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Thursday, January 17, 2013



  • Web browsers get a cup of Java in their laps
  • Federal funding for forward-looking research
  • Thursday's list of things


  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs


Dean of Arts Douglas Peers and President Feridun Hamdullahpur pass out hot dogs to students in the Student LIfe Centre Great Hall.

Doling out dogs, not degrees: Dean of Arts Douglas Peers and President and Vice-Chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur serve with a smile at yesterday's "Lunch with the President and Senior Leadership" event in the Great Hall of the Student Life Centre, held as part of Frost Week 2013.

Joining Hamdullahpur and Peers behind the steam trays were Vice-President, Academic & Provost Sallie Keller, University Secretary Logan Atkinson, Vice-President, Administration & Finance Dennis Huber, Vice-President, Advancement Ken McGillivray, Vice-President, University Relations Tim Jackson, Dean of Mathematics Ian Goulden, Dean of Applied Health Sciences Susan Elliott, Dean of Environment André Roy, Associate Provost (Students) Chris Read, and Wayne Loucks, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies, Engineering (standing in for Dean Pearl Sullivan, who was unable to attend).

Together with the help of Food Services, the university's leaders distributed hot dogs and chips to more than 2,300 students.

Photograph by Aaron Miller.


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Web browsers get a cup of Java in their laps

by Terry Labach, Information Systems & Technology (IST)

The New Year started with a bang for computer security professionals, as word spread about a new risk involving Java software and web browsers.

Web browsers allow additional software, called plug-ins or add-ons, to be installed to enhance the capabilities of the browser.  One such plug-in enables browsers to run software written in the Java programming language.

Recent versions of Java have a bug that allows programs to bypass security mechanisms.  Attackers are able to craft web pages including Java programs that make use of this bug.  By visiting such web pages and executing these programs, attackers are able to run arbitrary software on your computer.

Oracle, the maker of Java, and browser manufacturers are taking steps to deal with this problem.  However, there are actions you should take now to protect yourself.

The best defence against these attacks is to disable Java in your web browser. Windows users can configure the Java Control Panel to disable Java in all browsers on their PC.  Users of any operating system can disable Java in their individual browsers.  Oracle provides instructions to do this online.

Contact your faculty computer help desk or the Computing Help & Information Place (CHIP) at extension 84357 if you need assistance in configuring your web browser.

Unfortunately, some web applications require the use of Java, and you may not be able to work without it.  In this case, be cautious in your activity on the web. You are also invited to read the description of this vulnerability.  Some other things you can do to lower your risk include:

  • Limit the use of Java
    • Use one Java-enabled browser only for sites requiring it, and a second Java-disabled browser for all other browsing, or
    • Turn Java off in your browser when you are not using web sites that require it.
  • Don't click on web links without scrutinizing them and ensuring their legitimacy.
  • Install software like NoScript (available for Firefox) which prevents your browser from running suspicious applications.


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Federal funding for forward-looking research

A research facility that will one day develop the technology that enables hybrid vehicles to feed energy into the power grid is among the innovative research initiatives at the University of Waterloo that received major funding announced yesterday.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) awarded more than $4.7 million to four research projects at Waterloo, along with 71 other projects at 33 institutions for a total investment of $215 million through the CFI's Leading Edge Fund (LEF) and New Initiatives Funds (NIF).

"The University of Waterloo is very proud to be contributing to the talent and knowledge creation in Canada," said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president & vice-chancellor of Waterloo. "I congratulate the teams of researchers identified in this announcement, and look forward to seeing their innovative ideas come to fruition."

University of Waterloo research projects that received funding include: 

The Green and Intelligent Automotive (GAIA) Research Facility with John McPhee of Systems Design Engineering as lead researcher. The facility will "advance and commercialize transformative research" through the development of intelligent software for use in vehicle computers that will reduce emissions and fuel consumption and lead to the establishment of plug-in hybrid as "an integral daytime supplier of energy, feeding into Canada's electrical grid. The project received $2,128,182.

Ontario Materials Technology: Harnessing the Power of Strategic Multifunctional Materials for Emerging Technologies with Tong Leung of the Department of Chemistry and Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. Research in this area will focus on the development of multifunctional materials for new technology innovation. Multifunctional materials are defined as "materials or systems of materials that are capable of performing multiple primary functions, which will dramatically improve system performance and reduce both product size and cost." They will be designed and built by using new tools that enable Canadian researchers to precisely fabricate structures of any shape and form in three dimensions in the nanometer scale. The research received $1,474,545.

Privacy Enhancing Technologies at a Global Scale with Ian Goldberg of the David. R. Cheriton School of Computer Science as lead researcher. Privacy-enhancing technologies are also known as PETs, and they "allow people around the world to maintain control over who gets to learn what they are looking up, with whom they are conversing, and what they are reading." The research project will experiment on three particularly important classes of PETs: private information retrieval, anonymous communications networks, and censorship resistance. The project received $654,545 in funding.

Facility for Global Quantum Communication and Security Certification with Professor Thomas Jennewein of the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) as lead researcher. The project intends to "propel Canada's high-tech industry into the information age of the 21st century" with emerging quantum technologies that change the way we process and communicate information, with the most important near-term application being highly secure quantum key distribution (QKD), implemented by sending individual particles of light (photons) between distant user locations. The project received $490,000.

CFI funding is used to establish world-class research facilities in Canada with state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure.


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Thursday's list of things

Ginny Dybenko, executive director of the Waterloo Stratford Campus, will be presented with the Waterloo Region Record Barnraiser award at a luncheon inside the Waterloo Region Museum today.

