Tuesday, May 11, 2010

  • 'Consultation' on the digital economy
  • Achievements, tiny and gigantic
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

[Clement at brushed-aluminum lectern]
'Consultation' on the digital economy

a news release issued yesterday as federal industry minister Tony Clement was speaking at the Canada 3.0 forum in Stratford

The Government of Canada today unveiled a national consultation aimed at building consensus among governments, the private sector, academia and the Canadian public in developing a digital economy strategy for Canada. The commitment to developing the strategy was outlined in both the government’s Speech from the Throne and Budget 2010 and is aimed at positioning Canada for leadership in the global digital economy.

The announcement was made jointly by the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, and the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. (Photo of Clement speaking at Canada 3.0 in Stratford, above, by Jonah Hu.)

“Canada can and should be a leader in the global digital economy,” said Minister Clement. “Now is the time for the private sector to step up and contribute their ideas for a digital strategy and, when that strategy is in place, to implement the plan.”

“Our government is committed to ensuring that creators, inventors and entrepreneurs have the incentives to innovate, the confidence to take risks and the tools to succeed,” said Minister Moore. “We recognize the important role the digital media and content sector plays in the digital economy, and we intend to develop a long-term plan that will stand the test of time.”

“Our government wants Canadians to have the skills that will make them leaders in this rapidly developing and globally competitive industry,” said Minister Finley. “Through these consultations, we will work with industry and other partners to identify areas where we need to develop our workforce of the future.”

The consultations, which begin today and close on July 9, 2010, will be hosted online. A discussion paper posted on the consultation site provides details on the key themes being considered:

  • Capacity to Innovate Using Digital Technologies;
  • Building a World-Class Digital Infrastructure;
  • Growing the Information and Communications Technology Industry;
  • Digital Media: Creating Canada’s Digital Content Advantage; and
  • Building Digital Skills for Tomorrow.

The consultation seeks feedback from all interested parties on priorities and targets as Canada moves toward improving innovation and creativity, adopting new technologies and achieving the shared goal of making Canada a global leader in the digital economy.

A strategy for Canada’s digital economy will recognize that success will not come through a particular government program or combination of government programs, but from a concerted effort — combining government vision and the resolve of individual businesses to be global leaders in their fields.

Once the consultation process has closed in July 2010, the government will review the information and use it to inform the development of a national digital economy strategy.

Canada was one of the first countries to take advantage of the digital economy. It was the first country to connect all of our schools and libraries to the Internet, and led Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries in the deployment and uptake of broadband. Canadians were early adopters of ICTs. Canada was one of the first countries to implement policies and programs that enabled the creation of digital media and content. Other countries have followed Canada’s lead, and some have overtaken us in a number of areas, prompting us to look at how to regain our advantage.

The June 2009 Canada 3.0 Conference in Stratford, Ontario, focused on the direction of digital media and the importance of this sector to the economy. That set the tone for the Forum on Canada’s Digital Economy in Ottawa later that month, where the key elements for a strategy began to take shape. There is broad agreement that the digital economy is a strong driver of innovation, which is essential to future growth across the entire Canadian economy.

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[Four smiling faces]

'Pink Ribbon' was Yan Fang [Correction: Yuan Fang]'s first-place talk at the National Japanese Speech Contest, held in late April. Masaya Otsuka of the Japanese Information Centre, second from right, visited Renison University College to present the award. Fang, a graduate student in electrical engineering whose first language was Mandarin, spoke about his research on mammography technology. "Cancer is something everyone in the world has to face," he says, "but collaborative research across countries is sometimes difficult. I hope my research and language skills can be used as a bridge." Renison principal Glenn Cartwright and Japanese instructor Akiko Maruoko joined in celebrating the award. Five other Renison students also received awards at the Ontario-level contest this spring, including Betty Li, who went on to win one of the national-level prizes.

Achievements, tiny and gigantic

The University of Waterloo Nanorobotics Group (UW_NRG) has won third place at the annual Mobile Microrobotics Challenge held by the National Institute for Standards and Technology. “Out of eleven registered teams this year,” the group boasts, “the Waterloo team was the only Canadian and the only purely undergraduate entry.” The competition calls for a robot less than 600 micrometers in all dimensions (smaller than a poppy seed) that can make a two-millimeter dash (a timed sprint across a playing field on a silicon wafer) and meet a microassembly challenge, moving micron-scaled pegs from points on the field into holes, plus a freestyle competition. Waterloo's entry was EMMA (ElectroMagnetic Microrobotic Actuation) and featured a complex image recognition system that controlled the magnetic field acting on the robot with sub-micron accuracy. "EMMA truly demonstrates that even undergraduate students with limited funding can compete at the global scale in micro and nanotechnology engineering. The only thing we couldn't do out here was buy beer after finishing,” says Derek Bennewies, business development officer for the team. The group’s news release adds that “UW_NRG came to life nearly three years ago from a napkin design and a dream. The core team consisted of Edgar Cao, Dule Sarenac, Garry Ng, Max Palumbo, Derek Bennewies, Michael Kwan, Ivan Law, and Keith Peiris. With the help of Advanced Micro Devices, Zaber Technologies, Sun Microsystems, the Imaging Source, ANSYS, and various university student endowments, the group is completely sustainable.” Mustafa Yavuz, Mir Behrad Khamesee, Pearl Sullivan, and Caglar Elbuken of the department of mechanical and mechatronics engineering have provided assistance.

“In your travels through the PAS building,” writes Val Rozon, supervisor of the Early Childhood Education Centre, “please feel free to pop into the ECEC lobby on the first floor and see an example of an amazing project completed by some 3- and 4-year-old children. They constructed an almost 9-foot-tall dinosaur out of food boxes from home. They have been working on this since an idea hatched in December 2009 after a visit to the Earth Sciences Museum. They have given the parasaurolophus a nickname of ‘Parry’ and we are all very proud of their efforts. They gathered boxes, sorted them by size, looked at various kinds of dinosaurs, decided as a group which dino to build, figured out they needed a head, body, legs and a tail, found matching box sizes to build two legs the same height and shape, put the parts together (9 feet tall is impressive to a group of children who are somewhere around 3 feet tall), painted the whole dinosaur green and then added more realistic dino colours. Now he is hanging out in our lobby as he is too tall to fit in our regular classroom. We would love to show off their excellent work and invite you to leave a note for the children about what you think. We have paper and pencils on hand.”

The arts faculty council will be asked to give approval today to a  new name for the sociology department: "Sociology and Legal Studies". • The staff association is looking for seven employee representatives on the Joint Health and Safety Committee, including one from the Gage Avenue offices in Kitchener, one from the health sciences campus, one from the School of Architecture in Cambridge, and four from the main campus. • "EMail from delta-student-jobs.com are getting annoying, and likely a scam," writes computer security expert Jason Testart from information systems and technology. "I hope people are deleting these things."

Last month was "the warmest April in 55 years", according to a monthly roundup from the UW weather station. So the weekend's brief snow, and yesterday's freeze, were all the more shocking. "Assuming that the last frost day was either on Monday (10th) or will be on Tuesday (11th)," the weather station web site now says, "it will be a little later than the average last frost day, which is May 6 in the area. However, there is a very large range for the last time the temperature goes below zero, as we have seen dates anywhere between the 25th of April and the 21st of May." So the cold season may not be over quite yet. Maybe by the time it is, the weather station will have completed some repairs ("the equipment is taking a lot longer to repair than we had hoped," says the site) and live temperature data will be appearing online again.


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Link of the day

Huntington Disease

A correction

The Knowledge Integration student who took the photo in yesterday's Daily Bulletin is Eric Kennedy, not Ryan Kennedy. The psychology graduate student who was mentioned later in the same Daily Bulletin was correctly identified as Ryan Kennedy.

When and where

Senate undergraduate council 12:00 noon, Needles Hall room 3004.

Arts faculty council 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Biochemistry and molecular biology seminar: Ian Lorimer, University of Ottawa, “Cell Signaling in Glioblastoma” 3:30, Chemistry II room 361.

WatRISQ seminar: Weidong Tian, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, “Optimal Stopping Rule Under Ambiguity in Continuous Time” 4:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Alumni reception in Calgary during Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists conference, 5:00, BMO Centre. Details.

Songwriting competition at the Graduate House: semifinals 6:00, finals May 18 at 6:00. Details.

Book launch: Richard Payette, The Amulet of Apollo, print-on-demand novel, 7:00 p.m., bookstore, South Campus Hall.

Gauss Mathematics Competition for grade 7-8 students, organized by Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, Wednesday. Details.

Retirees Association bus tour, “Wineries of the Beamsville Bench” Wednesday, details 519-885-6719.

Book launch: Polish Orphans of Tengeru by Lynne Taylor, department of history, Wednesday 5:00 to 7:00, University Club, RSVP k4king@ uwaterloo.ca.

K-W Musical Productions presents the romantic comedy “I Love You Because” May 12-15, 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, tickets $30 (students $20) 519-578-1570. Details.

Clubs, Services and Societies Days with opportunities for students to get involved, Thursday-Friday 10:00 to 3:00, Student Life Centre.

Alumni event in New York: Math alumni reception at Louis Vuitton Maison Fifth Avenue, Thursday 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Details.

Open class enrolment for spring term courses ends May 14.

Co-op job postings for fall work term open Saturday (main group and pharmacy students). Employer interviews begin May 26 (pharmacy), May 27 (main group).

President David Johnston Run for Mental Health May 18, 5:00, start at Student Life Centre. Details.

You @ Waterloo Day for applicants considering offers of admission, May 20, 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., headquarters at Student Life Centre. Details.

Victoria Day holiday Monday, May 24, UW offices and most services closed, classes not held.

Winter term grades become official May 25.

Procurement and contract services annual trade show in Davis Centre lounge: technology and computers, May 25; Staples, May 26; e-procurement, May 27. Details.

Bob Truman, institutional analysis and planning, retirement reception May 26, 3:00 to 6:00, University Club, RSVP a2morrow@ uwaterloo.ca.

‘The Peeled I’, one-man show based on the life and work of Robertson Davies, performed by K. Reed Needles, sponsored by Arbitrary Angle Theatre Company, May 27 and 28 at 8 p.m., May 29 at 2 and 8 p.m., Theatre of the Arts.

PhD oral defences

Applied mathematics. Sean Speziale, “A Poroelastic Model of Transcapillary Flow.” Supervisor, S. Sivaloganathan. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Friday, May 14, 1:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 5136.

Chemistry. Young-Mi Hwang, “Aggregation of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis-Associated Cu/Zn Superoxide Dismutase.” Supervisor, Elizabeth M. Meiering. On display in the faculty of science, ESC 254A. Oral defence Friday, May 14, 1:30 p.m., CEIT room 2053.

Planning. John A. Colangeli, “Planning for Age-Friendly Cities: Towards a New Model.” Supervisor, Trudi Bunting. On display in the faculty of environment, EV1 335. Oral defence Monday, May 17, 1:00 p.m., Environment I room 221.

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin