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Thursday, March 4, 2004

  • Students showcase engineering this week
  • Virus carries fake UW address
  • Nine profs win research excellence awards
  • Lectures explore Mennonite community
Chris Redmond

Just before Purim, the Fast of Esther

[Black truck]

This Silverado is one of the vehicles converted to a contest-winner by the UW Alternative Fuels Team

Students showcase engineering this week

Engineering students will be at Conestoga Mall in north Waterloo today to raise awareness about the importance of engineering and technology and to encourage young people to consider careers in engineering and technology.

Engineering student projects, including Formula SAE, Mini-Baja, WARG, and Midnight Sun, will be on display at the mall from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. as part of Waterloo's contribution to National Engineering Week.

"We want people to come out and take a look at our displays and see what kind of things engineering students do. We will have plenty of people on hand to answer questions about the projects or engineering in general, says Marc Joyce, co-director of National Engineering Week for the Engineering Society. The Tool, the Ridgid 60-inch straight pipe wrench that is the engineering mascot, will also be on display.

This weekend, students will be on hand at the Waterloo Regional Children's Museum helping to run K'nex construction workshops for local children. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, volunteers will work with children on the popular building materials to help light the spark of imagination.

Another feature of Engineering Week will be the 28th annual Bus Push, to be held Saturday starting at 10 a.m. As in the past, engineers will push a disabled Grand River Transit bus from campus into downtown Kitchener along University Avenue and King Street. This year's charity fund-raiser will support the MS Society of Canada through a pledge to the UW Engineering Team at the spring Super Cities Walk for MS.

Virus carries fake UW address

Mydoom, Bagle, Netsky -- the computer viruses keep coming, and yesterday they were arriving with return addresses that hit close to home.

PC World

Globe and Mail

Michigan State U

Many examples of the Bagle (or Beagle) virus arrived with such return addresses as "administration@uwaterloo.ca" and content telling users to take immediate action to protect their e-mail accounts. They're fakes, designed to get people to open attachments that carry the virus.

"We have been fielding calls in the IST helpdesk about this virus throughout the day," says Jason Greatrex of information systems and technology. "These official looking messages have a malicious .zip or .pif file attached to them. Please use extreme caution."

Users with questions can reach the help desk at ext. 4357, or find out more about the virus from Symantec.

It's not just Waterloo, as the same problem is happening at other institutions -- the University of Delaware, for example, put out a similar warning yesterday.

Nine profs win research excellence awards -- from the UW media relations office

Nine faculty members are recipients of the Premier's Research Excellence Awards, which aim to encourage innovation among Ontario's best and brightest young researchers within 10 years of receiving their PhDs.

The researchers will each get $150,000 over the next five years, with $100,000 in provincial money and $50,000 from university or corporate co-sponsors. The funding supports graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and other young researchers working with the PREA recipients. The latest UW PREA recipients come from across the campus:

  • Mark Aagaard, electrical and computer engineering, "Verified Design Patterns for Pipelined Circuits." He explains: "In the design of digital hardware systems, such as microprocessors, design engineers usually choose evolutionary solutions over radical innovations. Even if the radical innovations would provide significant benefits in performance, area or power, engineers are hesitant to explore new regions of the design space for fear of introducing bugs into their hardware." The PREA funding will enable Aagaard to recruit a post-doctoral fellow to develop verified design patterns for pipe-lined circuits, used in digital-hardware systems ranging from simple signal-processing filters to high-performance microprocessors.

  • Otman Basir, systems design, "Biologically Inspired Sensory Modules for Intelligent Vehicles." The award will enable Basir to investigate and develop innovative biologically inspired sensors and sensing techniques with emphasis on intelligent transportation systems in the car industry. The research should result in significant publication activity in the field of intelligent transportation systems design technologies that can be commercialized.

  • Duane Cronin, mechanical engineering, "Advanced Numerical Modeling of Trauma to the Human Body." Says Cronin:
    [Layers: ceramic, composite, anti-trauma]

    "Typical hybrid armour" that might be used by peacekeepers -- a diagram on Duane Cronin's Impact Biomechanics web site

    "The Premier's Research Excellence Award will allow me to expand vital areas of my current research program in Impact Biomechanics and significantly advance an emerging area of research in numerical modelling of trauma to the human body. The techniques and knowledge developed in this area will lead towards the development of a 'virtual human' for use in assessing and improving automotive vehicle crashworthiness."

  • Krzysztof Czarnecki, E&CE, "Generative Domain Modelling for Rapid Software Application Development." The award will help will help launch a research program aimed at improving productivity and quality in software development through generative technologies. The project will lead to tool prototypes and case studies.

