Computer science student Jameson Weng awarded Governor General’s Silver Medal

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Computer science graduate Jameson Weng has been awarded a Governor General’s Silver Medal, a prestigious national recognition of undergraduate students who have attained the highest academic standing during their degrees.

In Jameson’s case, that distinction was an average of 97 percent across his undergraduate courses.

photo of Jameson Weng“I’m very happy to have received this award,” Jameson said. “This was not something I aimed for specifically. It just came as a result of how I approached school. It came about because I liked learning and I always try to understand what I’m being taught.”

Jameson began his undergraduate studies at the University of Waterloo in September 2015, enrolling in the computer science co-op program.

“I went on six co-op placements during my degree — at QNX in Ottawa, PDT Partners in New York, Focal Systems in Oakville, Asana and Facebook in San Francisco, and Jane Street in New York,” he recounts. “I enjoyed all my co-op terms. One memorable experience was at Facebook. I was part of an infrastructure team and I worked on big systems — problems that can occur at scale and how we can improve performance when there’s a lot of data and users to process. That’s the kind of problem I like thinking about.”

During his undergraduate studies Jameson also conducted research with Cheriton School of Computer Science Professor Pascal Poupart and fellow CS undergraduate Vik Goel, which resulted in a paper titled “Unsupervised Video Object Segmentation for Deep Reinforcement Learning.” Their research, which developed a new technique for deep reinforcement learning that automatically detects moving objects and uses the relevant information for action selection, was presented at NeurIPS 2018, the 32nd annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems held in Montréal in December 2018.

Jameson will be continuing studies in computer science this fall as a master’s student at Stanford University, where he will explore his research interests in artificial intelligence and infrastructure.

“I will most likely head into industry after completing my studies,” Jameson explained, “but for right now I just want to see what cool things there are to learn in my master’s and what I can experience there.”

Although his scholarly achievements are stellar, Jameson acknowledges the importance of life outside academia. “I was active in the badminton club at Waterloo. We’d meet three times a week to play. It’s a great way to meet people outside your studies and outside your discipline.”

Jameson also has advice to incoming undergraduate students: “Make the most of your years at Waterloo. The profs are super friendly, so it’s important to get to know them. Try different things during your internships and co-op placements. One of the things I really enjoyed was being able to have a different experience in a different city every time.”

About the Governor General’s Academic Medals

Awarded by the Governor General of Canada, the Governor General’s Academic Medals recognize the outstanding scholastic achievements of students in Canada. They are awarded to the student graduating with the highest average from approved university programs — gold medals at the graduate level and silver medals at the undergraduate level.

Lord Dufferin, Canada’s third Governor General after Confederation, created the Academic Medals in 1873 to encourage academic excellence across the nation. Over the years, they have become the most prestigious award that students in Canadian schools can receive.

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