Frost Week continues tonight with Mega Trivia starting at 8:00 p.m. at The Bombshelter Pub and a free comedy show starting at 9:00 p.m. at Federation Hall. The Federation of Students will also be hosting Clubs and Societies’ Days today and tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the SLC Great Hall. The Federation of Students supports more than 150 clubs, and many of them will have booths set up and members on hand to talk to students about their activities.

"Joining a campus club is a great way for students to broaden their horizons," writes the federation's Jacqueline Martinz. More information about Clubs and Societies is available online.

The University of Waterloo has been nominated for three Community Spirit Awards by the United Way of Kitchener Waterloo & Area. The university is one of four nominees for the Campaign Champion Award, which "recognizes an organization ran an exemplary campaign and demonstrates a strong commitment to the United Way KW Campaign." Up for the Campaign Volunteer Award, which recognizes "a workplace campaign volunteer that exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism, community involvement and commitment to others" are Alex Lippert and Richard Wells, the university's United Way campaign co-chairs. Waterloo is also nominated in the Leadership Giving Award category, which "recognizes an organization that most successfully organized an exceptional Leadership Giving Campaign through motivation and encouragement of giving personal gifts of $1,000 or more." Other nominees include Economical Insurance, Equitable Life, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev), Stantec, and Teledyne DALSA.


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Link of the day

Kid Inventors Day

When and where

Frost Week 2013, Monday, January 14 to Friday, January 18. Details.

The Water Institute presents Rick Everdell of OPG, "The Niagara Tunnel Project: Planning, design and construction," Thursday, January 17, 11:30 a.m., DC 1302. Details.

UW Biomedical Seminar Series featuring Filip Van Petegem, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of British Columbia, "When calcium signaling goes wrong: structure-function analysis of the Ryanodine Receptor in health and disease," Thursday January 17, 2:30 p.m., DC 1304.

Information Session for Beyond Borders service learning program, Thursday, January 17, 3:00 p.m., Sweeney Hall White Room, St. Jerome's University.

Faculty of Mathematics graduate studies information session, Thursday, January 17, 4:30 p.m., MC2066. Details.

Observations and Free Inquiries seminar featuring Hamid Tizhoosh, Systems Design Engineering, "Why opinions and ideas are worthless" Thursday, January 17, 5:30 p.m., E5 6004. Details.

Arriscraft Lecture featuring Peter Clewes, "Toronto Intensification: Policy, Politics, and Design," Thursday, January 17, 6:45 p.m., Cummings Lecture Hall, University of Waterloo School of Architecture.

Federation of Students Clubs and Societies' Days, Thursday, January 17 and Friday, January 18, SLC Great Hall.

Open class enrolment ends, Friday, January 18.

Pension & Benefits Committee meeting, Friday, January 18, 8:30 a.m., NH 3004.

Knowledge Integration seminar featuring James Jensen, Curator of Exhibits, Waterloo Region Museum, Friday January 18, 2:30pm, Environment 3 (EV3), room 1408. Details.

Information session for the 2013 summer study in China program, hosted by the Confucius Institute, Friday, January 18, 2:30 p.m., room 1303. Details.

Leadership Starts Here conference, Saturday, January 19, 8:30 a.m., J.R. Coutts Engineering Lecture Hall. Details.

Alzheimer's Awareness Month Public Lecture and Exhibition, Monday, January 21, 10:00 a.m., DC 1302. Details.

Renison Annual Book Sale, Monday, January 21 to Friday, January 25, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., outside the Lusi Wong Library. Details.

Student Services Fair, Tuesday, January 22, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Student Design Team Open House Recruitment Fair, Tuesday, January 22, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., E5-1st floor.

Chemistry Department Seminar Series featuring Prof. Joe Gilroy, Department of Chemistry, Western University. "The Reactivity of Dicarba [2] metallocenophaneson," Wednesday, January 23, 2:30 p.m., C2-361.

OHD "Retirement 101" workshop, Wednesday, January 23 and three consecutive Wednesdays after, 7:00 p.m. Details.

CECA Volunteer and Internship Fair, Wednesday, January 23, 11:30 a.m., SLC Great Hall.

Noon Hour Concert Series, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, featuring Renee Kruisselbrink, solo piano, Danzas Argentinas—Ginastera, Wednesday, January 23, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel chapel.

Research Matters - Life in 2030, Wednesday, January 23, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., The Tannery. Details.

PhD Oral Defences

Psychology. Elizabeth McFadden, "Considering Parental Mortality: The Role of Adults' Attachment Style." Supervisor, Jonathan Oakman. On deposit in the Arts graduate office, PAS 2434. Oral defence Tuesday, January 22, 1:00 p.m., PAS 3026.

Civil & Environmental Engineering. Ziad Halabi, "Coupled Finite Difference/Flac 3D/Boundary Element Methods in Geomechanics." Supervisor, Leo Rothenburg. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Wednesday, January 23, 9:30 a.m., E2 3324.

Biology. Marcel Pinheiro, "Interactions of Ciliates with Cells and Viruses of Fish." Supervisor, Niels Bols. On deposit in the Science graduate office, ESC-254A. Oral defence Thursday, January 24, 2:00 p.m., B1 266.

Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. Ali Najafi Sohi, "A Multifunctional MEMS Pressure and Temperature Sensor for Harsh Environment Applications." Supervisors, Patricia Nieva, Amir Khajepour. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, January 25, 11:30 a.m., E3 4117.


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