Tuesday, January 9, 2007

  • Technology conference opens Thursday
  • President's memo on anniversary party
  • The birth of the UWaterloosaurus
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • credmond@uwaterloo.ca

Link of the day

Consumer Electronics Show

When and where

Campus recreation instructional program registration today through Thursday, 9:00 to 4:00, athletics office, Physical Activities Complex. "Try-It Night" today 5 to 8 p.m.; details online.

Engineering Society's Frost Week activities continue: toboggan construction 11:30, Carl Pollock Hall foyer, followed by testing on the hill by Rod Coutts Hall; entertainment.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Wenran Jiang, University of Alberta, "China as the Thirsty Dragon and Canada as the Energy Superpower", 11:45 a.m., 57 Erb Street West, complimentary lunch, reservations 519-885-2444 ext. 338.

Arts faculty council 3:30, Humanities room 373.

'Business After 5' networking opportunity with local professionals, sponsored by Federation of Students and K–W Chamber of Commerce, 5 to 7 p.m., Federation Hall.

Leave the Pack Behind "Let's Make a Deal" stop-smoking contest, registration 5 to 7 p.m. in Village I, next week in Student Life Centre, details online.

Library books borrowed on term loan before the beginning of December are due Wednesday; return or renew.

Application deadline for Ontario high school students seeking September admission to UW is January 10, with some exceptions, details online.

Women in Mathematics supper party — all women math undergrads, grad students and faculty invited, Wednesday 5 p.m., information mprelic@math.

Clubs, Feds Services and Societies Days, information about student organizations, Thursday and Friday 10:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre great hall.

Learning Object presentation on the "Monty Hall problem" by David DiBattista, Brock University, sponsored by LT3, scheduled for Thursday, postponed to March 8, 2:00, details online.

City of Waterloo open house with information about proposed sports field project and changes to UW north campus environmental reserve, Thursday 5 to 8 p.m., Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex, information 519-747-8642.

Healthy Weight brown-bag series sponsored by Employee Assistance Program, second talk Friday 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302 (changed from originally announced date of Thursday).

Blood donor clinic January 15-19, Student Life Centre, make appointments now at turnkey desk.

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[Man installing fitness equipment]

Fitness equipment is waiting at the Columbia Lake Health Club, which will open Friday as the first occupant of the new TechTown community centre at 340 Hagey Boulevard. "Each component of the TechTown complex has been designed based on the needs that were identified by professionals living in Waterloo and working in the Research Park," says developer Tobi Jenkins. "Columbia Lake Health Club will have the most advanced fitness technology." The next tenant in the centre, the Kids & Co. day care centre, is expected to open in February.

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Technology conference opens Thursday

A greeting from prime minister Stephen Harper awaits students who take part in the Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference, to be held in Toronto this weekend.

“I would like to commend the organizers for putting together a program that is sure to stimulate a great deal of thoughtful discussion,” the prime minister writes. “Canada’s economic development is strongly linked to technological innovation and research. This symposium, now in its eighth year, offers students, academics and industry leaders an ideal forum in which to exchange information and ideas about cutting-edge technological research. With its hands-on workshops and technological displays, this event will no doubt enhance participants’ knowledge and skills, thereby contributing to Canada’s competitiveness and prosperity.”

CUTC was founded by UW students, and the organizing committee is mostly made up of Waterloo faces, including co-chair Dmitriy Mitchev, a software engineering student.

“This 3-day conference,” a news release says, “brings together students from across Canada with academia and industry leaders from across the world. CUTC is Canada’s largest undergraduate technology conference with over 650 delegates and participants from companies such as Microsoft, Research in Motion, Apple, ATI, Telus, Bell and many others. Throughout the event students participate in 5 major keynote sessions given by professors and company leaders, as well as attend seminars on the most recent innovations in technology. They also take part in activities that provide hands-on experience for solving real-world problems through decision making in both the technical and business aspects of technology.

“What makes CUTC a unique event compared to other conferences is its special events. The most renowned event is TechExpo, an exhibition of the latest technology with company representatives present to talk to students and answer questions. This event is favoured both by students and companies as it displays technology present in research labs and on the market, while providing great business networking opportunities. Other special events include TechShow (a talk-show event set up to interview industry leaders, while giving out prizes and playing games), TechTours (tours of specific company facilities in the area), and TechShops (design workshops).

“This year’s conference will see the inauguration of TechTeam, a design competition based on real-world issues. The issues are presented as case studies by select companies on the first day of the conference, and the students taking part will have 3 days to come up with a design solution. The select companies will award the best two designs for each topic (four topics in total) at the closing banquet.”

