It is with great sadness that we announce that our friend and colleague, Alejandro (Alex) López-Ortiz, passed away on Sunday, March 12, 2017, at age 49, after an 18-month battle with cancer. Alex was a professor and a central and enthusiastic force in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science.
Alex was born in Mexico City. The son of an academic, he graduated from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México with a Licentiate in Mathematics in 1989. He then came to Waterloo as a graduate student in computer science, where he obtained a Master of Mathematics in CS followed by a PhD in CS under the supervision of Prabhakar Ragde.
After obtaining his doctoral degree, Alex shifted his focus to applied algorithms, becoming a research scientist at OpenText in 1996. Two years later he accepted a position as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Computer Science at the University of New Brunswick. Alex moved to Seattle in 2000 to become the director of Internet research at Internap Network Services, where he led a research team to develop and implement an automated quality of service–based routing system.
Waterloo always beckoned to him, so Alex rejoined us in 2001 as an Assistant Professor in the School of Computer Science. He was promoted to associate professor in 2004 and became a full professor in 2012. He supervised nine PhD thesis students and was an author or co-author on more than 200 publications on a variety of topics in computer science. Alex’s research focused on adaptive algorithms and measures of quality in online algorithms, but through his collaborative spirit he co-authored papers with many colleagues both within and outside the school. He was a unifying force and his lasting impact continues to be felt widely across many topic areas.
Alex was born in a global metropolis of more than 25 million people, but from his earliest days here he embraced smaller-town life in Waterloo. It was in Waterloo that his son, Mackenzie (14), and daughter, Sophia (11), were born. We are grateful for the time Alex spent with us and for enriching our lives through camaraderie and collaboration. We will ensure that the productive research partnerships he forged will endure.
Our thoughts are with Alex’s family — wife Cassandra Wigmore, children Mackenzie and Sophia Wigmore López, sister Citlali López‐Ortiz, niece Luciana Toledo-López, and father Alejandro Lopez-Yáñez.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to cancer research through the Cancer Research Society.