Six Cheriton School of Computer Science faculty members receive Outstanding Performance Awards

Monday, June 22, 2020

Cheriton School of Computer Science Professors Edward Lank, Kate Larson, Ondřej Lhoták, M. Tamer Özsu, Peter van Beek and Troy Vasiga have each received a 2019 Outstanding Performance Award. Established in 2005, these awards recognize University of Waterloo faculty members for their outstanding contributions in teaching, scholarship and service.

“Congratulations to Ed, Kate, Ondřej, Tamer, Peter and Troy — our 2019 Outstanding Performance Award recipients,” said Mark Giesbrecht, Director of the Cheriton School of Computer Science and incoming Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics. “Across research, teaching and service, all six faculty members have made significant and lasting contributions to the School.”

“I am very pleased to announce the award recipients for 2019, and would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them for their outstanding contributions to the University of Waterloo,” wrote Vice-President, Academic and Provost Jim Rush.

photo of Edward Lank, Kate Larson, Ondrej Lhoták, M. Tamer Özsu, Peter van Beek and Troy Vasiga

L to R: Professors Edward Lank, Kate Larson, Ondrej Lhoták, M. Tamer Özsu, Peter van Beek and Troy Vasiga

About the 2019 Outstanding Performance Award recipients

Edward Lank is a Professor and Cheriton Faculty Fellow (2018–21) in the Cheriton School of Computer Science. His research is in the area of Human-Computer Interaction with a focus on intelligent user interfaces; mobile, multi-touch, and free-space gestural interaction; and movement and input modelling in interfaces. Alongside his appointment at the University of Waterloo, he is an Inria International Research Chair (2019–23) attached to Équipe LOKI at Inria Lille-Nord Europe in Villeneuve d’Ascq, France.

Kate Larson is a Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science. She is affiliated with the Artificial Intelligence group. In 2015, she received a CS-Can/Info-Can Outstanding Young Computer Science Researcher Award, a national recognition of top young computer scientists. She received an Ontario Early Research Award in 2006. Within the Cheriton School of Computer Science she was a Cheriton Faculty Fellow from 2012 to 2015. She is a Pasupalak AI Fellow, a position she holds from 2018 to 2021. In 2019, she was appointed a University Research Chair in recognition of her outstanding research contributions to the field of artificial intelligence.

Professor Larson completed her PhD in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. Her undergraduate degree was in mathematics from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Ondrej Lhoták is an Associate Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science and a member of the Programming Languages group. His research interests are in programming languages and compilers. His focus is on program analysis of object-oriented languages. He currently directs most of his attention to Scala.

In 2012, he received a CS-Can/Info-Can Outstanding Young Computer Science Researcher Award, a national recognition of top young computer scientists, for his contributions in the areas of program analysis and aspect-oriented programming. Earlier this year, Professor Lhoták and his former MMath student Jason Hu received a Distinguished Paper Award at POPL 2020, the 47th ACM SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages. He has a BMath from the University of Waterloo and an MSc and PhD From McGill University.

M. Tamer Özsu is a University Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science. He was the Director of the Cheriton School of Computer Science from January 2007 to June 2010, and the Associate Dean of Research of the Faculty of Mathematics from January 2014 to June 2016. He holds a PhD and an MS in computer and information science from The Ohio State University and a BS and MS in industrial engineering from the Middle East Technical University.

Professor Özsu’s research is on data management following two threads — large-scale data distribution, and management of non-traditional data. Currently, his research focus is on graph data and RDF data.

Professor Özsu is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, an elected member of the Science Academy of Turkey, and a member of Sigma Xi.

He held a Cheriton Faculty Fellowship from 2013–16, a fellowship he holds again from 2018–21. He held a University Research Chair (2004–11), and a Faculty Research Fellowship (2000–03). He was conferred the ACM SIGMOD Test-of-Time Award in 2015, the ACM SIGMOD Contributions Award in 2006, and The Ohio State University College of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2008. He has received the Outstanding Performance Award at the University of Waterloo four times — 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019.

Peter van Beek is a Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science. He served as Associate Director of the Cheriton School of Computer Science from 2017 to 2020. 

Professor van Beek’s research interests span the field of artificial intelligence with a focus on representation and reasoning, constraint programming, constraint satisfaction, and applied machine learning. He has co-authored seven research papers that have won awards, and he has served on the program committees of many conferences and on the editorial boards of several journals. From 2005–09, he served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Constraints, a forum for research in constraint programming and constraint satisfaction and optimization. In 2008, he was named a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. In 2019, he was named a Fellow of the Canadian Artificial Intelligence Association. He received his PhD in 1990 from the University of Waterloo.

Troy Vasiga is a Lecturer in the Cheriton School of Computer Science and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach in the Faculty of Mathematics. His teaching interests include introductory computer science, compilers, data structures, algorithms and theoretical computer science.

Professor Vasiga’s main research interest is computer science education, specifically the role and application of computing competitions in enhancing student interest in computer science. Additionally, he is also interested in exploring the effects of errors on discrete algorithms, such as primality testing.

Professor Vasiga is the Chair of the Canadian Computing Competition, a programming contest for Canadian and international high-school students. He has a BMath, MMath, PhD from the University of Waterloo, and a BEd from the University of British Columbia.

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