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Daily Bulletin

University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Monday, March 23, 1998

  • And the envelope, please
  • Student services fee goes down
  • Student Leadership Awards presented
  • Library celebrates authors, composers and artists
  • IST unveils new training program at open house
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* Academy Awards

And the envelope, please

Four UW grads are among the winners of Academy Awards for scientific and technical achievement. Bill Reeves and Rob Krieger won Scientific and Engineering Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences while Paul Breslin and Kim Davidson are winners of Technical Achievement Awards.

Scientific and technical awards are given for devices, methods, formulas, discoveries or inventions of special and outstanding value to the arts and sciences of motion pictures and that also have a proven history of use in the motion picture industry.

Reeves was a member of a team honoured for the development of the Marionette Three-Dimensional Computer Animation System. The creators of Marionette introduced a procedural system for computer animation with an extensible and flexible software architecture that allows creation of high-level controls for the animator. This system was used to create the first three-dimensional computer animated feature film, Toy Story.

Krieger and a team developed the geometric modelling component of the Alias PowerAnimator system. The system is widely regarded in the computer animation field as one of the best commercially available software packages for digital geometric modelling. Used by many motion picture visual effects houses, it has been a benchmark for comparison of modelling tools and has had a major influence on visual effects and animation.

Breslin and Davidson were honoured for the development of the procedural modelling and animation components of the Prisms software package. Through a procedural building-block process, the software is used to simulate natural phenomena, and create particle effects, complex three-dimensional models and motion for feature film visual effects.

A year ago, Marceli Wein, an adjunct professor in UW's computer graphics laboratory and formerly a senior research officer at the National Research Council, won the award along with council colleague Nestor Burtnyk for their work on "key-frame animation."

The two computer graphics experts were recognized for "pioneering work in the development of software techniques for computer assisted key framing for character animation." Burtnyk and Wein "demonstrated the first significant use of the computer in two dimensional key-frame character animation and influenced many subsequent developments in computer animation techniques."

In 1996, Reeves, a 1974 UW math graduate whose film credits include Toy Story, was awarded the mathematics faculty J. W. Graham Medal to recognize his computer-animation achievements.

"Computer graphics is only twenty years old at UW," said Bill Cowan, computer science professor. "These honors are likely to be only the tip of an iceberg."

UW's highly acclaimed computer graphics lab has graduated 70 students, 50 of whom are working in computer animation, many in Canada, he adds. "The computer animation industry is unusually Canadian dominated and UW alumni are an important fraction of the technical workforce in this growing industry."

Student services fee goes down

No, it's not yet April Fool's Day. And yes, a UW fee might actually be reduced. The board of governors executive committee is being asked at its meeting tomorrow to lower the student services fee, an incidental fee which is collected each term from all full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students. The reduction would begin with the spring term in May, and be in effect for one year, following final approval by the board of governors on April 7.

It will mean a reduction from $89.87 to $80.18 for full-time undergrads, and from $75.60 to $66.59 for full-time grad students. Part-time undergrads will save $2.91, while part-time graduate students can pocket $2.70. Since the fees are tied to the actual cost of student services in 1996/97, plus the year's excess/shortfall, students this year will benefit from "reduced indirect costs and the elimination of one-time early retirement costs," according to Dennis Huber, associate provost (general services and finance).

Last year, the biggest chunk of student services money, $1,294,071, was spent on athletics and recreational services, with career services and personal counselling receiving $622,674, $377,394 going to health and safety (including health services, safety, walk safe and the ombudsperson), $139,955 to the English language proficiency program, and $12,421 to the art gallery.

That's the good news. On the down side, the executive committee will be asked to approve a 10 per cent tuition hike for undergrads and domestic graduate students.

Student Leadership Awards presented

Winners of the 1998 Student Leadership Awards were announced at a Fed Hall banquet Friday night, along with the recipient of the new Environment Award.

Taking top honours were Jonathan Waterhouse for Overall Leadership, and Xavier Aburto for Overall Participation. Other Leadership Awards went to Patricia Carter, Jason Galvao, Ken DeSouza, Amy Lai, Graham Crate and Jason Risley.

The first Environment Award was presented to Michelle Bester, who was nominated for her efforts to personally reduce the amount of waste she uses, for her education of others in the reduce/reuse/recycle triad, and for her work in reducing the waste created by Fed Copy Plus.

Library celebrates authors, composers and artists

For the first time this year, the annual Authors Event hosted by the Friends of the Library will celebrate not only UW folks who have authored books in the past year, but "those who have composed musical works, been recognised for their photography or design work, or mounted art shows in 1997."

If you know someone who fits into one of these categories and whose achievements should be included in the celebration, Mary Stanley, the library development officer, would like to know about it. Information can be sent to her at the Dana Porter Library or to mstanley@library.

The guest speaker for the May 6 event, St. Jerome's English professor, Eric McCormack, will talk about "six impossible things before breakfast." His most recent work, First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, was short-listed for the 1997 Governor General's Award for Fiction. He won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1988 for Inspecting the Vaults.

IST unveils new training program at open house

Skills for the Electronic Workplace, a series of courses designed for faculty and staff, is being launched at an open house on Friday, March 27 at 10 a.m. in Needles Hall room 3001. Part of a joint initiative by information systems and technology and human resources departments, the program will offer "the basic skills necessary...to utilize the electronic technology available in an effective manner," explains Bob Hicks of IST client services. The instruction will provide a comprehensive introduction for people new to the electronic workplace, and offer those who have the technology tools to use it to its fullest potential.

Courses on electronic mail, Windows 95, Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, WordPerfect and other topics are being designed by IST to provide a more in-depth look at the material than that provided by the regular IST courses. Unlike the current ones, the Electronic Workplace courses will be day-long sessions that will include a hands-on project allowing participants to apply what they've learned.

IST will present an overview of the courses and their content at the open house, and hopes to receive input from managers, supervisors and anyone else who is interested in the program, especially those who would like to assist in designing or teaching the courses, said Hicks.

Registration will be handled by human resources, and the first courses are expected to be up and running in July and August.

Elsewhere on campus...

The pension and benefits committee will be asked to approve pension plan enhancements at its meeting today at 9 a.m. in Needles Hall room 3004, after reviewing written comments received from pension plan members.

As part of its Media Literacy Film Series, the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group will screen The Global Eyetoday in Davis Centre room 1302 at 1 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. The film "questions whether network news, the common ground of democracy, will disappear in the pull between globalization and specialization."

At 2 p.m. today in Engineering 2 room 1307C, Myles Allen from the the department of atmospheric physics, Oxford University, will present a seminar on "Remote Sensing of Sea-Surface Temperature, with Applications to Oceanography, Meteorology, and Climate Change."

Tonight, from 7 to 10 p.m., the Waterloo Region Police Band will hold a recording session in the Humanities Theatre.

Two career development seminars are on tap tomorrow. From 10:30 to 11:30, a session on Resume Writing will help participants "discover first-hand the best techniques for writing an effective resume." Interview Skills: Selling your Skills is scheduled for 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Both seminars will be held in Needles Hall room 1020.

And if you've been wondering, "Is science gender biased?", that very subject will be the topic of a debate Tuesday from 4 to 5 p.m. in Biology I, room 271, sponsored by the teaching resources office and the women's studies department. Four faculty members will argue the question, and there will be an audience vote and a chance for audience members to get involved. Free tickets are available from departmental offices in science.

And finally, the Warrior basketball season ended in Halifax this weekend with losses to Laurentian, 74 to 57 in the first round of the CIAU men's championship, and to Acadia, 75 to 69 in the consolation semi-finals.

Barbara Elve

Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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