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Monday, November 21, 2005

  • CS school takes Cheriton name
  • About the $25 million gift
  • 'Internationally recognized' by 2017
  • Other notes and announcements
Chris Redmond

Hello, hello . . .


CS school takes Cheriton name

UW held celebrations Friday for a $25 million gift to an academic unit that from now on will bear the donor's name: the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science. The gift is "a stunning endorsement of the University of Waterloo", said president David Johnston.

The money comes from David R. Cheriton (right), a UW graduate (MMath 1974, PhD 1978), now a professor of CS at Stanford University and a noted venture capitalist in high-tech companies. The gift will establish the David R. Cheriton Endowment for Excellence in Computer Science to fund research chairs, faculty fellowships and graduate scholarships.

Cheriton himself didn't attend Friday's noontime event in the Davis Centre -- home of the CS school -- but was represented by Alan George, retired CS professor and associate provost (information systems and technology), who was one of his professors and is a good friend.

After earning his graduate degrees from UW, Cheriton spent three years at the University of British Columbia, then began his career at Stanford, where he heads the Distributed Systems Group. He is widely known for research in high-performance scalable systems, Internet architecture and hardware-software interaction, and successful commercialization of his research results. His current interests include distributed systems, next-generation Internet architecture, operating systems and object-oriented design techniques. He received a SigComm Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Computing Machinery in 2003.

In addition to his achievements in research, Cheriton has been involved in a number of startup companies both as co-founder and as investor, and has been a technical advisor to Sun Microsystems, Cisco, Google, VMware and Tibco. He was named one of Forbes magazine's Top Ten Venture Capitalists (2005) based on his seed investment in Google. Two years ago he received a Mathematics Alumni Achievement Award from UW.

Asked why he has made a multi-million-dollar gift -- one of the biggest UW has ever received -- Cheriton stated that UW "was a transformational experience for me, taking me from a naive undergraduate to the leading edge of computing research and providing the basis for my career. More personally, I treasure the friends I made at Waterloo and fond memories of those times. I am delighted to be in a position to give back to Waterloo and excited by what this gift may enable, building on Waterloo's strong faculty, students and reputation. Education is the best investment one can make, as I thankfully figured out early on."

George said he was gratified that "such an accomplished graduate of the University has paid such a tribute to the education and experience that he received. . . . David has symbolized the Waterloo spirit of innovation and commitment to excellence throughout his remarkable career, and we are very proud of him."

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  • About the $25 million gift

    Tom Coleman, dean of the faculty of mathematics (which includes CS), said he welcomed Cheriton's gift to UW as an investment in brainpower: "I have always known that Waterloo is an exceptional place for the study of mathematics and computer science, but David's gift simply underscores that what we have achieved is only the beginning." CS director Johnny Wong said that the newly renamed school "is committed to research excellence. The gift will have a lasting impact on our school; it enables us to significantly enhance our research activities through new chairs, fellowships and scholarships."

    A UW news release called the gift "transformational", and gave more information about what it means: "The purpose of the gift is to support named chairs, faculty fellowships and graduate scholarships that will place an emphasis on supporting research that addresses problems associated with designing and implementing efficient and reliable computing systems, along with their effective integration.

    "The donor desires to help UW and the School of Computer Science to increase and enhance talent by attracting, maintaining, and supporting excellent faculty and graduate students -- making a critical difference for the development of Computer Science at Waterloo and far beyond. The Cheriton Endowment will enable the School of Computer Science to attract superior talent and strategically support its most innovative activities.

    "The attachment of the David R. Cheriton name to the School of Computer Science at UW would, for all time, exemplify the exceptional talent that CS and UW are producing for the world -- individuals who are scholarly, innovative, entrepreneurial, successful, passionately committed and results oriented.

    "Two Cheriton Chairs in Software Systems will be created to provide important leadership for teaching and research, and for the purpose of advancing knowledge in traditional and emerging areas in computer science and interdisciplinary fields.

    "Six Cheriton Faculty Fellowships will be created in the School of Computer Science. These prestigious faculty appointments will rank among the very finest in the world, and will serve to attract, mentor and retain the most promising scholars from an exceptional pool of international talent.

