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Monday, April 1, 2002

  • Big things happening this week
  • UW's $100,000 salaries for 2001
  • Internet pipe fuller than ever
  • Three more Canada Research Chairs
  • Other notes as the month begins
Chris Redmond

It's really amazing what the Internet can do

Union ratifies contract

UW's unionized staff voted yes last week on a proposed two-year contract with the university. It now goes to the board of governors for final approval at tomorrow's meeting.

Neil Murray of the human resources department said Thursday that the new contract would begin with "a 3.0 per cent across-the-board increase plus some specific adjustments" on May 1. "The 3 per cent," he said, "is comprised of a 2.6% increase (equivalent to CPI) plus a 0.4 % increase to recognize and acknowledge the dedication and commitment consistently demonstrated by all members of the bargaining unit.

"Year two provides for CPI plus 0.4 %."

Big things happening this week

Today is an important day -- not just because it's the first day of April, not just because it's Easter Monday (and a holiday for many people in the public sector, but not universities), not just because it begins a new fiscal year for the government, and not just because time begins on opening day. . . .

It's also important because classes wind up today in the faculties of mathematics and engineering -- meaning that for a thousand-and-some of UW's students, today brings their last university lectures and seminars and labs. Ever.

In the other four faculties, classes continue through Thursday. For everybody, winter term exams begin April 8 (but you knew that already). Looking ahead to future terms, open enrolment for the spring term begins today (that's the official terminology for course selection using Quest). Class enrolment for the fall term is expected to be in early June.

Also of importance today is the beginning of the five-day Graduate Student Research Conference, with talks on subjects ranging from "the effect of wireless handheld technology on workplace relationships" to "diffusion of intracellular proteins". There are also two keynote sessions today, in Davis Centre room 1302. At 9:15, UW provost Amit Chakma will speak on "Graduate Studies at the University of Waterloo". At 1:00, Paul Guild, the vice-president (university research), and Douglas Sparkes, director of the new UW Innovate Inc., will talk about "Supporting UW Entrepreneurs". The full schedule for the conference is available on the web.

The aforesaid Innovate Inc. gets its official launch tomorrow, on a day that I think may stand out in UW history much like "Technology Futures Day" on March 17, 1982. That day, the Watfund campaign and the Institute for Computer Research were both launched, and it's remarkable to remember that because the Davis Centre wasn't yet built, ceremonies took place in the Arts Lecture Hall. Tomorrow similarly brings two major events: the ribbon-cutting for Innovate at 1:45 p.m., and a board of governors meeting at 2:30 that's expected to approve the "development handbook and guidelines" for the coming north campus research and technology park. Watch for more information tomorrow.

UW's $100,000 salaries for 2001

A total of 245 people are listed on UW's government-required declaration of salaries that exceeded $100,000 during the calendar year 2001, which was made public Thursday afternoon.

The total is up from 202 last year, largely because senior faculty salaries are overlapping the $100,000 mark. (The average salary for full-time faculty, according to figures from October, is $89,020.) Of the 245 salaries over $100,000, 75 are less than $105,000.

David Johnston, the president, again has the highest salary, at $239,667, plus $21,594 in taxable expenses. James Downey, past president, is again second, at $178,305. Here are numbers three through ten on this year's list:

New on the $100,000 list this year, besides a number of faculty members without administrative positions, is one administrator: Laura Talbot-Allan, vice-president (university relations), who was at UW for nine months of last year. The vice-president (academic) and provost, Amit Chakma, who was at UW for the last five months of the year, does not appear on the list.

Internet pipe fuller than ever

Internet traffic between the campus and the rest of the world is almost twice what it was a year ago, whether you measure it in gigabytes per day or megabits per second.

Figures from the information systems and technology department, made public last week, show that World Wide Web use has fallen to slightly less than half the total Internet traffic, after five years in which it was above 50 per cent.

In first place now is "other" -- and Roger Watt, group director (systems) in IST, says while that label may not be helpful, IST isn't in a position to break it down any further. "The by-protocol data," he says, "is from a summary table kept by 'flow analysis' software in the router that manages the external links. The table has built-in categories, over which we have no control. In previous years when the volume was much less, real-time analysis of the traffic stream showed a very large number of TCP/UDP protocols each of which was less than one percent. We expect that is still true."

E-mail, which once made up a goodly share of total Internet traffic, is down to just 2 per cent of the total.