Keynote speakers at CUTC will include Nobel Prize winner John Polanyi of the University of Toronto; Doug Cooper, manager, Intel Canada; David Orton, an executive vice-president of AMD; and Peter Hortensius and Roger Skubowius of Google Waterloo. Seminar speakers come from such companies and organizations as DataMirror Corp., the Canadian Space Agency, General Dynamics Canada, Motorola, and Siemens Canada. Two are from UW: electrical and computer engineering professor David Wang, talking about his research in haptics (virtual reality interfaces involving the sense of touch), and Srinivasan Keshav of the school of computer science.

Keshav will describe a project in which he’s involved: “We have developed a robust system to provide Internet access to rural kiosks. It is based on two ideas. First, each kiosk has a small, cheap, tamper-resistant 'kiosk controller' that manages one or more refurbished PCs. Second, kiosk controllers exchange data with the Internet by wireless communication with similar single-board computers carried on vehicles such as buses, cars, and trucks. Vehicles opportunistically pick up messages from kiosks, carry them on board, and drop them off at gateways, where they enter the Internet. Our system is low-cost and economically viable. We estimate that our system requires a capex of $100 to $700/kiosk, depending on the configuration, and an opex of $75/kiosk/month, including the cost of field technicians and capital depreciation. This is four to ten times cheaper than other solutions. Our system is rapidly deployable: we successfully installed a prototype in Anandapuram village, Vishakapatnam district, AP, in two days during May 2006.”

The conference will run from Thursday to Saturday at the Hilton Hotel on Toronto’s Richmond Street West. "Some subsidies are still available for UW students," communications coordinator Shruti Satsangi said yesterday.

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President's memo on anniversary party

"2007 will be an exciting time at UW as we celebrate our 50th anniversary," writes UW president David Johnston in a memo sent across campus late last week. "It will be a time for us to remember our past, celebrate our successes and look to the future."

He goes on: "The official launch of this year-long celebration is scheduled to take place on January 11. This event has been designed specifically with a UW internal-community focus so that we as faculty, staff, retirees and students can celebrate together. Recognizing the importance of this launch event, we have designated the 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. period as paid work time for all UW staff and faculty.

"For those departments providing essential services and thus obligated to remain open during this two-hour period, please try to make arrangements so that everyone may participate. It is important that everyone has the opportunity to celebrate in UW's anniversary launch event.

"Invitations have been sent out that highlight the activities for this year's festivities. A full, exciting 1950s-theme program is planned, and includes music, special entertainment, audience activities and complimentary lunch. A huge crowd is expected at the Physical Activities Complex for this fun event. Don't miss this opportunity to be part of UW's history as we celebrate together."

For night-shift staff who can't make it at noontime, there will be an evening celebration from 10 p.m. to midnight on Thursday in South Campus Hall.

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[Two dinosaurs among lush trees]
The birth of the UWaterloosaurus

from the UW media relations office

After painting the Mennonite way of life, local artist Peter Etril Snyder will try his hand at portraying something a bit older — a dinosaur.

As part of the UW 50th anniversary celebrations, Snyder will spend the next two months painting an eight-foot by eight-foot mural of parasaurolophus dinosaurs for UW's Earth Sciences Museum at a vacant store in Waterloo Town Square. The space, donated courtesy of First Gulf Development Corp., will be called the UWaterloosaurus Store. Pictured is a portion of Snyder's sketch for the intended painting.

The artist will work on the mural during the week. Visitors will be able to view his progress and chat with Snyder and people from the museum on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. "We hope that parents will bring their children to view the changes made to the mural each week and participate in some of the hands-on activities, dinosaur painting, fossil fish dig and rock critter making," said Peter Russell, curator of the museum. The presentations will be suitable for children and adults.

Parasaurolophus is one of the dinosaur replicas purchased in 1982. The museum recently received a missing back leg funded by museum donors and a grant from the Canadian Geological Foundation. Russell said the donors attended a special dinner in support of the project last April at the museum's March Networks exhibit atrium on campus. "Peter Etril was part of this group and said he was open to the idea of painting a mural."

Snyder's mural will be installed in the March Networks exhibit atrium — the heart of the Centre for Environmental and Information Technology building — in March. A keynote speaker from Alberta will give a public lecture on dinosaurs in late March.

Photographs showing weekly progress will be posted on the website, together with the winning entries of a dinosaur art contest for young visitors.


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