    "Thirty Cheriton Scholarship positions will be awarded to graduate students in the School of Computer Science. These highly sought-after graduate positions will provide students with a unique environment in which to develop their skills and spur them on to even higher levels of achievement.

    "The University of Waterloo is honoured to recognize David R. Cheriton's exceptional generosity by creating a lasting reminder for future generations of UW students and faculty in naming the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo." The statement said a special event "to publicly announce the gift and naming" will be held in September 2006.

    'Internationally recognized' by 2017

    A draft plan for UW's future, being presented to the university senate this afternoon, has the title "Pursuing Global Excellence" and includes specific recommendations about how to make Waterloo "one of the most innovative universities in the world".

    The plan comes from provost Amit Chakma, building on reports and proposals he's been seeing from faculties, departments and other groups across the university. It reads like a more detailed version of the talk Chakma gave earlier this month to a group of faculty and staff members, calling on them to help "make UW one of the great universities of the world". The nine-page document will be discussed by the senate's long-range planning committee at a midafternoon meeting (3:00, Needles Hall room 3004) and then have "first reading, for discussion in subsequent months" at the monthly meeting of the senate itself.

    Miniature art show and silent auction, department of fine arts, preview Monday-Thursday, sale November 25 from 4:30 to 9:00, East Campus Hall.

    Computational mathematics colloquium: Andrew Odlyzko, University of Minnesota, "Zeros of the Riemann Zeta Function: Computations and Implications", 2:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

    Laurier Lecture in Canadian Studies: Nathalie Des Rosiers, University of Ottawa, "Canadian Leadership Through Democratic Ideals", 4:30, Paul Martin Centre, Wilfrid Laurier University.

    'Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price', free film showing sponsored by Federation of Students, 8:00, Humanities Theatre.

    Music student recital Tuesday 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

    Teaching research project presentations by graduate students in the Certificate in University Teaching program: Joanne Benham Rennick, "Encouraging Deep Learning by Teaching to Students' Primary Learning Styles", Jessica Huber, "Applying Self-Directed Learning Principles", Tuesday 1:00, Math and Computer room 5158. TRACE research projects

    Electronic grade submission demonstration 2:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

    Germanic and Slavic lecture: Nicola Würffel, University of Giessen, Germany, "Learner Strategies and Problems in Web-Based Foreign Language Learning", Tuesday 3:30, Humanities room 373.

    Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology information session Tuesday 4:00, Needles Hall room 1101.

    'Still We Ride' documentary about 2004 confrontation between police and bicyclists in New York, Tuesday 5:30, Davis Centre room 1304, sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group.

    Kerr-Saltsman Lecture on International Affairs: Robert Fisk, The Independent, "The Great War for Civilization", Tuesday 7:00, Federation Hall.

    Operation Wallacea scientific conservation expeditions, information session Wednesday 3:00, Needles Hall room 3004, about opportunities for students to be involved in biodiversity monitoring, as well as faculty research possibilities.

    'Nahanni Forever': presentation about the Nahanni River wilderness, Northwest Territories, sponsored by Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Wednesday 7:30, Theatre of the Arts, admission free.

    Staff association craft sale Thursday and Friday, Davis Centre room 1301.

    "The circumstance precipitating UW's establishment in 1957 was the space race and critical unmet need for engineers," Chakma writes on the first page of the report. "Half a century later a very different circumstance, global competition, is informing how UW needs to direct its energies."

    The plan is officially for the "Sixth Decade", beginning when UW marks its 50th birthday in July 2007 and continuing through 2017. "By 2017," the provost writes, "UW will aim to become internationally recognized," and it will have "two international campuses with focused activities abroad . . . physical presence in select key locations in Canada and abroad." Total full-time enrolment will hit 30,000, up from today's 24,000, the report says, with the increase coming entirely through a huge jump in graduate student enrolment.

    Among other proposals and goals: "All undergraduate students will participate in a 'research' or equivalent 'inquiry based learning' project. . . . Increase research revenue to 50% of the operating budget from the current level of 30%. . . . Be in the top three in Canada in attracting first-year students with 90% plus grades. . . . By 2017, UW will offer a mix of experiential learning opportunities to all regular students. . . . A worldwide program to involve alumni in the recruitment of students and other UW activities. . . . Cumulative funds raised by Campaign Waterloo, by the end of the sixth decade, to exceed a billion dollars."

