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  Daily Bulletin

University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Monday, April 12, 1999

  • UW captures ACM world title
  • IP rights under siege
  • Challenge Fund seeks UW input
  • Religious studies awards given
  • As the (very) last snowfall melts
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UW captures ACM world title

UW's ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest team -- Ondrej Lhotak, David Kennedy and Viet-Trung Luu, with Donny Cheung as alternate, and coach Gordon Cormack -- has captured the world title this weekend in the 23 annual ACM finals at Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands.

The team successfully solved six problems with 948 penalty points, edging out the University of Freiburg, which completed six problems with 992 penalty points. Third place went to St. Petersburg IFMO, fourth to Bucharest University and fifth to Duke University. The University of Alberta tied for 11th and the University of Toronto tied for 28th place, the only other Canadian universities to be ranked in the competition. A total of 62 teams representing universities and colleges on six continents vied for a chance to win scholarships, prizes and international renown. For placing first, the UW team earned US $9,000 in scholarships, as well as other prizes as the North American Champions.

Waterloo teams placed first and fifth among 92 teams last fall in the 1998 East Central Regional finals held at UW. The top three teams were eligible to advance to the world finals in The Netherlands.

IP rights under siege

UW faculty association president Fred McCourt sent an email to all faculty members on Friday warning of "a potentially serious threat to the intellectual property rights of all Canadian academics on the immediate horizon."

According to McCourt, a federal panel is recommending that faculty be denied rights to all intellectual property created in research fully funded by the federal government. The recommendation is contained in a draft report prepared by the Expert Panel on the Commercialization of University Research.

Although some federal funding is contingent on matching money being raised from other sources, McCourt sees projects funded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) operating grants -- which do not require matching funds -- as most vulnerable under the proposed changes. The impact could be felt by many researchers in science, math, engineering, some in applied health sciences, environmental studies and psychology, as well as Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant recipients, he said.

Other federal programs that provide full funding for research include NSERC strategic and equipment grants, Networks of Centres of Excellence and the Medical Research Council. In fact, says Sue Pallas, manager of research finance at UW, much of the more than $20 million received annually (based on 1998 figures) from federal sources could fall into the full-funding category.

McCourt was alerted to the situation by the Canadian Association of University Teachers Association (CAUT). Ken Field, a CAUT executive member, termed the document "a shocking report. It is based on questionable data, suggests that university researchers are an impediment to Canada's prosperity, and proposes a wide-ranging set of policies that benefit private industry at the expense of academics and most Canadians." Further, reports CAUT:

The report warns that allowing academics to maintain ownership of intellectual property they create "is tantamount to providing a vehicle for the transfer of significant amounts of valuable technology out of the country." The report uncritically assumes that the corporate sector will more likely act in Canada's interest. The report also recommends sweeping tax changes, long sought by leading business groups, reduction in rates of tax on high income earners and tax breaks for recipients of employee share options.
"CAUT has to act quickly," warns executive director Jim Turk. "The Panel wants to present their final report to the Prime Minister's Advisory Council on Science and Technology on May 3 and table the report with Cabinet on May 27."

McCourt has inititated discussions with UW vice-president (academic) and provost Jim Kalbfleisch, and has "pledged to work with our administration and with other faculty organizations across Canada to do whatever we can to counter the report...."

Challenge Fund seeks UW input

The Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund (ORDCF) is inviting researchers from UW, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College to a meeting tomorrow morning at Federation Hall to discuss how the ORDCF can "improve its impact on Ontario's research and development".

Following a breakfast meeting with ORDCF hosted by Communitech for its members, ORDCF board chair Cal Stiller and Ontario ministry of energy, science and technology deputy minister Ken Knox will meet with researchers from 9:45 to 11:50 a.m. All are invited to attend this meeting, and RSVPs can be sent to Cathy Hale at ext. 3142 or chale@mc1adm.uwaterloo.ca in the office of research. An in camera luncheon with senior representatives from local business and industry will follow the open session.

Over a ten-year period ORDCF will distribute $500 million to support research partnerships between universities and business in Ontario. In the first group of awards, UW will receive funding for five projects worth $36 million, with 14 companies as partners.

Religious studies awards given

The UW religious studies department recently presented annual awards to its outstanding students at a ceremony at Renison College. Awards for 1998 went to:

As the (very) last snowfall melts

Sanjay Kulkarni has been elected the engineering undergraduate student representative to senate in the elections which closed on Friday. Kulkarni received 101 votes, Milton Chan 53, and Simon Dimuantes, 45.

To the consternation of people working on the weekend, the router which connects the campus network to the Internet went down with a hardware problem. At first report, Doug Payne of IST network systems anticipated the problem could not be resolved until today or Tuesday, leaving the university marooned without connections to anything off-campus in the meantime. However, IST crews managed to replace the router and have it back in operation by about 11 p.m. on Saturday.

Fracture wall cements and coatings from the Laidlaw, Ontario and Dalmeny, Saskatchewan aquitards is the subject of a talk today at 10:30 a.m. in Davis Centre room 1302. Vickie Remenda of the department of geological sciences and geological engineering at Queen's University, Kingston, is the speaker at the event sponsored by the UW department of earth sciences.

IST's Computing Help and Information Place (CHIP) in Math and Computer room 1052, will have new hours starting today. Until the fall term, CHIP will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Throughout this week in co-op, employer interviews are being held for co-op and graduating students.

The Kitchener/Waterloo Chapter of the Acoustic Neuroma Association of Canada will be holding its annual garage sale on May 15 and 16. To donate items to this non-profit health support group, contact Trenny Canning (of the university secretariat) at 579-4855.

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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