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Dean's Message - October 2018

Autumn is upon us, and the cooler weather has not stopped us from digging into some hot topics in the Faculty of Mathematics. The last week of September alone included the Inaugural Seminar for the AI Institute, Peter van Beek was a speaker at Elevate TechFestival in Toronto on an artificial intelligence panel hosted by Manulife, the Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute launched, and students competed at the Data Open and the Waterloo-local ACM-style programming contest.

David Cheriton’s talk, Rethinking virtual memory for a multi-core terabyte memory computing world, was the hot event on September 21 – it was standing room only in Davis Centre 1302. The talk was part of this year’s 2018 Cheriton Research Symposium. David R. Cheriton Faculty Fellows Bernard Wong and Edward Lank also presented at the symposium about consensus protocols and wearables, respectively.

Prior to that, we hosted the 2018 Faculty of Mathematics Reception and Dinner on September 13, welcoming our new faculty members and recognizing honours of the last year, and fêting our retiring colleagues. We also hosted dinner on September 14 at Hack the North, which gave us the opportunity to chat with our own computer science students who participated, as well as students from Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Seattle, Palo Alto, and countries as far away as Poland and Korea. Ihab Ilyas was on hand on September 15 to hold a workshop at Hack the North around big data and machine learning.

As we move forward into October, we ask that you look to the future you would like to see at Waterloo. The Faculty of Mathematics Strategic Plan was approved at the Faculty Council meeting on September 18, and now on October 25, we have an opportunity to have our voices heard regarding the University’s plan. Please register and attend the Faculty of Mathematics consultation on the Bridge to 2020.

Current research in our faculty continues to gain recognition around the world. Congratulations to:

  • Cherisse Mike from the Office of the Dean of Mathematics received the Internationalization Fund Award for her project: Videos Addressing Cultural Stereotypes of Minority Groups on Campus
  • Eight professors from the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science who became Vector Institute affiliates: Shai Ben-David, Yuri Boykov, Maura Grossman, Jesse Hoey, Kate Larson, Jimmy Lin, Olga Veksler, and Yaoliang Yu, as well as Ali Ghodsi from the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science.
  • The six winners of the 2018 Cheriton Research Symposium poster competition. In first place, Amine Mhedhbi and Siddhartha Sahu tied with Sajin Sasy. Nik Unger and Linguan Yang tied for second, while Thomas Lidbetter and Xin Lian tied for third.
  • Joey Yu, a first-year student in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, who earned a gold medal at the 2018 International Olympiad in Informatics in Japan. Joey’s teammate, Ava Pun, currently in grade 12 at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute, was the top-ranking female in the global competition.
  • PhD students in computer science Siddhartha Sahu and Amine Mhedhbi, along with Semih Salihoglu, Jimmy Lin, and M. Tamer Özsu won the Very Large Data Bases 2018 Best Paper Award.  
  • Recent computer science master’s graduate Aayush Rajasekaran, along with his supervisor Professor Jeffrey Shallit and Professors Parthasarathy Madhusudan of the University of Illinois and Dirk Nowotka of Kiel University in Germany received the EATCS Best Paper Award at the 43rd International Symposium on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science.
  • Recent computer science PhD graduate and postdoctoral fellow Andrew Kane, MMath graduate Dallas Fraser, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Frank Tompa received the best paper award at DocEng 2018, the 18th ACM Symposium on Document Engineering.
  • Computer science students Yuhao Dong, Woojung Kim, and Professor Raouf Boutaba won the best student paper award at Blockchain-2018.
  • Katherine Gotovsky, a computer science and business student, was named a 2018 Loran Scholar - Canada’s largest and most comprehensive undergraduate merit award.
  • Mohammad Kohandel in the Department of Applied Mathematics who received a CIHR grant for his research studies of heterogeneity-driven adaptive resistance to chemotherapy and its implications for multimodal targeted therapeutics. Sivabal Sivaloganathan and Ali Ghodsi are co-investigators on the project.

Research out of the Cheriton School of Computer Science has made the news in the last month. A collaboration between Dan Brown and Kevin Harrigan (Faculty of Arts) about warning labels on slot machines was covered by the Waterloo Region Record. News of Raouf Boutaba’s study of machine learning and network management was included in news publications from the U.S. to the UK, and Jimmy Lin’s work on getting your TV to understand you better was covered in India, the U.S., and Canada.

Every September, we welcome so many new faces to the Faculty of Mathematics. On October 16, the Math Advisors and MUO would like to welcome students to the M3 Atrium from 10 am – 12:30 pm for a pancake breakfast. We would also like to extend a welcome two new faculty members in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science: Assistant Professor Peijun Sang and visiting Professor Jeroen de Mast, who will be in Waterloo every Fall for a number of years.

Although our school year has just begun, we are already looking ahead to the next year. I would like to thank the many volunteer faculty, staff and students who helped make mathematics at Waterloo sound like the only choice at the Ontario University Fair this past weekend.

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

Stephen Watt