  • Derek Koehler, psychology, "Individual Retirement Savings and Credit Card Debt: Good Intentions, Optimistic Predictions and Costly Decisions." "Much of my research concerns how people make predictions and plans," Koehler says, adding that the award will allow him to extend his research to the topic of financial planning and decision-making. He will probe the role of overly optimistic predictions regarding future financial expenditures in the tendency of many individuals to accumulate credit card debt and save insufficiently for retirement. By investigating how people predict their future spending and saving, the research will help to provide a foundation for development of tools that Canadians can use to more realistically evaluate their financial future and take the steps necessary to make it brighter.

  • Robert Linsley, fine arts, "Painting as a Paradigm for Conceptual, Sculptural and Installation Practices Since the Late 1960s." Linsley will supervise research on abstract painting and sculpture of the period from 1967 to 1972 and original creative work by young artists. The aim is to explore why abstract painting became the source for new directions in sculpture and installation, and how an understanding of that history can enable new departures in contemporary art.

  • Zoran Miskovic, applied math, "Interactions of Nano-Particles with Matter." Besides forming a research group in the area of interactions of nano-particles, the award will help Miskovic's group establish contacts and initiate collaborations with a broad range of nano-researchers through the relevant national and international networks. "Since nano-science is an extremely rapidly developing area, it is imperative to stay alert of the ongoing research activity," he says.

  • Mahesh Pandey, civil engineering, "Risk Assessment and Cost Effective Management of Energy Systems and Infrastructure." Improvement in power generation and transmission capacity is considered key to economic success and an enhanced quality of life in Ontario and Canada. The award will enable work to develop scientific protocols for inspection, assessment and refurbishment of power transmission systems. "The research results of the program are expected to reduce the operating costs, improve the efficiency and prolong the service life of critical engineering systems in power generation and transmission facilities," Pandey says.

  • Edlyn Teske, combinatorics and optimization, "Number-Theoretic Security of Public-Key Cryptosystems." "I anticipate exciting joint work on current and new public-key cryptographic schemes, both in terms of theoretical investigations and practical implementations," Teske says. "Disseminating our results in print and presentations will result in increased confidence in currently deployed cryptographic tools and will provide guidance for future applications in sectors such as electronic commerce or homeland security."

    'Learning Design: Developing New Standards", LT3 workshop, 10:30, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library.

    Funeral service for Gerard Campbell, St. Jerome's University philosophy professor, 11:00, St. John's Roman Catholic Church, Strange Street, Kitchener.

    'Hydraulic Habitats in Streams and Rivers", Robert Newbury, Newbury Hydraulics, 1:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

    Career workshops: "Interview Skills", 2:30, "Preparing for Questions", 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

    New York alumni reception, 6 to 8 p.m., Canadian Club, West 44 Street.

    Arriscraft architecture lecture, Barry Sampson, "Inflection and Innuendo: Building and Just After", 7 p.m., Environmental Studies II room 286.

    'Spiritual Fitness for Life', Mohamed Elmasry, presented by Spiritual Heritage Education Network, 7 p.m., Math and Computer room 4021.

    'The Reception of Islamic Science in Western Europe", George Saliba, Columbia University, 7 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 101.

    'After the Double Cohort: Student-Community Relations", symposium sponsored by City of Waterloo, opening panel tonight 8 p.m., Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex.

    Bomber beach party with music and raffles, proceeds to increasing accessibility at Renison College, starts 9 p.m., Bombshelter Pub.

    Warrior Weekend events Friday (karaoke, "Mona Lisa Smile", "Gothika") and Saturday (coffee house, juggling festival), Student Life Centre.

    Charity Ball sponsored by Smiling Over Sickness, dinner and dancing at Knights of Columbus Hall, Thursday, March 11, tickets $25 from SOS booth in Student Life Centre.

    Lectures explore Mennonite community

    Nancy Heisey, president of the Mennonite World Conference, will present the 2004 Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist Mennonite Studies at Conrad Grebel University College tonight and tomorrow. "Life and Witness within the Global Mennonite World Conference Community" is the theme.

    Tonight, Heisey will speak about "Shaping and Being Shaped: Anabaptist Identity(ies) Past and Present". Friday, her lecture is entitled "Martyrdom as Metaphor: Aspects of Global Anabaptist Witness". Both lectures will start at 7 p.m. in the great hall at Conrad Grebel. A reception will follow the presentation.

    Heisey is associate professor of biblical studies and church history at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia.

    "We're particularly pleased to have Nancy Heisey present the 2004 Bechtel Lectures," said Henry Paetkau, Grebel's president. "She will help us think beyond the North American experience of 'being Mennonite' and consider what it means to be part of a global Mennonite and Brethren in Christ community." A global perspective is important and appropriate not only for a lecture series dedicated to Anabaptist/Mennonite themes but also for Conrad Grebel, which stands in that faith tradition, he said.

    The Bechtel Lectures in Anabaptist Mennonite Studies were established in 2000 by Waterloo County businessman and farmer Lester Bechtel, in honour of his late wife, Alma. The purpose of the lectureship is to foster interest in and understanding of Anabaptist/Mennonite faith by seeing it through the eyes of experts from a range of disciplines.


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