Friday, June 15, 2007

  • Convocation for math, engineering
  • Robot is ready for underwater trial
  • $1.1 million from CFI for nine projects
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

UW's car scores with lowest emissions

UW’s Alternative Fuels Team finished the third stage of the Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility competition with four firsts and in seventh place overall, the engineering faculty’s e–newsletter reports. “The top awards were for lowest emissions, best traction control, sportsmanship and youth outreach. The team, the only Canadian entry in the recent competition in Milford, Michigan, picked up the second place prize for innovation use of graphical systems design and placed third in three categories.”

It quotes co-captain Erik Wilhelm: "The competition was very tight this year. Some of the internal combustion teams had an entire year to refine their vehicles, where we were essentially rebuilding our entire powertrain. The team put in a commendable effort, however, because we still wound up ahead of 10 other teams who had been able to run their vehicles at last year’s competition."

In 2005, UWAFT won first place overall in the competition’s initial phase. Originally a three-part competition, it has been extended to include a road trip next year.

Link of the day

Uptown Country Festival | Waterloo Classic 10K

When and where

Health Informatics Bootcamp sponsored by Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research, continues today.

[Warrior Weekends logo]
Warrior Weekend
free activities in the Student Life Centre Friday and Saturday evenings: movies ("Reno 911: Miami" and "Dreamgirls" on Friday, "Grumpy Old Men" on Saturday), pizza, chess, bingo, details online.

Risk Management and Insurance conference sponsored by Institute for Quantitative Finance and Insurance, Saturday, Math and Computer building room 2065, details online. Six keynote speakers including Paul Embrechts and Hans Bühlmann, ETH Zürich, and Peter Song, UW statistics and actuarial science.

'Vision' student-run conference, "Tomorrow's Health Leaders Together Today", with speakers, workshops and networking on non-traditional professions in health, Saturday, Davis Centre, details online. Keynote speakers include Frederick Bowman, Harvard-MIT health science technology program, and Kaushik Ramaiya, physician and medical administrator with World Health Organization.

Toronto Blue Jays Saturday, trip organized by Graduate Student Association, tickets (game $7, bus $10) on sale at Grad House.

Bojangles dance recitals Saturday and Sunday, Humanities Theatre.

Kids' bike rodeo at Columbia Lake Village community centre, Sunday 2 p.m.

Combinatorics and optimization 40th anniversary conference June 18-23, details online.

Nanoforum Canada with talks on science, medical and engineering-related topics, Monday-Wednesday, Theatre of the Arts and other locations, details online.

Matthews Golf Classic annual event Monday, Grand Valley Golf Course, details online.

Senate long-range planning committee Monday 3:30, Needles Hall room 3004, agenda focuses on position paper about high school outreach programs.

UW senate monthly meeting Monday 4:30, Needles Hall room 3001.

Staff association annual general meeting Tuesday 9:00 a.m., Math and Computer room 2017.

George Dixon, dean of science, reception as his term ends, Tuesday 4:00 to 5:30, University Club, RSVP ext. 3-3363; contributions being accepted to Faculty of Science Scholarship Fund.

25-Year Club annual reception and recognition of 25-year and 35-year staff and faculty, Tuesday 6:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex, information ext. 3-2078.

Ralph and Eileen Lebold Endowment fund-raising banquet, Tuesday 6:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College dining room, information ext. 2-4381.

UW farm market organized by Food Services, first market of the season, Wednesday 9:00 to 1:00 (change from previously announced date), Student Life Centre.

John Westlake, co-operative education and career services, celebration of career-long contributions, Wednesday 4 to 6 p.m., University Club; RSVP ext. 3-3926; gift contributions being accepted.

UW observatory presents Michael Balogh, "Observatories of the 21st Century", followed by tour of the Bakos Observatory, Wednesday 8 p.m., Physics room 145.

Education Credit Union grand opening of new branch in TechTown, 340 Hagey Boulevard, Thursday 12:00 noon.

National Aboriginal Day barbecue and celebration Thursday, June 21, 12:00 to 3:00, St. Paul's College, featuring Blue Stone Cloud Drum Group, information

Surplus sale of furniture and other UW property, Thursday 12:30 to 2:00, central stores, East Campus Hall.

Computer science distinguished lecture: Vincent Cerf, Google Inc., on the future of the Web, Thursday 1:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre, admission free.

Living Wall unveiling and plaque presentation to donors, June 22, 10:30 a.m., Environmental Studies I foyer.

'Minds of Modern Mathematics' wall mural unveiled by department of pure mathematics, Friday 12:00 noon, Math and Computer room 5046; informal lunch follows, information ext. 3-3484.

Warrior football camp for youngsters entering grades 9 through 12, June 24 (1 to 5 p.m.) and 25-27 (6 to 8 p.m.) with Warrior coaches and players, fee $75, details online.

