Monday, April 5, 2010

  • Cruellest month: exams start Friday
  • NSERC strategic grants for 7 projects
  • Major athletics awards given tonight
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Cruellest month: exams start Friday

Here we are: today is the last day of classes for the winter term, and here's one more reminder that the schedule for today involves Friday classes, not Monday classes — a matter of making up for the Good Friday holiday. Tuesday through Thursday are pre-exam study days, and then come final exams, running April 9 through 23 (distance and online courses, April 9-10). The registrar's office reminds everybody that if an exam day is lost to bad weather or other emergency, exams will be rescheduled for same time, same place, on the next free day, which usually means the following Sunday. However, this year there's a wrinkle, because on Sunday, April 25, power and other utilities will be shut down on most of the campus, for unrelated reasons. Accordingly, "the next free day" would be Monday the 26th.

Moving right along: I'd just like to mention, this morning, that the Daily Bulletin is marking an anniversary today. It was 15 years ago todayWednesday, April 5, 1995 — that this morning report was published as a web page for the very first time. The Daily Bulletin had been established in 1993 using the (then cutting-edge) Gopher technology, but HTML pages were accessible to enough users by the spring of 1995 that we made the jump. The browser of choice for Daily Bulletin readers that year? Mosaic.

And like most teenagers, the Daily Bulletin makes the occasional mistake. Last Wednesday, some readers saw a version that listed a vacant position in the plant operations department — chief stationary engineer — and said it was classified at USG grade 15. In fact, the job is a USG 12.

Organizers of the second annual “Opportunities and New Directions conference on research in Teaching and Learning” say tomorrow is the deadline for early registration. The $95 fee, which goes up for those who don’t meet the deadline, includes everything from wine and cheese to the published proceedings of last year’s one-day conference. Details of this year’s event, scheduled for April 28, are online. “This time around, there is an emphasis on supporting new researchers in this burgeoning field,” says Shannon Dea of the philosophy department, who is one of the conference organizers. “The event features around 25 presentations and posters by over 60 researchers from a range of disciplines and career stages, from UW and beyond. They will present research on everything from student note-taking and the Socratic teaching method to the use of e-portfolios and iClickers. Some of the other session topics include graduate student leadership, faculty engagement in teaching, mobile devices as classroom aids, virtual field trips, the effect of the instructor’s voice pitch on student learning, and developing research skills through co-op placements.”

[Eager painted face]The Dancers In Motion group (left) that represented Waterloo at the Kalaikal Creative Arts competition in Toronto last week came home with the award for "best dance team overall". • Thanks to persistent efforts by hackers who at one stage were making 1,000 attempts a day to log into Nexus e-mail accounts, authorities have completely blocked Gmail servers from logging into 'engmail', deep in the heart of Nexus. • The staff association is offering its members "Corporate Players Cards", good for discounts at 18 nearby golf courses; they're available at Davis Centre room 3603.

Staff in the co-op and career services department are always working on "ways to pull in new and additional jobs for students", says CECS communications officer Olaf Naese. That's why Rick Roach, assistant director of CECS for AHS and science, will be in Niagara Falls this week. He's attending the Parks and Recreation Educational Forum & National Exchange, which is seen as "an excellent opportunity to develop employer leads related to programs such as Recreation and Leisure Studies, Arts and Business, and Environmental Studies, especially for junior positions". Roach will have a chance to promote Waterloo co-op to more than 500 management leaders and professional representatives in the parks and recreation field, Naese says.

Here's a, well, friendly note from Bob Hicks of information systems and technology: "Note that this email is coming from bob.hicks@ (not bjhicks@ That’s my friendly email address. You may have heard it was coming. After a phase in period with selected campus groups, IST is ready to extend the invitation to create a friendly email to all UW faculty and staff. Based on the feedback from the initial groups, there are many things you should consider and be aware of before your create your own friendly email address. Please read the following document to learn more, and for instructions. If you decide to create a friendly email address, and run into issues when doing so, please send email to request@ Also, many of the campus IT groups are aware of the changes, and their WatIAM administrator(s) may be able to help."

Back to top

NSERC strategic grants for 7 projects

by Janet Janes, office of research

Seven University of Waterloo faculty members have received Strategic Project Grants grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada totalling more than $4 million.

The recipients of the 2009 competition for these grants were announced in February. Successful applicants from Waterloo were two researchers from the faculty of science, four from the faculty of engineering, and one from the Institute for Quantum Computing, including two who will collaborate with researchers in France.

Trevor Charles, professor of biology, and his team (including assistant professor of biology, Josh Neufeld, and biology professor and department chair David Rose) plan to establish the Canadian MetaMicroBiome Initiative, a publicly accessible collection of libraries of environmental DNA representing Canadian soil microbial communities. These DNA libraries will be characterized by powerful DNA sequencing techniques and screens for industrially relevant enzymes to determine the taxonomic, genetic, and metabolic diversity of each sample, and to identify novel enzymes of potential commercial interest.

