Wednesday, February 20, 2008

  • Architecture exhibit goes to Venice
  • Fellowship for 'exceptional' math prof
  • Waiting for Gates, and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Book cover]

Published by the University of Ottawa Press, The Way Ahead is the work of former UW provost Tom Brzustowski, more recently president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. A launch celebration and book-signing will run from 5:30 to 7:00 today at the Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Boulevard.

Link of the day

Total eclipse of the moon

When and where

Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research presents Beth Jewkes, department of management sciences, "Why Shift Scheduling for ER Triage Nurses Is Challenging", 12:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Institute for Computer Research seminar: Murray Woodside, Carleton University, “Layered Modeling of Software Performance, and Its Uses” 2:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Niagara Falls trip organized by International Student Connection, bus leaves Davis Centre 10:00, returning in evening, tickets $15 at Federation office, Student Life Centre.

Institute for Computer Research industry seminar: Kelly Kanellakis, Nortel, “How Nortel Views the Challenge of Hyperconnectivity” Thursday 2:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

[Holling]Social Innovation Generation presents noted ecologist C. S. Holling speaking on “Inventing Organizations”, Thursday 5:30, Festival Room, South Campus Hall, all welcome.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel University College, breakfast seminar: “Handling Difficult Conversations”, Friday, details online.

37th annual Hagey Bonspiel for faculty, staff, retirees and friends, Saturday, Ayr Curling Club, registration online (deadline February 1).

Going Green workshop on radiant flooring, sponsored by architecture students’ Grand House, Saturday morning, details online.

Canadian Computing Contest for high school students, organized by Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, Tuesday, February 26, details online.

Second-year arts students “Are You on Track?” event with dean of arts Ken Coates, information, fun and food, Tuesday, February 26, 2:00, Graduate House, register by e-mail slcoordinator@artsmail.

UW alumni in Palo Alto networking event Thursday, February 28, 6:30 to 8:30, Hiller Aviation Museum, details online.

Alumni career planning workshop offered by Career Services, Saturday, March 1, 9:30 to 4:00, cost $75, registration online.

Staff association special general meeting Tuesday, March 4, 8:40 to 9:30 a.m., Math and Computer room 1085, agenda online.

International Women’s Day dinner: “Celebrate women mentoring women,” Thursday, March 6, 5:00, University Club. Speakers are Emerance Baker (aboriginal services coordinator) and Susan Tighe (civil and environmental engineering); tickets $30 at Humanities box office.

10th annual Financial Econometrics Conference hosted by Institute for Quantitative Finance and Insurance, Friday, March 7, details online.

QPR suicide prevention training available March 7 (12:00), April 11 (11:30), call ext. 33528 to register.

March break open house for future students (formerly Campus Day) Tuesday, March 11, details online.

Environment and business conference sponsored by fourth-year environment and business students, Wednesday, March 26, Humanities Theatre, information e-mail

Graduate Student Research Conference April 21-24, details online.

Rogers Cup men’s tennis tournament, July 19-27 at York University, details available online about UW alumni tickets (also for students, faculty, staff).

Positions available

On this week’s list from the human resources department:

• Computing technology specialist, Computer Science Computing Facility, USG 10-12
• Unit chef, food services, USG 6-7

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

Architecture exhibit goes to Venice

An exhibition that was first seen in UW’s Architecture building in 2005 will represent Canada at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, the Canada Council for the Arts has announced.

The exhibition “41° to 66°: Architecture in Canada – Region, Culture, Tectonics” was co-curated by architecture professors John McMinn of UW and Marco Polo of Ryerson University, and organized by Cambridge Galleries, which presented it in the Riverside Gallery in UW’s downtown Cambridge building.

The Biennale, entitled “Out There: Architecture Beyond Building”, is “the world’s most prestigious architectural exhibition,” a release from the Canada Council explains. This year’s Biennale runs from September 14 to November 23.

[Multi-storey atrium]The show presents a selection of contemporary buildings organized within six cultural and geographic regions of Canada: the Arctic, West Coast, Mountain, Prairie, Continental and Atlantic. The exhibition, says the release. “features a variety of leading contemporary Canadian architects whose work draws on iconic Canadian building types like the igloo, tepee and sod house as a means to address regional and cultural identity, landscape, climate and sustainability issues. Contributing architects include Busby Perkins + Will (whose computer science building for York University is pictured at left), Patkau Architects, Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (kpmb) Architects and Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects.

