CS researchers on verge of a breakthrough chosen for NSERC funding boost

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science professors Therese Beidl and Lap Chi Lau have been selected to receive a funding boost to further their transformational and potentially groundbreaking research from The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

The Discovery Accelerator Supplement (DAS) recipients named by NSERC today are among more than 120 Waterloo researchers who have received more than $21 million to further their research through programs such as Discovery grants and grants for equipment.

Therese Biedl's project focuses on producing graph drawing algorithms with performance guarantees that are provable within a factor of the optimum. "Graphs are abstractions that can be used to describe structures such as social networks, street maps, entity-relationship diagrams, and control-flow," explained Biedl. "Visualizing such graphs helps to discover structures, similarities, and anomalies  a picture is worth a thousand words. My research considers finding graph drawings such that some measure of quality (such as the area of the bounding box) is provably within a factor of the optimum."

Lap Chi Lau's project will focus on creating linear algebraic techniques to design better approximation algorithms and faster exact algorithms for graph problems.

“This funding supports transformational research at Waterloo in many ways spanning the areas of quantum information science, renewable energy, nanotechnology, pharmaceuticals and human neuroscience,” said D. George Dixon, vice-president, university research at Waterloo. “It recognizes key projects that are highly innovative providing the means to take the research to the next level, as well as projects in the earlier stages of research and the cost of infrastructure that is critical to all research at Waterloo.”

Biedl and Lau join five other researchers from the University of Waterloo including Rahim Moosa (Pure Mathematics) and Sander Rhebergen (Applied Mathematics).

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