[Both in academic robes and smiles]Convocation for math, engineering

Convocation week continues with the customary rituals, including the weight of ancient academic garb (no joke in the middle of a heat wave). Pictured at left: Fred McCourt, retired from the department of chemistry, receives his credentials as Distinguished Professor Emeritus from UW chancellor Mike Lazaridis at Wednesday afternoon's ceremony.

This morning brings the first of two Convocation sessions focusing on the faculty of mathematics, and after that here's the lowdown:

Ninety-fourth Convocation, sixth session

When and where: Friday, June 15, 2:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex
Degrees: Faculty of mathematics (computer science), software engineering program
Valedictorian: Ahsan Butt, software engineering
Honorary degrees: Andries van Dam, Brown University computer scientist (will give the convocation address); Duncan Luce, University of California at Irvine
J. W. Graham Medal: Ricardo Baeza-Yates
Honorary Member of the University: Shirley Thomson, former administrator, co-chair of 50th Anniversary Committee
Governor General’s Silver Medal: Matei Alexandru Zaharia, bachelor’s in computer science
Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Studies: Celine Latulipe, PhD in computer science
Social notes: Mathematics pre-convocation reception 12:00 noon, Student Life Centre great hall. General reception after the ceremony, Student Life Centre.

Ninety-fourth Convocation, seventh session

When and where: Saturday, June 16, 10:00 a.m., Physical Activities Complex
Degrees: Faculty of engineering: some programs, including architecture
Valedictorian: Jennifer Carroll, mechanical engineering
Honorary degrees: Mona Zaghloul, George Washington University, first woman to receive a PhD in engineering from UW (will give the convocation address); George Raithby, distinguished professor emeritus, mechanical engineering
Distinguished Teacher: Wei-Chau Xie, civil engineering
Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Studies: Mamdouh Al-Harthi, PhD in chemical engineering
Social notes: General reception after the ceremony, Student Life Centre.

Ninety-fourth Convocation, eighth session

When and where: Saturday, June 16, 2:00 p.m., Physical Activities Complex
Degrees: Faculty of engineering: electrical and computer engineering, systems design engineering, Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology
Valedictorian: Robert Staruch, computer engineering
Honorary degrees: Rod Coutts, co-founder of Teklogix, UW benefactor; Savvas Chamberlain, distinguished professor emeritus, electrical engineering, and founder of Dalsa Corp.; both will address convocation.
University Professor: Keith Hipel, systems design engineering
Governor General’s Silver Medal: Pok Man Clarence Chow, BASc in computer engineering
Alumni Gold Medal: Lisa Yun Chen, electrical engineering
Social notes: General reception after the ceremony, Student Life Centre.

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Robot is ready for underwater trial

from the engineering faculty's e-newsletter

The University of Waterloo's Underwater Technology Team, known as (UW)2TT, is heading for its maiden competition, the International ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) Competition for Students, being held at Memorial University in Newfoundland from June 22 to 24. Fifty student teams from all over the world, including Canada, the United States, Iran and China, will compete in three challenges:they’ll thread a cable through a buoy while fighting a current in the flume tank; perform simulated oil drilling equipment maintenance in the wave tank; and scoop up simulated marine life (actually ping pong balls) under the ice in the ice tank.

[Team's display board]"We probably have the most technically advanced robot going in,” says Jason Gillham, a mechanical engineering student who will graduate with his BASc tomorrow. “Our goal isn’t to win the competition but rather to develop neat technologies and educate the students involved. Still, I think we have a chance to do very well.”

(UW)2TT is one of the newest Waterloo student teams. Founded in November 2005 by Gillham, the team has involved about 40 students and currently has 15 active members who have worked on the robot shown above in a schematic drawing.

Most of the team’s work has gone into more intuitive controls. A typical underwater ROV is steered with two joy sticks, with a third controlling the camera. The camera for the Waterloo robot is hooked up to an EngSoc hard hat with added virtual reality goggles worn by the pilot. There’s an inertial sensor hidden in the crown. “To turn the camera, you turn your head,” Gillham explains.

Likewise the robot’s motion is controlled by a single knob. “You push it forward to go forward, back to go back,” says Gillham. “You can tell I’ve never played video games. I’m not very good at complicated controls.” But he’s not just thinking of himself. “I think if you make something easier to use, people will do a better job using it.”

The team is putting the final touches on its robot. Today, members plan to work out the last of the water bugs in the fluid mechanics test tank, in Engineering III, room 2103. “If people are interested, they’re welcome to drop by,” says Gillham. “We expect to be at it all day.”