Guang Gong, professor of electrical and computer engineering, along with Mark Aagaard, associate professor in the same department, will develop new mechanisms for privacy protection, authentication, and secure communication for low-cost Radio Frequency Identification systems. RFID tags are small, inexpensive circuits that can be embedded in an identification card or attached to anything from a library book to a box of diamonds. RFID systems offer tremendous potential for tracking products through the supply chain, automating toll payments on highways, ensuring the authenticity of medicines and other valuable products, and providing security and identification services for people. However, the rapid development of RFID systems and the very limited resources available on an RFID tag pose serious privacy and security concerns. The research of professors Gong and Aagaard will range from circuits for ultra-light cryptography to communication protocols that guarantee privacy and security.

Norbert Lütkenhaus and Michele Mosca, of the Institute for Quantum Computing, and three other Canadian researchers will share in a collaborative grant with French researchers on a project aimed at improving information security through quantum cryptography networks. They’ll study these networks from a fundamental and practical point of view and explore the new capabilities they offer. The work will involve optimizing quantum distribution networks, developing cryptographic protocols using quantum and classical resources to broaden the use of hardware required for these networks, and creating a framework to properly embed this emerging technology into existing security structures and securing functionality of the new devices.

Raafat Mansour, professor of electrical and computer engineering, will collaborate with organizations in Canada and France to improve technology in the satellite communication industry through MEMS technology. The project will involve the development of novel RF MEMS switches and switch matrices with a focus on improving reliability for space-based applications. It will also involve the development of nano-scale RF switches to achieve faster switching speeds.

Sagar Naik, associate professor of E&CE, and a project team will develop novel solutions to problems in gathering data from a variety of sensors used in homes including safety-critical data, data with economic value, and data for planning and management information. Developing protocols and smart power supplies for sensors will help provide valuable data to utility companies (i.e., management of their resources), healthcare providers (i.e., real-time data from patients), and home owners (i.e., information about the security and energy efficiency of their homes).

Sherry Schiff, professor, earth and environmental sciences, and her team will conduct a research project focusing on the Grand River and collect information needed by several agencies and regulators for science-based management of this heritage river. This project provides an opportunity to develop a comprehensive approach to understanding and modelling phosphorous, nitrogen, and dissolved oxygen cycles. Schiff’s team consists of biology professor and Canada Research Chair in limnology Bill Taylor, earth sciences professor, Ramon Aravena, and assistant professor of biology Josh Neufeld.

Weihua Zhuang, professor of E&CE, will investigate effective strategies in improving the reliability, efficiency, and security of information delivery in wireless communications for vehicles on the road and will help push the frontier of wireless communications to a new domain with very limited network infrastructure. The goal of this project is to help improve road safety, transportation efficiency, mobile Internet access, and potential on-road services and applications. 

Back to top

Major athletics awards given tonight

As Warrior athletes gather tonight for the year-end Athletics Awards Reception, with its presentation of top awards for the 2009-10 season, they can already glory in a number of honours given out at the league level by Ontario University Athletics.

Tonight's celebration — the 50th annual athletics reception — will be held at St. George’s Hall on King Street North in Waterloo. A graduating senior reception starts at 5:00, all athletes are invited for 6:30, dinner is at 7:00, a video presentation follows, and the awards, including "athlete of the year" honours, are scheduled for 8:15.

Meanwhile, here are some OUA end-of-season distinctions that haven't been previously announced:

Women's basketball: "Fourth-year point guard Reanne Holden of the Waterloo Warriors is nominated for the CIS Sylvia Sweeney Award for community service. The fourth-time academic all-Canadian in honours chemistry volunteers with the University of Waterloo Well-Fit program, implementing individual exercise programs for recovering cancer patients. Holden is also part of Waterloo Athletics Team-Up elementary school outreach program as well as a mentor coach with Special Olympics. Holden was involved in a pair of international missions with the Global Youth Network as part of humanitarian aid teams sent to Tanzania and Brazil."

Men's hockey: "Warriors second-year player Keaton Hartigan is OUA’s nominee for CIS goaltender of the year. The OUA West first-team netminder was among the league leaders in goals against average (2.84), save percentage (.907), wins (18), saves (685) and goals against (70) in 25 regular season games. Hartigan helped lead the Warriors to second place in the division with a record of 20-7-1 and a CIS Top 10 ranking.

"The architect of the Waterloo Warriors, Brian Bourque, is nominated for CIS coach of the year. Waterloo was in a fight to the finish this year in the OUA West, ultimately finishing one point out of first place in the standings. The Warriors featured five OUA all-star players. Bourque just completed his fifth season as head coach of the Warriors. He earned his second OUA coach of the year award this past season after winning his first in 2007."

Canadian Interuniversity Sport honours were announced at a banquet March 23.