“At the 2008 Biennale, this exhibit will help visitors appreciate Canadian responses to architectural identity and sustainability through literature, visual, video, audio, and web-based material that will be accessible using hand-held devices. There will also be floor-to-ceiling images projected within the pavilion, which is organized into five bays and a courtyard space. It is a celebration of Canada in its many varied dimensions through its diverse regions, material traditions and cultural influences. . . .

“The Canada Council for the Arts is a primary funder for Canada’s architectural representation in Venice. Cambridge Galleries also provides financial support and will engage in fundraising activities to realize this project.”

"To many people," publicity for the show explained in 2005, "the phrase 'sustainable architecture' means caulking their windows and installing a solar panel or two. But in fact, sustainable architecture is about much more than smart technology and energy-saving devices. Today, a growing number of Canadian architects see sustainable architecture in the context of a broader contemporary sensibility that revisits the roots of 20th century Modernism, while also drawing inspiration from regional material culture and building design traditions, many of which were developed in direct relation to local climatic and geographic conditions.

"The emergence of regionalism as a theme in contemporary Canadian architecture can be seen to parallel the development of an interest in sustainable design, because the two phenomena often overlap. . . . Responsiveness to local conditions leads not only to greater energy and material efficiencies, but that also addresses local cultural and tectonic traditions, leading to greener and more meaningful architecture."

Says Canada Council Director Robert Sirman: “41° to 66° embodies a new wave of thinking and living in our society — moving forward with sustainable solutions. The Biennale is the perfect venue to showcase this panoramic view of contemporary Canadian architecture to the international community.”

After its launch in Cambridge, the exhibition has had an extensive tour schedule: the Works Festival (Edmonton) and IIDEX (Toronto) in 2006, Mackenzie Art Gallery (Regina) and Dalhousie University in 2007, Museum London and Surrey Art Gallery in 2008 — and the Yukon Arts Centre planned for 2009. A catalogue of the show is also available.

The news release describes the gallery where the show was first mounted: “In an exciting collaboration with the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, Cambridge Galleries’ two existing locations were joined in 2004 by Design at Riverside, their most recent exhibition space. Located within the School of Architecture in Cambridge, this venue is dedicated to the development of awareness and appreciation for outstanding architecture and design through exhibitions, publications and related activities and is one of few public galleries with such a mandate in this country.”

McMinn, the UW half of the duo who created the show, graduated from McGill University in 1983 and the Architectural Association, London, in 1990. He spent the early part of his career working in London and Paris with Peter Rice and Ove Arup International. He has taught at several schools of architecture, including the Architectural Association in London, the University of Toronto and, since 1999, Waterloo. In 1992 he was awarded the Canada Council Prix de Rome in Architecture. In addition to teaching he maintains an active building design practice and contributes to numerous architectural journals.

Back to top

Fellowship for 'exceptional' math prof

[Ambainis]A UW mathematics professor, Andris Ambainis (right) of the department of combinatorics and optimization, has received a 2008 Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, valued at $50,000 over two years.

Ambainis, who is a member of the Institute for Quantum Computing, does research in such areas as quantum algorithms, quantum complexity theory, quantum cryptography, and classical theory of computation.

He’s one of 118 “outstanding young scientists, mathematicians, and economists” to receive this year’s Sloan Fellowships. The winners, says the foundation, are faculty members at 64 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada who are conducting research at the frontiers of physics, chemistry, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, economics, mathematics and neuroscience.

"The Sloan Research Fellowships support the work of exceptional young researchers early in their academic careers, and often at pivotal stages in their work," says Paul L. Joskow, president of the foundation."I am proud of the Foundation's rich history in providing the resources and flexibility necessary for young researchers to enhance their scholarship, and I look forward to the future achievements of the 2008 Sloan Research Fellows."

The Sloan Research Fellowships have been awarded since 1955, initially in only three scientific fields: physics, chemistry, and mathematics. Since then, 35 Sloan Research Fellows have gone on to win the Nobel Prize in their fields; and 14 have received the Fields Medal, the top honour in mathematics.

Once chosen, the foundation explains, “Sloan Research Fellows are free to pursue whatever lines of inquiry are of most interest to them, and they are permitted to employ Fellowship funds in a wide variety of ways to further their research aims.”

