Event Guide

September 29th, 2007


9:00 – 9:30       Welcome & Registration (Great Hall)

9:30 – 10:00     Opening Ceremony (DC 1350)

10:00 – 11:00   Erik Demaine (DC 1350)

11:00 – 11:15   Break (Great Hall)

11:15 – 12:15   Heath Windcliff (DC 1350)

12:15 - 1:45     LUNCH (DC 1301/Fishbowl)


1:45 – 2:45       Janice Glasgow (DC 1350)

2:45 – 3:00       Break (Great Hall)

3:00 – 4:00       Hugh Williams (DC 1350)

4:00 – 5:00       Panel: David Cheriton, Faith Ellen, Ian Goldberg, and Craig Kaplan (DC 1350)

5:00 – 6:00       Reception (DC 1301)

Speaker: Erik D. Demaine MIT

Origami, Linkages, and Polyhedra: Folding with Algorithms

Abstract: What forms of origami can be designed automatically by algorithms? What shapes can result by folding a piece of paper flat and making one complete straight cut? What polyhedra can be cut along their surface and unfolded into a flat piece of paper without overlap? When can a linkage of rigid bars be untangled or folded into a desired configuration?

Folding and unfolding is a branch of discrete and computational geometry that addresses these and many other intriguing questions. I will give a taste of the many results that have been proved in the past few years, as well as the several exciting open problems that remain open. Many folding problems have applications in areas including manufacturing, robotics, graphics, and protein folding.

Biography: Erik Demaine is Associate Professor and Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Professor in computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Demaine's research interests range throughout algorithms, from data structures for improving web searches to the geometry of understanding how proteins fold to the computational difficulty of playing games. He received a MacArthur Fellowship (2003) as a "computational geometer tackling and solving difficult problems related to folding and bending--moving readily between the theoretical and the playful, with a keen eye to revealing the former in the latter". He recently published a book about folding together with Joseph O'Rourke, called Geometric Folding Algorithms: Linkages, Origami, Polyhedra, (Cambridge University Press, 2007). He has also coedited "Tribute to a Mathemagician" (A K Peters, 2003), in honor of the influential mathemagician Martin Gardner.

Speaker: Heath Windcliff

Algorithmic Trading

Abstract: The field of finance has had a long history of applying cutting edge mathematical and computational tools. In this talk we will discuss the recent explosion in algorithmic trading where decisions are based on economic models of supply, demand, risk and reward. We will illustrate how skills learned by students of Scientific Computation, Optimization, Software Design, Applied Mathematics, Data Warehousing and Statistics can be applied directly to complex and interesting problems in trading and risk management.

Biography: Heath Windcliff came from British Columbia to Waterloo as an undergraduate with a strong interest in accoustics. He had previously observed that several prominent authors of texts in this area hailed from Waterloo. He completed his undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics in 1998. When it became time to undertake graduate studies, he came under the spell of computational finance, in particular a set of interesting risk management problems related to pension plan design and management. Heath obtained his Masters degree in Applied Mathematics in 2000 and then his PhD in Computer Science in 2003 here at Waterloo, in both cases under the supervision of Peter Forsyth. At present Heath manages a team responsible for the research and development of algorithmic trading strategies at Morgan Stanley.

Speaker: Janice Glasgow

Molecular Imagery

Abstract: This talk will present a knowledge representation scheme for computational imagery based on research in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. As well, it overviews two applications of the scheme in the bioinformatics domain of protein structure determination.

Biography: Janice Glasgow is a Professor in the School of Computing at Queen's University and holds the Queen's Research Chair in Biomedical Computing. Dr. Glasgow sits on the Editorial Board for several of the top journals in artificial intelligence, cognitive science and bioinformatics and is a past President of Canadian Society for Computational Intelligence. She is one of the founding board members of the International Society for Computational Biology.

Speaker: Hugh Williams

What Keeps our Secrets Safe?