Earlier, OUA had named Bourque its Coach of the Year and named Hartigan to its all-star first team, along with forward Chris Ray (also named Most Valuable Player) and defenceman Kyle Sonnenberg. Warrior defenceman Steve Whitely was named to the second all-star team.


Back to top

Dryden 'Last Lecture' today

Tickets are still available for today's "Last Lecture" event — a public talk by [Dryden]Ken Dryden, MP for York Centre, former Cabinet minister, youth activist, and goalie who led the Canadiens to six Stanley Cups in the 1970s. His free lecture, titled “It’s Time for Canada”, starts at 4:30 in the Theatre of the Arts. Details are online.

Link of the day

Easter Monday

When and where

‘Relative Proximity’ exhibition of work by fourth-year fine arts students runs until April 11, East Campus Hall gallery.

Extended library hours through April 23: Davis Centre library open 24 hours a day, except Sunday 2 to 8 a.m.; Dana Porter Library open 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Details.

Open Text chairman Tom Jenkins speaks on “Canada 3.0: Advancing Canada’s Digital Future” 12:00, Wilfrid Laurier University board and senate chamber.

Colour Me Educated campaign finale, with paint dumped on celebrity guests, fund-raiser for Pathways to Education, 2:00, Student Life Centre. Details.

Senate executive committee 3:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Author reading at St. Jerome’s University: Poet Patricia Young, 4:30 p.m., StJ room 3014.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group annual general meeting and social, 5:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 5158. Details.

Embassy Church 7:00, Humanities Theatre.

‘Global Governance and the Nuclear Revival’, address by Louise Fréchette, Centre for International Governance Innovation, 57 Erb Street West, 7:00.

Instrumental Chamber Ensembles spring concert 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel UC chapel, admission free.

UW staff conference annual event; keynote speakers will discuss work-life balance, emotional intelligence, “Sparking Innovation and Change”, other sessions, Tuesday-Wednesday. Details.

Digital Media to Market Showcase sponsored by Stratford campus, panels on medical imaging, consumer products, and business applications, Tuesday 10:00 to 2:00, Arden Park Hotel, Stratford. Details.

Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology announcement ceremony Tuesday 10:30, 295 Hagey Boulevard, by invitation.

Joint health and safety committee Tuesday 1:30 p.m., Commissary room 112D.

Faculty association annual general meeting Tuesday 2:00, Math and Computer room 4020.

UW board of governors Tuesday 2:30 p.m., Needles Hall room 3001.

Institute of Chemistry and Molecular Biology seminar: Martin Stillman, University of Western Ontario, “Metalation Pathways in Metallothionein” Tuesday 3:30, Chemistry II room 361.

Euclid Mathematics Competition for grade 12 students, organized by Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, Wednesday. Details.

Health sciences campus: grand opening of second building, 10B Victoria Street South, with officials of UW and McMaster University, Wednesday 1:00, by invitation.

Computer Science Club: Colin Melia, “Windows Azure Lab” Wednesday 1:00, Math and Computer room 2037.

Fine Arts 392 Technology Art Exhibition, “t’art”, public opening Wednesday 5:00 to 7:00, Critical Media Lab, 191 King Street West, Kitchener.

St. Jerome’s University Sweeney Lecture in Current Issues in Healthcare: panel on “Aging at Home, the Challenge of a Generation” Wednesday 7:00 p.m., St. Mary’s General Hospital, Kitchener.

UW-ACE Instructor Group meets Thursday 10:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Weight Watchers at Work information session and sign-up Thursday 12:15, Humanities room 373, information ext. 32218.

Town hall meeting with UW executives for faculty and staff, Thursday 3:00, Theatre of the Arts. Submit questions to townhall@

Doug Payne, information systems and technology, retirement reception Thursday, April 15, 3:30, Laurel Room, South Campus Hall, RSVP elmartin@

PhD oral defences

Planning. Akram A. Al-Attar, “Planning for Reuse and Redevelopment of Inner City Blighted/ Contaminated Industrial Sites.” Supervisor, Pierre Filion. On display in the faculty of environment, EV1 335. Oral defence Thursday, April 15, 1:00 p.m., Environment I room 221.

Electrical and computer engineering. John Michael Daly, “Output Feedback Bilateral Teleoperation with Force Estimation in the Presence of Time Delays.” Supervisor, David W. Wang. On display in the faculty of engineering, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, April 16, 9:30 a.m., CEIT building room 3142.

Health studies and gerontology. Norma Jutan, “Integrating Supportive Housing into the Continuum of Care in Ontario.” Supervisor, John Hirdes. On display in the faculty of applied health sciences, BMH 3110. Oral defence Friday, April 16, 10:00 a.m., Matthews Hall room 3119.

Physics and astronomy. Parisa Bohlouli Zanjani, “Enhancement of Rydberg Atom Interactions Using DC and AC Stark Shifts.” Supervisor, James D. D. Martin. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Friday, April 16, 10:00 a.m., Physics room 308.

Thursday's Daily Bulletin