Friday, February 12, 2010

  • Excitement builds toward IOI 2010
  • Reading Week, Family Day: what’s open
  • Year of the Tiger and other notes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Excitement builds toward IOI 2010

The Winter Olympic Games are under way in Vancouver and meanwhile the University of Waterloo prepares to welcome the world this summer for another ultimate test of skill: the 2010 International Olympiad in Informatics. It's the first time Canada has been chosen to host the Olympiad.

The IOI 2010 is set to take place August 14 – 21 and will draw the world's top young minds in computer science to our campus. The competition, for high school-age young people, is waged like the sports Olympics, pitting country against country. Last year the overall winner was Henadzi Karatkevich from Belarus, who received 743 out of a possible 800 points.  In total, half of the competitors get medals, with a twelfth getting gold, a sixth getting silver and a quarter getting bronze.

"The level of activity has stepped up and excitement is building," said Troy Vasiga, a professor of  computer science. "Many countries have already contacted us and are starting their preparation to be here this August."

Vasiga said it's a truly global event with about 400 of the brightest young people from around the world expected to come and pit their cunning and computer skills against one another. But the number of visitors to Waterloo Region will be almost double that amount, given that teams will be accompanied by adults, including leaders and coaches.

IOI flag comes to Canada

Last August, the 2009 IOI took place in Bulgaria, and Vasiga and colleague Frank DeMaio, business manager of the university's Centre for Education in Computing and Mathematics (CEMC), were handed the IOI flag to take with them to Canada.

In addition to the actual computer science competition, which will happen in the PAC, the young visitors and their handlers will be shown many Canadian sights. Details are being finalized for side trips to Niagara Falls and Canada's Wonderland.  While on campus the competitors will be staying in residence in REV and Village 1.

"There's still much to be done, but it's a great opportunity to showcase the university and the region to the world," said Vasiga. A key task, he added, will be to get 400 identical computers delivered, set up, and networked in the PAC: truly a team effort, with staff from IST, MFCF, CSCF, and CEMC all pitching in.

The next few months will see site visits by the 12-member IOI International Committee, who will be checking on the university's preparations and plans.

Call for volunteers

Vasiga notes that IOI 2010 is looking for volunteers, especially those of late high school age or university students to be guides for the week. "If faculty or staff know of high school or university students (children, relatives, neighbours) who would be interested in helping out for the week, please direct them to the IOI 2010 website.

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Reading Week, Family Day: what’s open

Coming up: Reading Week, an eventful time for many reasons. It's prefaced by Valentine’s Day on Sunday, which is also the beginning of the Year of the Tiger. Monday, February 15, is Family Day, a holiday in Ontario. Tuesday is Shrove Tuesday, known to many as Pancake Day, to others as Mardi Gras. Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the pre-Easter season of Lent for observant Christians.

Reading Week means that classes are cancelled across campus, but offices and services, including the libraries, will be in operation; staff will be at work as usual; the Daily Bulletin will appear each weekday at 9 a.m.

Each day, that is, except Monday, Family Day: a day off for employees, with most offices on campus closed. However, the Davis Centre and Dana Porter libraries will be open from noon to 6 p.m. on Monday, following a weekend of regular operation.

As always, and even on Monday, the University Police (519-888-4911; on campus, ext. 22222) will be at work, the Student Life Centre (519–888-4434) will be open, and central plant staff will monitor the university's buildings (maintenance emergencies, ext. 33793).

The Physical Activities Complex will be closed Saturday through Monday; Columbia Icefield will be open on the weekend, closed Monday; both resume regular hours from Tuesday onward.

All Retail Services stores will be closed on Monday, but open regular (9-5) hours February 16 - 19. This quiet week is a good time to bring troubled laptops or computers to Campus Tech in the SLC or E Smart in South Campus Hall for repair or installation of software.

A number of food services outlets will be closed next week, but there will still be something to eat (though not Monday) at Browsers in the Dana Porter Library, Brubakers in the Student Life Centre, CEIT Café in CEIT building, ML’s Coffee Shop in Modern Languages, Pastry Plus in Needles Hall, Tim Hortons in the Davis Centre, Tim Hortons in South Campus Hall, and REVelation Cafeteria in Ron Eydt Village.

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Year of the Tiger and other notes

Gong Hay Fat Choi!  Chinese New Year tiger“The Spring Festival is the most important festival celebrated by Chinese,” says Maggie Xiaohui Liang of the university’s International Student Office. “It is also celebrated in many Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. The year 2010 is the year of Golden Tiger, the third sign in the Chinese zodiac. It is a sign of courage. … The Tiger is a natural-born leader and symbolizes power, passion and daring.”

Waterloo International is presenting “What is Chinese New Year?” on February 18, noon to 1 p.m. in Needles Hall room 1116. There will be displays of traditional culture and Chinese calligraphy, as well as traditional treats. All are welcome.

