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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday, May 20, 1998

  • QNX founder receives UW medal
  • Retired staff and faculty meet
  • Prof studies safe sex for teens
  • News in the good old summer time
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QNX founder receives UW medal

Dan Dodge, the co-founder and president of QNX Software Systems, has been named this year's winner of the J. W. Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation from UW. He'll receive his medal at the mathematics session of convocation next week.

Dodge will also be on campus the day before convocation to give a seminar for UW's InfraNet Project and will be the guest of honour at a reception afterwards. His talk, at 2:30 on May 29 in Davis Centre room 1350, will be on "Embedded Applications: Technology for the Real World".

Dodge is a Waterloo graduate in physics (BSc 1977) and computer science (MMath 1981) who first got involved with computer operating systems working at UW on Thoth, one of the first message-passing operating systems. He went to work at Bell Northern Research, then joined up with co-worker Gordon Bell to establish QNX, which marketed a real-time operating system they developed for early PCs.

QNX, based in suburban Ottawa, calls itself "the leading provider of realtime operating system technology for PCs". Among its recent innovations: software for connecting pay telephones to the World Wide Web. Although he now spends much of his time running the business, Dodge keeps his hand in as a programmer, and is directly responsible for the QNX microkernel, the foundation on which QNX technology is built.

The J. W. Graham Medal, honouring a pioneer of computer science at Waterloo, is now in its third year. It's to be given annually to a Waterloo graduate who follows in Wes Graham's footsteps as an innovator.

Retired staff and faculty meet

The UW Retirees' Association is holding its annual meeting today, at 1:30 p.m. in Ron Eydt Village. Besides a business meeting and a social hour, there's a special speaker -- a representative of the Ontario Provincial Police, talking about "how to avoid scams".

Dave Copp, formerly of the research office and the co-op education and career services department, has been president of the UWRA for the past couple of years. He writes:

[UWRA logo] Most of the Board of Directors will be continuing. My term as President is over and Lynn Watt has agreed to move up from Vice-President. We have a hard-working group of directors and we are proud of the Trip Program, WatTimes, and most recently the Oral History Project. . . .

Subscribing Membership now stands at 120 Life Members and 289 Annual Members. The ability of UWRA to conduct projects depends on the income from subscribing membership fees. We hope more of the almost 1400 UW Retirees will become Subscribing members.

The new president, Lynn Watt, was a professor of electrical engineering and was for many years UW's dean of graduate studies, among other services to the university.

The oral history project, being started in cooperation with the UW archives, is headed by retired engineering professor George Soulis and includes about 20 volunteers who are heading out with tape recorders to interview a total of 325 retirees about their time at Waterloo.

After today's meeting, planned UWRA activities include trips to the Shaw Festival on May 26, July 3 and September 29, and a wine and cheese party September 23.

Prof studies safe sex for teens

Safer sex programs and abstinence programs can both be effective in reducing risky sexual behaviour, but safer-sex programs may produce stronger and more long-lasting effects, says a study co-authored by Geoffrey Fong of UW's psychology department. It is published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study, involving 659 students in grades 6 and 7 in inner-city Philadelphia, is said to be the first examine the relative effectiveness of safer-sex and abstinence approaches to reducing risky sexual behaviour. The lead author is John Jemmott, psychology professor at Princeton University, and the other co-author is Loretta Sweet Jemmott, nursing professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of three intervention programs: a safer-sex intervention, which emphasized the importance of condoms, an abstinence intervention, which emphasized the importance of abstaining from sex, or a health control intervention, which emphasized aspects of health unrelated to sex, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. The information -- involving videotapes, role-playing and skill-building exercises, and discussions -- came in small groups with an adult facilitator or two older teenagers as leaders.

In a follow-up three months later, both abstinence and safer-sex interventions were found to have good effects on sexual behaviour: the abstinence group was less likely to have sex than the control group, and the safer-sex group was more likely to use condoms consistently than the control group if they did have sex. And the safer-sex group was not any more likely to have sex than the control group, providing evidence arguing against the common belief that sex education programs, particularly ones that emphasize condoms, encourage adolescents to have sex.

The beneficial effects of the abstinence intervention on sexual behavior were not maintained at the six-month and 12-month follow-ups, but the effects of the safer-sex intervention were largely maintained over the 12 months, particularly among adolescents who were already sexually experienced when the study began.

News in the good old summer time

Warm enough for ya? There's lots happening on this summer Wednesday, and I'm just as grateful that I don't have to find space in today's Bulletin for a "positions available" list from the human resources department, which would normally appear here in a week when there's no Gazette. There are no staff jobs to be listed this week, HR says.

The monthly draw in the Dollars for Scholars raffle was held yesterday. The May winners are a group of six people from the records section in the development and alumni affairs office: Joanne Pfeiffer, Geraldine McGinnis, Duncan Murie, Cathy Fraser, Norm Mann and Fatima Costa.

A noon-hour session on "effective communication" in relationships, sponsored by the Employee Assistance Program, starts at 12 noon today, and I'm told it has been moved down the hall from the originally scheduled room to a new location, Math and Computer room 4059.

The joint health and safety committee will meet at 1:30 in Needles Hall room 3004. Among the agenda items: the smoking room in the General Services Complex; rules about inline skates on campus; "indoor air quality -- perfumes".

The last of three information meetings about the proposed Memorandum of Agreement between UW and the faculty association will be held today at 2:30 p.m. in Physics room 145.

The Waterloo Centre for Materials Technology presents a seminar by J. Bystrzycki, visiting UW from the Military University of Technology, Poland, at 3:00 this afternoon in Physics room 150. He'll speak on "Shock-Wave Treated Advanced Intermetallics".

An information session for graduating students who will be on work term in the fall, talking about career and job interview information, will be held starting at 3:30 this afternoon in the Theatre of the Arts.

"Would all clubs' executives please be advised," writes Milton Chan of the Federation of Students, "that the deadline for the submission of budget form and club registration is Friday at 12:00. If your form is not in the Feds office by then, your club will not be recognized this term."

FASS 1999 may seem a long way off, but the writers are beavering away on "UW's own home-groan musical comedy show". This year's theme is "Conspiracies", says chief scriptwriter Rod Currie, who invites everybody to take part -- FASS stands for Faculty, Alumni, Students and Staff, after all. Writers 'meetings are held Wednesday and Sunday evenings at 7;30 in Modern Languages room 104.


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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