Abstract: Control over who knows what about us, for what purposes, and to whom it is disclosed, is of profound concern to anyone making use of electronic communication devices. In the e-world, personal information is in a very real sense the person. Thus, it is essential that we have confidence in the capacity of the information collector to secure our personal information. This can only be achieved through the very technology that threatens our privacy. One important ingredient in these privacy-enhancing technologies is cryptography.
    Briefly put, cryptography is the study and development of techniques for rendering information unintelligible to all but intended recipients of that information. If a sender and receiver of a message wish to communicate over an insecure channel (mobile phone, internet) and want to ensure that no other unauthorized party can read their transmission, they will make use of a particular cryptosystem. A conventional cryptosystem can be thought of as a large collection of transformations (ciphers), any one of which will render the original message (plaintext) to unintelligible ciphertext, but in order for the receiver to read the message, he must know which particular transformation was used by the sender. The information that identifies the transformation used by the sender is called the key. It is important to point out that if an eavesdropper acquires some message and its encrypted equivalent, he should not be able to extract the key from this information. Nor should the system be vulnerable to an adaptive attack; such attacks make use of information previously acquired to obtain new information from the sender and so on until the system is broken. This is what makes cryptography fascinating. How can we protect our communications against these kinds of attacks? Remember also that a good cryptosystem must resist an attack even from the inventor of the system.
    In this talk, which is intended for a non-specialist audience, I will describe from a historical perspective several features of modern encryption techniques.

Biography: Dr. Hugh C. Williams obtained his PhD in 1969 from the then Department of Applied Analysis and Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. In 1970 he joined the newly established Department of Computer Science at the University of Manitoba, where he was promoted to the rank of Full Professor in 1979. He moved to the University of Calgary in 2001 where he became iCORE (Alberta Informatics Circle of Research Excellence) Chair for Algorithmic Number Theory and Cryptography (ICANTC) and Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
    Dr. Williams is internationally recognized as an expert in computational number theory and its application to cryptography; in particular, he is a world authority on computing in number fields. Much of his research is specifically aimed at the development, improvement and implementation of mathematically based cryptosystems. He was one of the first to use modern mathematical techniques for securing and authenticating communication; indeed, he developed a variant of an idea of Michael Rabin which is now a very widely mentioned cryptosystem. This system, generally referred to as the Rabin-Williams Scheme, is recognized in the ISO/IEC 9796, ANSI X9.31 and IEEE P1363 standards for public-key cryptography and digital signatures. For many years he has also been involved in the design and construction of machines that will perform the numerical sieving operation very rapidly, a capability of great importance in primality testing and secure verification of digital signatures such as the Rabin-Williams signatures arising from the public-key cryptosystem of the same name. A new sieve, constructed by Dr. Williams and graduate student Kjell Wooding, has permitted them to determine 12 new pseudosquares. Most recently he has written several papers on secure key exchange systems that make use of the properties of quadratic fields or function fields.
    Dr. Williams has published 140 refereed journal papers, 27 refereed conference papers and 21 books (or chapters therein). From 1983-85, he held a national Killam Research Fellowship, one of the most prestigious honours in Canadian research. He has been an associate editor since 1978 for Mathematics of Computation, arguably the premier journal on computational mathematics, is also a member of the editorial board of Utilitas Mathematica, and is an Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Contributions to Discrete Mathematics. He has served on the program committees of many conferences and workshops, chairing several of them. He was also honoured in 2003 with two special conferences in celebration of his 60th birthday, one in Banff and the other in Warsaw, Poland. In 2004 he was appointed Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba, a great honour at that University.
    Dr. Williams is the founder and Director of the University of Calgary's Centre for Information Security and Cryptography (CISaC), and leads CISaC's participation in the newly formed Calgary Laboratory for Information Assurance and Security (CLIAS). Under his leadership, ICANTC and CISaC have established key academic, industrial and institutional collaborations, driven the development of the largest most comprehensive education program in cryptography in Canada, and created important opportunities to apply theory in mathematics and cryptography to the development of novel cryptosystems, algorithms and benchmarking/analysis capabilities. His experience as Associate Dean of Research Development (Faculty of Science, University of Manitoba) is translating into the development of a broad integrated vision of research, training and development for ICANTC. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Number Theory Foundation, the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, and the Canadian Mathematical Society.
    Dr. Williams has also served on the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council(NSERC) Grant Selection Committees for both Computing and Information Science (1972-75) and Pure and Applied Mathematics (1991-94), and chaired the latter from 1993-94. He has also been a member of the Steacie Awards Selection Committee and was the NSERC Appeal Advisor for Pure and Applied Mathematics for three years.
    In addition to graduating 8 graduate students and supervising six PDFs in the past six years, Dr. Williams is actively involved in speaking and outreach engagements. He has delivered a number of distinguished lectures including, for example, as an Invited Keynote Speaker at the 2004 Workshop on Cryptographic Algorithms and their Uses (Gold Coast, Australia), and at the Sixth International Mathematica Symposium, Banff, AB, August, 2004.