    The report says international students should make up 20 per cent of the undergraduate student population, and 30 per cent of graduate students. In the other direction, "at least 25% of UW undergraduate students will spend an academic or co-op work term abroad."

    Also on the agenda for tonight's senate meeting, which starts at 4:30 in Needles Hall room 3001, are reports from the University Appointments Review Committee and the Tenure and Promotion Advisory Committee; 2006-07 academic calendar dates, including the longstanding issue of whether the February reading break should be two days or a full week; reports from St. Paul's College and the university librarian.

    Other notes and announcements

    Organizers of the on-campus United Way campaign reported late last week that success has been reached. "We now sit at $170,578," said a memo from office manager Jonah Levine, who noted that the goal of $165,000 this year has been exceeded by 3.4 per cent. Most of the money, of course, came from gifts and pledges by staff, faculty and retirees -- more than $157,000 worth -- but $13,000 raised by more than 90 on-campus special events is what pushed the total over the line. "It's no secret," writes Levine, "that our success is due in large part to the dedication of our volunteers." Those volunteers will be invited to a thank-you lunch next week.

    An information meeting is being held today about the third round of the "International Industrial Training Program", offered in India by the department of mechanical engineering. A memo explains that the eight-week session will start in January, and is open to first-year engineering students (from all departments) who aren't employed for the winter work term: "This program will provide a selected group of up to 28 students with exposure to engineering skills including machining, welding, CAD, blueprint reading, metrology and electric circuits and motor control. . . . The program is designed to prepare our students for the global economy and expose them to experiences that will inculcate practical hands-on skills, confidence, self-reliance and an appreciation for the different cultures around the world." Students in the program will be heading for Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology in Patiala in the Punjab region of India. "In order to join the program, students will go through an interview process and once selected students will pay a fee of approximately $500 each," with the university paying the rest of the cost. "Students will not get any stipend during the term; however, all the students are encouraged to apply for financial aid and bursary from the University awards office." Today's information meeting starts at 11:30 in Davis Centre room 1351.

    Waterloo Regional Police laid another charge last week in the September 23 death of UW student Chandru Nagulasigamany and his brother, Soumiyan, when they were struck by a vehicle on Dearborn Place in Waterloo. One man was arrested last month in Connecticut; now police have arrested Edwin Rasanayagam in Vancouver and charged him with second-degree murder. All the men involved are from the Toronto area; the younger Nagulasigamany was visiting his brother at UW that weekend.

    A proud memo comes from Marcia Ruby in the offices of Alternatives Journal, "Canada's most enduring environmental magazine", published from UW's faculty of environmental studies. "It is the second year in a row that Alternatives has been nominated for best environmental coverage in the Utne Independent Press Awards," she reports. "Utne has been surveying the best of alternative press for the last 20 years. All nominees are American magazines except for Alternatives and Britain's The Ecologist. The final award winners will be announced in the January/February edition of Utne." And there's more: "Alternatives has also been nominated for the K-W Peace Medallion in the category of Strong Community. Each year the K-W YMCA recognizes peacemakers who inspire and impact the lives of others through their peaceful endeavours. The 2005 K-W YMCA Peace Medal Awards will honour youths, adults and groups from all walks of life who commit their time to advancing peace within themselves, their families, and their communities either at home or abroad." Results in that competition will be announced this Thursday.

    Midfielders Stephanie Clutterbuck and Nuala Marshall of UW's Warriors have been named to the Ontario University Athletics all-star team as the women's soccer season ends. . . . Chilled water will be turned off in much of the Doug Wright Engineering building tomorrow for repairs. . . . The November 30 retirement reception for Angelo Graham of UW's safety office has been moved to the University Club (3:30) because the previous location wasn't big enough for all the people who have already said they want to attend. . . .

    Finally, my embarrassed thanks to all the readers, and there were a fair number of them, who pointed out that Joanne Atlee is a professor of computer science, not chemistry. I referred to her, and her current sabbatical, in Friday's Daily Bulletin, and somehow moved her halfway across campus.


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