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$1.1 million from CFI for nine projects

from the UW media relations office

Nine Waterloo researchers have received funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to perform work in such wide-ranging areas as knee injuries, drug treatments, car pollution and obsessive-compulsive disorders. The researchers have been awarded grants totalling $1.1 million from CFI's leaders opportunity fund, designed to assist universities in attracting and retaining top faculty. The nine projects will also receive funding from other sources, including the Ontario government.

"These investments at Waterloo will help ensure that new researchers and their students have access to a world-class research and training environment," said Alan George, UW's vice-president (university research). The UW recipients:

• “Knee Injury: Impact and Tissue Assessment Facility”. Naveen Chandrashekar, professor of mechanical engineering, with Duane Cronin and John Medley, also mechanical engineering. CFI funding: $99,145. The research seeks to prevent, control and treat knee injury and early osteoarthritis. The knee injury facility — the first of its kind in Canada — will enable the simulation of knee injuries during such dynamic activities as basketball landing and alpine-ski landing.

* “Innovative Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder”. Christine Purdon, professor of psychology, with Jonathan Oakman and Erik Woody, also of psychology. CFI funding: $54,720. The research aims to develop innovative ways to prevent and treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, a major mental illness with high economic and social costs. It will, among other activities, test the effectiveness of a new treatment program to avert the disorder in individuals who have sub-clinical symptoms.

• “State-of-the Art Facility for the Study of RNA Structure-Function Relationships”. Thorsten Dieckmann, professor of chemistry. CFI funding: $150,000. The new facility will advance multi-disciplinary research in RNA (ribonucleic acids) structure-function relationships. It will be used to develop new anti-viral agents for fighting infectious diseases, along with new molecular switches for biomedical analysis and tools for nanotechnology research. A molecular-level picture of the interactions controlling viral infections should lead to antiviral compounds that can be used even in cases where immunization is impossible or administered too late.

• “Integrating Reaction and Catalyst Characterization”. William Epling, professor of chemical engineering. CFI funding: $129,551. The research, which benefits the automotive industry and the environment, advances understanding of catalysts — their effectiveness, surface chemistry and reaction phenomena. It involves an innovative materials and catalyst characterization system, integrated with a micro-scale reactor. The work will lead to innovative engine emissions abatement catalyst systems aimed at environmental cleanup and eliminating pollutants. In particular, the research explores the storage and reduction catalysts used for diesel engine exhaust.

• “MEMS (micro-electro mechanical systems) Test and Characterization Laboratory”. Eihab Abdel-Rahman, professor of systems design engineering, with Tze-Wei (John) Yeow, also of systems design engineering. CFI funding: $156,048. The research will focus on a new systematic close-loop MEMS design process to germinate a generation of sophisticated micro-electro mechanical systems, particularly innovative sensors and actuators, together with integrated biomedical devices. The work will develop such biomedical diagnostic devices as micro-sensors and chemical analysis instruments.

• “Laboratory for Nanoparticle Synthesis and Application Development”. Dale Henneke, professor of chemical engineering. CFI funding: $125,000. The work explores a system to rapidly produce prototype nanoparticles for nanotechnology, resulting in such improvements as better data storage and life-saving therapies deploying nanomedicines. The research will use a laboratory for nanoparticle synthesis and applications based on the laser ablation of microparticle technique. The technique quickly provides gram quantities of tailor-made nanoparticles. Laser ablation involves removing material from a solid (or liquid) surface by irradiating it with a laser beam.

• “Integrated Synthesis/Analysis/Computation Laboratory for Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry”. Sonny Lee, professor of chemistry. CFI funding: $150,000.

The research focuses on biological nitrogen fixation, a process involving the conversion of dinitrogen (or N2, the most common form of the element nitrogen in normal conditions) to a more reactive nitrogen species, which is essential to life on earth. The work relies on forefront iron-nitrogen chemistry to raise understanding of biological nitrogen fixation. Such insights into the process of biological nitrogen fixation will benefit the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, agricultural sector and environment by reducing nutrient runoff pollution, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

• “Ultrafast Characterization of Quantum Optoelectronics and Microwave-Photonic Devices and Circuits”. Hamed Majedi, professor of electrical and computer engineering. CFI funding: $99,173. The research will perform optoelectronic functions at the single-photon level. The work will have applications in quantum photo detection, among other areas. The applications of photonic and optoelectronic systems are used in fibre optical telecommunication, laser surgery and laser-gas spectroscopy for air and environmental studies.

• “Carbon Nanotube Biomaterials”. Xiao-Wu (Shirley) Tang, professor of chemistry. CFI funding: $150,000. The research explores nanobiotechnology to forge new tools for bio-analysis, drug delivery, disease diagnostics and therapy. The electrical, mechanical, optical and chemical properties of single-walled carbon nanotube have made it an innovative nanomaterial for a wide range of applications, including drug delivery and cancer therapy.


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