Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Students clean up cityThe UW Federation of Students and its counterpart at Wilfrid Laurier University will hold the "Get Up, Clean Up" end-of-term tidiness blitz this afternoon, in partnership with the city of Waterloo. The program runs from 4 to 6 p.m.
Says a Federation announcement: "For those unfamiliar with the event, a section of the City is selected, and student volunteers, as well as members of the community get together to clean up the streets and yards of that neighborhood. This is an excellent opportunity for students to play a leading role in improving their environment, and show their support to the community.
"After the event, Feds and WLUSU will be hosting a BBQ for all volunteers and giving out prizes." Last-minute information should be available from Federation president Becky Wroe, e-mail email@example.com.
As I return, we're entering the last week of classes for the spring term. Friday is the final day, and (after Civic Holiday on Monday) exams will run August 3-13.
A highlight of the summer so far has been the roof repairs on the Dana Porter Library, including replacement of the copper siding. The building dates from 1965 and the original copper had long since gone dull, though not yet green like the roofs on Ottawa's landmark buildings. In its brand-new state, though, the Dana Porter roof complements the building's wedding-cake-white stucco and catches the sun brilliantly, when there's sun to catch. Today would be an exception. "Take a look at the new copper siding at Rod Coutts Hall," suggests Rick Zalagenas of the plant operations department. "It is oxidizing quickly, matching to the original material. It goes to a dull brown fairly rapidly, but the green patina takes many years to develop."
Among other developments on campus is this note from Chris Gilbert of the athletics department: "Jeremy Cross, 3A recreation student, has secured his final two co-op placements with the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His internship will oversee the Magic community relations programs and Magic Youth Foundation. He was the co-op student for Campus Recreation for fall 2003 and winter 2004. He has also been a convenor for campus rec basketball and an SPC (Student Program Coordinator). 'I'm really excited for this opportunity,' Cross mentioned. "It is a great way for me to finish my co-op. The experience I gained working for campus recreation last year was an asset for me to be considered for this position in Orlando.' Cross's first co-op position was with the Toronto Raptors in winter 2003, continuing his passion for sport and basketball. He will begin his new position August 23."
Jews around the world are marking Tisha B'Av today, including members of UW's Jewish Student Association, who have a special program to observe the day. "We are supposed to mourn the destruction of the first and second Temples and, as well, all of the numerous other tragedies that the Jews have gone through," a memo from the JSA executive reminds the group's members.
And . . . the Computer Science Club today presents "Game Complexity Theorists Ponder", a talk by Jonathan Buss, at 4:30 in Math and Computer room 2065. He writes: "I will describe how games can encode computations, and discuss some examples of both provably hard games (checkers, chess, go, etc.) and games that are believed to be hard (hex, jigsaw puzzles, etc.)."
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HPC, sometimes called supercomputing, allows scientists to employ extremely powerful computers to accelerate the pace of their research in a cost-effective virtual environment and, in many cases, to tackle complex scientific problems that could not otherwise be studied.
Sharcnet supports the research of some of Canada's pre-eminent academics, from strategies to combat foot and mouth and mad cow disease to new models to manage financial risk, by providing state-of-the-art HPC facilities that are hundreds or thousands of times faster than a regular desktop computer. Put in perspective, a Canadian researcher using Sharcnet can produce results that would have normally taken a year or more on a personal computer in a single day.
UW researchers involved with Sharcnet are Jeff Chen of physics and Edward Chrzanowski of computer science. Other institutions involved include Western, Guelph, McMaster, Laurier, York, Brock, UOIT, Fanshawe and Sheridan.
The total investment in this phase of Sharcnet involves $19.3 million each from CFI and the Ontario government and $10 million from Sharcnet's institutional and private sector partners. "This unprecedented investment clearly illustrates the importance of Sharcnet resources and services to the provincial and national research community," says Carmen Gicante, Sharcnet executive director. "Sharcnet is positioned to help both the province and the country become global leaders in research and innovation."
It's anticipated that once fully installed, the Sharcnet systems, housed at the consortium institutions, will be the most powerful in Canada and that Sharcnet will have at least one system within the top 70 in the world (according to the Top500 supercomputers list). In addition, Sharcnet will have data storage facilities that are the equivalent of tens of thousands of today's top-of-the-line personal computers and provide facilities that can visualize enormous sets of data, like the formation of stars and planets. It will also include affiliations with some of the province's leading research centres, including the Robarts Research Institute, the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo and the Fields Institute.
"In just under 4 years of operation, Sharcnet has attracted a world-leading academic community," said Sharcnet scientific director Hugh Couchman. "In this next evolution, Sharcnet will provide researchers with HPC facilities that are second to none in Canada and accelerate the production of results which are of benefit to our economy, health, environment, scientific knowledge and culture." The expansion is expected to support breakthroughs in such areas as human genomics, environmental protection, financial risk management, the containment of infectious human and animal diseases and the development nano-scale electronic devices.
Recreation and leisure studies. Fern Delamere, "'It's Just Really Fun!' A Constructionist Perspective of Violence and Gender Representations in Violent Video Games." Supervisor, Sue Shaw. On display in the faculty of applied health sciences, BMH room 3120. Oral defence, Thursday, August 5, 1 p.m., Matthews Hall room 3119.
Electrical and computer engineering. Jinfang Zhang, "Soft Handoff in Mc-CDMA Cellular Networks Supporting Multimedia Services." Supervisors, J. W. Mark and X. S. Shen. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH room 4367. Oral defence, Thursday, August 5, 1:30 p.m., CEIT room 3142.
Systems design engineering. Fu Jin, "Wavelet-Based Image and Video Processing." Supervisors, P. Fieguth and L. Winger. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH room 4367. Oral defence, Thursday, August 5, 1:30 p.m., Engineering II room 3324.
Civil engineering. Bingsheng Liu, "Numerical Simulations of Bonded Granular Material Under Uniaxial Compression." Supervisor, L. Rothenburg. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH room 4367. Oral defence, Tuesday, August 10, 9 a.m., Engineering II room 4404.
Biology. Vivian R. Dayeh, "Development of Similar Methodologies for Evaluating the Toxicity of Environmental Contaminants with Fish Cell Lines and Tetrahymena." Supervisor, N. C. Bols. On display in the faculty of science, ESC room 254A. Oral defence, Tuesday, August 10, 10 a.m., Biology I room 266.
Earth sciences. Alexander R. Blyth, "Radioactive Waste Disposal in the Crystalline Rock of Scandinavia: Case Studies of the Far-Field Environment." Supervisor, S. K. Frape. On display in the faculty of science, ESC room 254A. Oral defence, Thursday, August 12, 1 p.m., CEIT room 2053.