[Graph, ever upward] The figures are based on computer network traffic week before last. "March represents the peak month of the peak term," the IST web page explains. "Each year, in the third week of March, we collect protocol-layer statistics on the traffic entering and leaving the campus network."

The average figure this year was 236.7 gigabytes per day, which can also be expressed as 21.9 megabits per second. That's up from 128.8 gigabytes, or 11.9 megabits, at the same time last year.

IST also has charts showing demand at various times of the day and night. Users have been commenting, says Watt, that these charts make it clear that UW almost never has enough general-Internet bandwidth. "What is being done about that?" Answer: "IST is exploring additional sources of UW funding to be able to increase UW's general-Internet bandwidth as demand continues to grow. Other than that, the congestion avoidance/control queuing algorithm appears to be effective at providing fair-share throughput during saturation."

Jay Black, associate provost (information systems and technology), adds: "There's not much more to be said; if we want to buy more internet bandwidth, we'll have to spend less on something else."

Three more Canada Research Chairs

Three UW faculty members were among the recipients of Canada Research Chairs announced Thursday by federal industry minister Allan Rock.

He said a total of $94.6 million will support the establishment of 88 new Canada Research Chairs at 33 universities across the country. The announcement brings to 532 the number of Canada Research Chairs that have been established since December 2000, including 13 at Waterloo.

The three new chairholders at UW include two whose appointments were already pretty well known, as they've been in the news with the creation of the Institute for Quantum Computing:

Along with funding for the chairs, Mosca and Laflamme are sharing a Canada Foundation for Innovation/Ontario Innovation Trust grant to carry on their research -- $262,813 from each agency.

The other new Chair recipient at UW is John Heikkila, of the biology department, Canada Research Chair in Stress Protein Gene Research, $200,000 a year for seven years (renewable indefinitely). His research involves the examination of heat shock or stress proteins in a model frog system. The work aims to improve understanding of heat shock proteins, with possible application for several diseases, as well as developing molecular biomarkers of environmental stress. Along with funding for the chair, Heikkila received a Canada Foundation for Innovation/Ontario Innovation Trust award -- $124,554 from each agency.


Have you personally been affected by the Ontario public service strike?

  Yes, it's caused major problems
  Yes, some small annoyances
  No, not so far anyway
  I didn't even realize there was a strike


Thursday's results

(Through Saturday evening, just before the ballot-box-stuffing began.)

What's the most attractive building on campus?
Dana Porter Library, 80
Davis Centre, 274
Health Services, 71
Math and Computer, 68
Student Life Centre, 202

Other notes as the month begins

UW's flags are at half-staff today, along with those all over Canada and many other lands, in memory of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who died Saturday.

Nominations are due by 3:00 today in the election of a staff representative on the UW board of governors -- the secretariat web site has details for anyone who needs them at the last minute.

The senate executive committee will meet at 3:30 this afternoon in Needles Hall room 3001.

There's been a change of location for a major lecture scheduled on Wednesday. Jörg Imberger, described as "the world's pre-eminent physical limnologist", will be here to speak on "Where the Water Flows: Energy Flux Paths in a Stratified Lake", sponsored by the Canada Trust Walter Bean Visiting Professorship in the Environment. His talk at 4:00 Wednesday has been moved from the Humanities Theatre to the biology amphitheatre, Biology I room 271.

The faculty association will hold its annual general meeting at 11 a.m. Friday in Physics room 145. At that meeting, results of the election for directors for the coming year will be announced, and association members are reminded to return their mail-in ballots by noon on Thursday.

The English Language Proficiency Examination will be available for writing Friday at 7 p.m. in the Physical Activities Complex, for students who still need to pass that requirement.

Reginald Bibby, well-known sociologist of religion from the University of Lethbridge, will speak Friday evening at St. Jerome's University, launching a two-day Catholics in Public Life Forum. I'll say more about that event in a day or two, but information is available now from St. Jerome's.

Linda Sitler Howe, who works here in the information and public affairs office, has an exhibition of her paintings at the Kitchener Public Library from now through April 26. The opening celebration will be held at KPL on Wednesday evening at 7:00.



April 1, 1985: The new parking lot B off Phillip Street opens for business, replacing a lot that's to become the site of the Davis Centre. It's so muddy that authorities give everyone who parks there a one-month refund of their fee.

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