- International Olympiad in Informatics starts this weekend
- CTE staff member is new Educational Developers Caucus chair
- Notes on Friday the 13th
- Chris Redmond
- Communications and Public Affairs
International Olympiad in Informatics starts this weekend
Beginning tomorrow, more than 300 mathletes from 83 countries will arrive to take part in the 22nd International Olympiad in Informatics, one of the world's most prestigious computer science competitions for high school students.
Only a select few of the 200,000 students worldwide who apply actually make it to the competition, which provides six programming questions, a desk, computer - and 10 hours - to come up with the results.
The event was launched in 1989 in Bulgaria and is one of the most recognized secondary school computer science competitions in the world. It was first proposed by the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and past host countries include Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Mexico, South Africa, and the People's Republic of China.
This is the first time that the competition will be held in Canada.
Team members are competitively selected, in some cases early enough to allow a year’s training. Most teams include up to four participants, plus two leaders, though interest in Japan is great enough that the team is travelling with its own documentary crew. While in Waterloo, student team members will be staying at Ron Eydt Village, while leaders and guests will be housed in Village 1.
As the host country, Canada is allowed to field two teams of four students. As previously reported, more than 20 would-be team members from a pool of nearly 2,300 attended a training camp in May and of those, the top eight students were selected after a six-hour contest. Those contenders included two who won silver medals at the 2009 IOI held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
"It's about taking the best kids and showing them there are others like them in the world," says Troy Vasiga, associate director of the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing and chair of the 2010 IOI organizing committee. "The students participating really are amongst the next generation of geniuses."
Most participants will arrive on Saturday, from countries ranging from Albania to Vietnam, and be greeted by a volunteer speaking their official language. "I am looking forward to showcasing Canada as a very multicultural place," says Vasiga. "Each of the 83 countries that are participating will have a local guide from the Waterloo area that can speak both the language of the country participating as well as English." According to Vasiga, this makes IOI 2010 unique. "There has never been a host country where we have had this range of languages covered."
The opening ceremony, open to the public, will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday at the Waterloo Recreation Complex. The event will feature such guest speakers as David Yach, chief technology officer of software at Research In Motion (the BlackBerry is the event's title sponsor), and Arturo Cepeda, president of the IOI.
The competition takes place on Monday and Wednesday, when participants spend five hours each day solving a total of eight tasks. Those tasks, which are translated into each team's official language the night before, challenge such computing skills as problem analysis, design of algorithms and data structures, programming, and testing.
Three sample tasks are available online, but they're not for the faint of heart - one of them is called Guess. "In our sample version," explains Gord Cormack, chair of the IOI 2010 host scientific committee, "contestants must write a computer program to assume the role of a child playing the popular guessing game, 'I'm thinking of a number between one and ten, can you guess it?' The object is to identify the number with as few guesses as possible."
In between the opening and closing ceremonies, when they are not practising or competing, team members, team leaders and guests will enjoy a wide range of fun and educational activities.
On Sunday, Monday and Wednesday evenings, Waterloo faculty members and graduate students with Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science will give a total of 10 presentations on a range of topics, including one entitled From DNA to Jay-Z: Automatic Detection of Rap Music Rhymes Using Ideas From Computational Biology and another on A Short Introduction to Mind Reading. Four of these presentations will be in English, with the remaining in Arabic, French, German, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish.
Visitors will also experience a few of the sights, sounds and culture of Canada. Planned activities include tours of Waterloo, both the university and the region, as well as visits to Canada’s Wonderland and Niagara Falls.
"It is awe-inspiring to see these students take a very difficult problem, think about it for several hours, make some headway, rethink their strategy and come up with the best solution, all in a very short time period," says Vasiga. "These skills of problem solving, creative thinking, careful planning, and attention to detail are the kinds of skills that universities, research institutes, and leading edge companies are looking for to solve tough problems. These competitors have these skills in spades."
Final results of the 2010 IOI, including gold, silver, and bronze medal winners, will be announced at closing ceremonies on Friday, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Bingeman's Conference Centre in Kitchener.
CTE staff member is new Educational Developers Caucus chair
The Centre for Teaching Excellence says that it is "pleased to announce that Nicola Simmons is the new Chair of the National Educational Developers Caucus (EDC), of which she has been a member since its formal inception in 2003."
The EDC’s mission is to “facilitate the advancement and evolution of educational development as a field of practice and scholarship by communications, networking, professional development opportunities and advocacy strategies.”
According to Simmons, her goals for the role are to provide:
• Collegial collaboration, inviting others (especially newcomers) to participate in various project stages as they have time, energy, and interest.
• Strong leadership that also engages all project stakeholders in the process.
• Outstanding organizational skills, but more importantly, enthusiasm to move the team forward.
Simmons is also Vice-President, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, for the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, a role she will continue to hold until February 2011.
Notes on Friday the 13th
Utility shutoff in Hagey Hall canceled for now. Domestic hot and cold water was to be shut off in Hagey Hall while water lines were removed on Thursday, August 19, affecting the entire building. The work has been canceled and will be rescheduled.
An update on UW Opinion: If you recently submitted a note to UW Opinion and did not see it published, it’s not because your opinion was rejected. In one or two cases, a technical glitch caused the sender’s userid to be deleted during the submission process. This meant that the opinion could not be published, since published opinions must be backed up by names. It also meant that we could not contact senders to explain matters. A revamped, improved version of UW Opinion is expected to be in place soon. When it is, we hope anyone who recently sent in a note, only to see it drop into oblivion, will try again.
Link of the day
When and where
MC-DC bridge, upper level, between fourth-floor MC and third-floor DC, will be closed July 19 to May 31, 2011, for construction tie-in.
Library hours for spring exam period, July 25 to August 14. Davis Centre open 24 hours a day, except closed Sundays 2 - 8 a.m. for system maintenance. (Dana Porter open regular hours: 8 a.m. - 11 p.m., Monday-Friday; 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.)
Spring term examinations August 3-14 (online courses, August 6-7). Unofficial marks begin appearing on Quest, August 16. Marks become official September 20.
Co-op job postings, main group, for fall 2010 work terms, on JobMine August 3 – 9; daily postings thereafter.
Men’s hockey “shooting to score” camp for boys & girls 5-14, August 16-20, 23-27, August 30 to September 3, Icefield. Details.
Ontario Mennonite Music Camp for students aged 12 to 16, August 8-20 at Conrad Grebel University College. Details.
Women’s hockey camps: Future Warriors, girls ages 6-15, daytime; “elite conditioning camp” for girls 15-19, evenings, both August 9-13, Icefield. Details.
Road just north of MC building and building's loading dock will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians, except emergency vehicles, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily starting August 9, for about two weeks, to install steel structure for new math bridge.
Feds Used Books opens Saturday, August 14, in addition to regular weekdays, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Women’s hockey “future Warriors camp” for girls 6-15, August 16-20, Icefield. Details.
Men’s volleyball coed summer camp August 16-20, Icefield. Details.
UWRC Book Club discusses The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, Wednesday, August 18, 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.
Former president of St. Jerome's University Michael Higgins will deliver a keynote address at the Education to Globalize the Human Mind conference, August 20-22, University of Waterloo Conference Centre (REV)
Domestic hot water will run cold in all buildings within the Ring Road and in Village 1, Tuesday, August 24, 1 a.m. to Thursday, August 26, 11:30 p.m., to allow maintenance on steam mains.
No water from domestic hot water taps in all buildings within the Ring Road and in Village 1, Tuesday, August 24, 8 p.m. to Wednesday, August 25, 7 a.m., to allow connection for new math building.
Women’s field hockey camp August 30 through September 1, Warrior Field. Details.
Women’s basketball back-to-school camp August 30 through September 3, Physical Activities Complex. Details.
WatCACE financial support for research on co-op: proposals deadline September 1. Guidelines.
PhD Oral Defences
Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering
Adel Izadbakhsh, "Crystal Plasticity Modelling of Large Strain Deformation in Single Crystals of Magnesium." Supervisors, Sanjeev Bedi, Kaan Inaal. On deposit in the Engineering Graduate Office, PHY 3004 until August 30. Oral defence Monday, August 30, 10 a.m. in E5 3306.
Accounting and Finance
Darren Henderson, "The Use of Fair Values to Assess Management's Stewardship: An Empirical Examination of UK Real Estate Firms." Supervisor, Dr. Christine Wiedman. On deposit in the Arts Graduate Office, PAS 2434 and available for perusal until August 26. Oral defence Monday, August 30, 1:30 p.m. in HH 2104
Alison Luke, "Changes in Canadian Identity Attitudes Over a Twenty Year Period: 1981-2001." Supervisors, Dr. John Goyder, Dr. Neil MacKinnon. On deposit in the Arts Graduate Office, PAS 2434 and available for perusal until August 31. Oral Defence Wednesday, September 1, 1 p. m., PAS 2030
Notice of revised location:
Geography and environmental management
David N. Morris, “The Role of Native Plant and Seed Collectors and Growers in Protecting Floral Diversity.” Supervisor, Stephen Murphy. On display in the Faculty of Environment, EV1 335. Oral defence Wednesday, August 18, 10 a.m., HH room 119