Interested in being on TV? The Food Network is developing a new series called Just Like Home. “The show is about young people, away from home for the first time, learning how to cook that one special dish only Mom can make. We are looking for real subjects we could film once we are ready to go to production.” Here’s the casting call:  “Are you away from home for the first time? Do you miss home cooking? Is there one dish your mom makes that tastes like no one else’s – perhaps her amazing lasagna, fiery chicken vindaloo or homemade pierogies? Are you a novice in the kitchen? If you’d like to learn how to duplicate mom’s special magic and do it for a TV audience, please contact us and tell us your story. We want to know what makes your mom’s recipe the best (we’ll also consider recipes from other family members). Email us at”

treat o gramsFrom Gillian Martin of the Keystone Campaign: “After a fun day of delivering treat-a-grams across campus Thursday, we have 30 treat-a-grams that are still available for last minute purchase.  If anyone would like to order treat-a-grams for pick-up on Friday, please call or email Gillian at ext. 37195 or to reserve your extra treat-a-grams and arrange pick-up before the end of the day on Friday.”

A month after the Haiti earthquake the country remains in ruins, and groups at the University of Waterloo are still working to raise funds and aid for the devastated nation. The Community Action Now (CAN) student volunteer group in the School of Pharmacy raised $2,070 for Haiti earthquake relief through candy gram sales, cash, and online donations. “Furthermore, since every dollar has already been donated to World Vision before the February 12 government match deadline, our donation will double in size to a remarkable $4,140. Please feel free to visit our fundraiser website again in the next few days to see our donations updated.”

The university is no more immune from theft than the rest of the community, as we are reminded from time to time. Alan Binns of the university’s Police Service sends this note: “The university community is reminded to ensure that their personal items and valuables are properly secured and not left unattended for any period of time. Recently a staff member had their personal items stolen from underneath their workstation. This loss combined with the stress of replacing the stolen items compounded their feeling of victimization. Please ensure that this information is passed on to colleagues and co-workers, as working together makes the University of Waterloo a safer place for all.”

From human resources, this note on the death of a retiree. Jana Cerny died January 28. She came to the university in April 1974, worked in the library as a library cataloguing and information service associate, and retired October 1, 2004.

CPA staff

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Link of the day

Valentine’s Day

When and where

Class enrolment appointments for spring term courses, February 8-13 on Quest. Open enrolment begins February 15.

Loving to Learn Day today; contest information online.

Fair trade chocolates for sale by Engineers Without Borders, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Student Life Centre.

Valentine’s Day luncheon buffet (11:30 to 2:00) and dinner (5:00 to 8:00) today, University Club, reservations ext. 33801.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Understanding the Learner”1:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Chinese Students and Scholars Association New Year festival event tonight, 7:00, Humanities Theatre.

St. Jerome’s Alumni Family Sweetheart Skate, Sunday, February 14, 1 – 3 p.m., Waterloo Town Square Outdoor Rink at King Street and Willis Way. For details: M.J. Gaudet at 519-884-8111, ext. 28277.

Chinese New Year luncheon: celebrate the Year of the Tiger, 11:30 to 2:00, February 16 - 19, University Club, reservations ext. 33801.

Two Davis Centre washrooms, first floor, rooms 1934 and 1935, closed for repairs February 16 - 19. All others open.

EV2 and EV3 loading dock closed for installation of storm and water services, February 16-20.

UW Recreation Committee presents Henry Zech, The Investors Group, “Taking Revenue Canada Out of Your Will” Tuesday, February 16, 12:00, Tatham Centre room 2218A.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Rapid Serial Visual Presentation” Tuesday, February 16, 3:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Canadian Federation of University Women, Kitchener-Waterloo, meeting. Kelly Anthony, Waterloo professor of health studies, speaks on "Untangling the Skein of Poverty." Tuesday, February 16, 7:30 p.m., First United Church,
King and William Streets, Waterloo. Visitors welcome. Website.

Standard downtime for Quest will be expanded to five hours for maintenance, Wednesday, February 17, 7 a.m. - noon.

Service shutdown in Biology 2 rooms 147, 148, 241, 243, 352, 353, for de-ionized water and high-pressure air, for renovations to lab room 241, Wednesday, February 17, 8 a.m. - 12:01 p.m.

UW Recreation Committee Book Club discusses A Mercy by Toni Morrison, Wednesday, February 17, 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407. Details.

Last day for 50 per cent tuition fee refund, February 19. Drop (penalty 1) period ends, February 26.

Centre for Family Business, based at Conrad Grebel UC, breakfast seminar: “Dealing with Increasing Work Demands” Friday, February 19, 7 a.m., Bingemans Conference Centre.

Pension and benefits committee Friday, February 19, 8:30 a.m., Needles Hall room 3004.

RefWorks advanced workshop, presented by UW library, February 22 at 10:00, March 10 at 10:00, or March 11 at 1:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Heritage Resources Centre lunch-and-learn session: Ronald Bean, Conestoga College, “Adaptive Reuse” Monday, February 22, 12:00, Environment I room 221.

‘So You Think You Can Dance Waterloo’  auditions February 22, 24, 25, 26, Physical Activities Complex; competition March 27. Details.

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