Included in this number was a special alumna, Ingrid Daubechies, who became our newest Doctor of Mathematics, honoris causa.

Ingrid, known for her groundbreaking work on wavelets, is past president of the International Mathematical Union and now adds a Waterloo DMath to her string of honours. She gave a Distinguished Lecture in Applied Mathematics before convocation, with her talk focusing on how mathematicians are helping art historians and art conservators. This was one of three Distinguished Lectures in the faculty this month. Emery Brown from the Institute for Medical Engineering & Science presented at the David Sprott Distinguished Lecture on October 17 and the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture on October 31 featured Donald Knuth, a professor emeritus at Stanford University. The Department of Combinatorics and Optimization will hold the Tutte Distinguished Lecture on November 2 with Sergey Norin.

Other upcoming events in November include the Fall Open House, alumni events in New York, Seattle and Vancouver, and the Grand Valley Mathematics Association Fall Conference hosted by the Centre for Education for Mathematics and Computing. We are also co-hosting the next Bridges Lecture on November 21 at St. Jerome’s University where Edward Burger and Victoria Star Varner will discuss movement within art and math.

Looking back, October was a fruitful month for our researchers as they gained significant recognition:

  • 1st and 2nd prizes at the Data Open datathon went to teams of undergraduate and graduate students while 3rd prize went to a team of undergraduate students
    • Patrick Li, Yuchi Zhang, Alexandre Xiao, and Kevin Wang took home the $20,000 prize
    • Yangang (Young) Chen, Yingluo Xun, Yuhao Xie, and Achintya Chaudhari won $5,000
    • Kabith Mahendran, Vaibhav Kaitan, Pavle Mihajlovic, and Zhe Yang also won $5,000
  • Professors Brian Ingalls (Applied Mathematics), Matthew Kennedy (Pure Mathematics), Daniel Vogel (Cheriton School of Computer Science), and Ruodu Wang (Statistics and Actuarial Science) for their Discovery Accelerator Supplements, which were publicly announced on October 10
  • Maura Grossman (Cheriton School of Computer Science) was named the Leading Individual in Canada by Who’s Who Legal 2018 for her contributions to eDiscovery
  • Lindsay Toffolo, Sally Zhou, and Sarah Moser for receiving the 2018 HeForShe scholarships
  • Don Cowan (Cheriton School of Computer Science) received a CANARIE award to expand iEnvironment++, a software platform that supports environmental science and engineering research on surface water
  • Kirsten Morris was appointed a Visiting Scholar at the University of Bordeaux
  • Mike Schaekermann, Joslin Goh, Kate Larson, and Edith Law (Cheriton School of Computer Science) received the Best Paper Award at the 21st ACM Conference on Computer Supported Work and Social Computing
  • Amir-Hossein Karimi (Cheriton School of Computer Science) received the Alumni Gold Medal for outstanding academic performance in a Master’s program
  • Ahmad Abdi (Combinatorics and Optimization) was named a University Finalist for the Alumni Gold Medal in a doctoral program (formerly Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Studies)
  • The MMath Data Science Specialization program was recognized as one of eight programs eligible for the Vector Institute’s Artificial Intelligence Scholarships

Congratulations to all.

This past month we welcomed new faces to Faculty of Mathematics. Our newest faculty member Alla Slynko began in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. In the Department of Applied Mathematics, Amanda Guderian has stepped into the Graduate Coordinator role as Laura Frazee has left for a new position in the Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs Office. We would also like to welcome Christine Ko back to the Dean’s office working with Jack as the Project Coordinator, Space.

One of our newest faculty members, David Gosset (Combinatorics and Optimization), made headlines  around the world, including Digital Trends, this past month for work that is being heralded as the first proof of quantum computer advantage. In addition, Maura Grossman is highlighted by numerous publications including the New York Bar Association Journal, Who’s Who Legal, and Out of the Box, the Library of Virginia’s blog, for her work with Gordon Cormack.

Thank you to everyone who shares their research in the academic world and beyond. We continue to look to the future and find ways to recruit the best students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and staff. It is why your participation in the Faculty of Mathematics consultation for the university’s strategic plan is much appreciated.

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

Stephen Watt