Back to top

Waiting for Gates, and other notes

It's as popular as a rock concert, and every bit as complicated to organize — the brief visit that Bill Gates, billionaire founder of Microsoft, will pay to UW tomorrow morning. (And it is tomorrow, not today, in spite of what a certain local radio station said early today.) From tickets to audio-visual issues to security, a host of departments and officials have been involved in arranging the details of Gates's schedule. He'll meet VIPs briefly, join in a faculty roundtable discussion, then speak to a Humanities Theatre packed with students keen to hear whatever he has to say about the future of technology and society, his announced topic. The address, scheduled for 9:45 tomorrow, will be shown live on a big screen in the Davis Centre great hall, for those who couldn't get the scarce tickets to see him live. A webcast is also planned — details still aren't definite, but watch the UW home page for a link. The Gates visit is featured on the front page of today's Record newspaper as just one of the high-profile activities that are keeping potential students interested in computer science and mathematics at Waterloo.

Second to Bill Gates in media popularity is Frank Seglenieks of the UW weather station, who’s been on television a lot lately talking about the oddities of this winter. Expect to see him again in connection with an announcement that has appeared on his web site: “A few of the signs that warmer weather might just be coming soon: Lots of potholes on the roads, spring training in baseball, longer days, and the UW weather station contest! I can't fix the potholes but I can say that you can now enter this year's UW weather station contest. It is the 10th anniversary of the UW weather station so we have lots and lots of prizes this year (thanks to the UWShop).” The contest asks us to guess “the exact date and time the University of Waterloo Weather Station will first register a temperature of 20.0 degrees Celsius or greater. In case nobody guesses the exact time, the winner will be the person closest to the correct time.” Entries end February 28 at 3:00, and as a possible guideline, the web site lists the winning dates from past years (once it was as early as March 8, once as late as April 19).

Communications and Public Affairs has reprints available of a Canadian Business article from October 2007 titled "Innovation Station: Waterloo's deeply embedded culture of entrepreneurship could show the rest of Canada how it's done." The reprint is done in a high-quality gloss-paper tri-fold, with the UW logo sharing the Canadian Business magazine banner. The front page also features a photo of Tom Corr, associate vice president (commercialization) in UW's technology transfer office.The article focuses on how the university provides the base for Waterloo Region's high-tech sector development, dubbed "Silicon Valley North". It wraps up with a report on new research that may lead to new business breakthroughs: "We are focusing on what we're considering the next wave, which is the quantum age," says UW chancellor and Research In Motion founder Mike Lazaridis. Also quoted are Corr, UW economics professor Larry Smith, and venture capitalist (and UW board member) Tim Jackson. Those in the university who could like copies of this piece to include in information packages or for handouts can contact Jan Rohrbach at

Renison College’s award winning English Language Institute has received a TESL Canada Interim Certificate of Recognition, the college has proudly announced. The certification attests to the quality of the program offered by the ELI as well as to the calibre of its instructors. “TESL Canada’s Certificate of Recognition is a milestone in the ELI’s preparation to offer the ACE (Advance Consulting for Education) TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Certificate course for the first time this spring,” says a memo from Renison. “The ACE-TESOL Certificate is an introductory ESL teacher training course with 100 hours of classroom instruction and a 10 or 20 hour practicum. Students who complete the ACE-TESOL Certificate with a 20-hour practicum are eligible to apply for TESL Canada Professional Certification. The intensive program allows students to complete the classroom component of the curriculum in just four weeks. Practicum hours may be completed at a later date. The classroom component will run from May 2 to 30. There are five hours of class per day. The practicum component will be completed in June or July or August, depending on the candidate’s preference and the availability of mentor teachers.” For more information, program manager Julia Williams is at ext. 28658.

Interuniversity sports are, one by one, wrapping up for the season, and as each season finishes, Ontario University Athletics announces the members of all-star teams and winners of various league awards for this year. Some Warrior names that figure on recent all-star lists include skip Ryan Sayer and lead Rob Fry of the Warrior men's curling squad; Cameron Dunning of the men's volleyball Warriors; Cam Moore and Nellie Dow of nordic skiing; and Oleg Chernukhin and Tamara Wagner of the swimming Warriors.

And . . . the Daily Bulletin has been announcing that today, February 20, is the last day for students to withdraw from courses for this term and get a 50 per cent tuition fee refund. But apparently I've been working from an out-of-date calendar; the student accounts arm of the UW finance office confirms that the actual deadline is February 22, this Friday.


Back to top

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin