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Thursday, April 18, 2013



  • Feedback sought on draft strategic plan
  • Nothing but net(work)
  • Three-Minute Thesis provincial finals today
  • Thursday's notes


  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs


Feedback sought on draft strategic plan

A draft of the University of Waterloo's strategic plan for the remainder of the institution's sixth decade (2013-2017) is now available online, and comments are being sought from the university community.

The plan, available for download as a PDF, is the product of months of comprehensive consultations that began with the Mid-cycle Review process in 2011 and has continued with stakeholder representative discussions and action planning meetings involving a wide range of participants from the university community.

The draft document takes into account the University of Waterloo's particular strengths and outlines goals and objectives that will chart a course for continued growth and success.

Members of the university community who wish to provide feedback are being encouraged to do so by noon on Wednesday, May 1.

Comments may be sent in via email. Emails will be reviewed by the strategic plan working group.


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Nothing but net(work)

For fans of mathematics and basketball, a colloquium event taking place tomorrow is sure to be a slam dunk.

"Netball: The Network Structure of NBA Basketball" will be presented by Dieter Armbruster of the School of Mathematics and Statistics at Arizona State University at 3:30 p.m. in MC 5136.

The colloquium event is based on a paper published last year by Armbruster in the journal PLOS ONE entitled "Basketball Teams as Strategic Networks." Armbruster and his co-authors analyzed the network properties of NBA basketball games, in particularly the playoff games of the 2009-2010 series, defining plays as "nodes" and ball movements as "links", thus characterizing the ball games as samples of random networks.

"The researchers use some standard network properties and also define some properties which are useful in quantifying how different teams work," writes Sue Ann Campbell, chair of the Department of Applied Mathematics, which has organized the event. "

A model of basketball transitions between players on two basketball teams.The event's abstract goes into further detail about how network theory, a subset of mathematics that deals with mapping relationships between objects, can be applied to basketball teams at play. "We determine average properties for these networks and characterize the game, specific teams and specific players by their network properties. We show that there is a typical network structure for an NBA team."

One of the properties identified by the researchers is the clustering coefficient. High clustering would indicate that all the players participate in a play, while low clustering might indicate that a subset of players participate more frequently. Another property defined in the research paper is entropy, which in this case is a measure of disorder and can be used to determine how unpredictably one team's players might pass the ball amongst themselves.

I can almost hear the squeak of shoe soles on the basketball court, can you?

"We identify two different playing strategies corresponding to network flows with high entropy and to flows in networks that increase the shooting efficiency of the team, respectively," reads the abstract. "A particular notion of flow centrality allows us to determine the value of a player for the team, in contrast to the usual individualized statistics."

A reception will follow the event.

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Three-Minute Thesis provincial finals today

Queen's University is set to host the first-ever Ontario Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition today.

The contest is relatively straightforward: Competitors have 1 static slide and 3 minutes to explain the breadth and significance of their research to a non-specialist audience.

Representing the University of Waterloo in the competition for research-based masters thesis and doctoral students, is Chau-Minh Phan, a PhD candidate in the School of Optometry and Vision Science, and Matthew Hunt, a MASc student in mechanical engineering. Chau-Minh Phan won the University of Waterloo's campus-wide competition held on March 27, nabbing the People's Choice award in the process. Hunt was the runner-up.

The 3MT was established by the University of Queensland (UQ) in 2008 and has quickly gained momentum over the years. In September 2010 the first Trans-Tasman competition was held, with 33 universities participating from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. The University of British Columbia (UBC) was one of the first universities to host the competition in Canada in 2011. In 2013 more than 17 Canadian universities hosted a 3MT competition.

The event, which is to be livestreamed, begins at 4:00 p.m. today.


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Thursday's notes

Today is the deadline for registration for the Opportunities and New Directions (OND) Conference. The conference, hosted by the Centre for Teaching Excellence, will be taking place on Thursday, April 25.

Also today, the first annual Waterloo Football Gala will take place at the Bingeman's conference centre in Kitchener. The evening begins at 6:00 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, with dinner at 7:00 p.m. The evening will include the first-ever induction of Warrior greats into the Football Ring of Honour, guest speakers, a message from Head Coach Joe Paopao and a silent auction.

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Link of the day

220 years ago: Ontario's first newspaper hits newsstands

When and where

Retirement celebration for Edie Cardwell, Thursday, April 18, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., School of Planning, EV3. Details. (PDF)

Gender and Feminist Researchers Luncheon, Thursday, April 18, 12:00 p.m., MC 5158. Details.

UWSA “Let’s Talk” Event
Thursday, April 18, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., William's, EV3. Details.

Sustainable Waterloo Region Evening of Recognition, Thursday, April 18, 5:00 p.m., Waterloo Inn. Details.

Stratford Campus Open House, Thursday, April 18, 6:00 p.m., Stratford Campus.

First Annual Waterloo Football gala, Thursday, April 18, 6:00 p.m., Bingeman's Centre Ballroom.

Pension & Benefits Committee meeting, Friday, April 19, 9:00 a.m., NH 3001.

Applied Mathematics Colloquium, "Netball - The Network Structure of NBA Basketball," featuring Dieter Armbruster, School of Mathematics and Statistics, Arizona State University, Friday, April 19, 3:30 p.m., MC 5136. Reception to follow.

Leadership Innovation Conference, April 22 and 23. Details.

The Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (I.B.M.B.) Seminar Series featuring Prof. Ke Dong, Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, “Voltage-gated Sodium Channels in Insects and Mammals: Comparison of Structure, Function and Toxin Sensitivity”, Tuesday, 23 April 23, 3:30 p.m., C2-361. Details.

Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience Colloquium featuring Marc Bellemare of the University of Alberta, Tuesday, April 23, 3:30 p.m., PAS 2464.

Biology Graduate Student Research Symposium, Wednesday, April 24, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., QNC 1501 & 1502.

Chemistry Department Seminar Series featuring Ms. Elizabeth Crawford, Applications Manager, IonSense, Saugus, MA, USA, “Instant Gratification – Mass Confirmation in Seconds:  An Introduction to Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART) Ambient Mass Spectrometry”, Wednesday, April 24, 10:30 a.m., C2-361. Details.

Opportunities and New Directions Conference, Thursday, April 25, all day, HH 1101. Details.

Deadline for students to become Fees Arranged, Monday, April 29.

Vegetation Inventory and Monitoring Workshop, Monday, April 29, 9:00 a.m., Huntsville Summit Centre. Details.

Int'l Spouses event, Ethnic Grocery Store Tour By Bus! Monday, April 29, 10:30 a.m. Details.

CTE703, "Freeing Your Voice,"
Tuesday, April 30, 1:30 p.m., MC 5158. Presented by the Centre for Teaching Excellence. Details.

Water Research Symposium 2013, Thursday, May 2, all day, Davis Centre 1350. Details.


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