Information for

Stephen M. Watt


Stephen M. WattResearch interests

Professor Watt's research interests lie primarily in the areas of computer algebra (e.g. algorithms and applications of gcd and factorization of various sorts of polynomials), programming languages and compilers (e.g. implementation of dependent types, compiler optimizaions for programming languages with templates or genenerics, garbage collection), pen-based computing (e.g. pen-based collaboration, mathematical handwriting recognition) and mathematical knowledge management (e.g. mathematical web services and digital mathematical libraries).

Degrees and awards

BSc (UNB), MMath, PhD (Waterloo)
Fields Institute Fellow; J.W. Graham Medal in Computing & Innovation (Waterloo); Doctor Honoris Causa Scientiae (UVT Romania); Distinguished University Professor (Western); Best Business Turnaround (to Descartes); Synergy Award for Innovation (to Maplesoft-ORCCA); IWAY Award for New Technology Development (CANARIE); Premier's Research Excellence Award (Ontario); Outstanding Innovation Award (IBM)

Industrial and sabbatical experience

Professor Watt was a member of the board of directors of the Descartes Systems Group from 2001 to 2015, twice serving as Board Chair and once as Lead Independent Director. Descartes provides software-as-a-service for global logistics, mobile resource management and global trade compliance. The Descartes Global Logistics Network provides inter-enterprise data exchange among manufacturers, retailers, shippers, freight forwarders, air, ocean and rail carriers, regulatory agencies and third party logistics providers.
Professor Watt was responsable scientifique for Projet Safir at INRIA Sophia Antipolis in France from 1996 to 1998. His research group undertook contracts in polynomial systems for automotive modelling, in automatic differentiation for weather prediction and progressive lens optimization, and in mathematical data communication protocols for the World Wide Web, amongst other problems.
Watt was a co-founder and later a director of Maplesoft from 1988 to 2009. He and his university research group undertook contract research in the areas of computer algebra (polynomial systems, partial differential systems, linear algebra) and software systems (mathematical data communication, cooperating garbage collectors).
Prior to this, from 1984 to 1995, Watt was a research staff member at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center at Yorktown Heights, New York. There, he conducted research on computer algebra systems and compilers. He was one of the principal authors of the Axiom computer algebra system and was the principal architect of the Aldor programming language (then called A#). Axiom was unique with its architecture based on the abstractions of modern algebra, and Aldor provided the first optimizing compiler for a language with full support for dependent types.

Representative publications

S.M. Watt and 20 others,
Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) Version 3.0 Second Edition,
World Wide Web Consortium Recommendation 10 April 2014, 
ISO/IEC International Standard 40314:2015.
O. Golubitsky and S. M. Watt, 
Distance-Based Classification of Handwritten Symbols, 
International Journal on Document Analysis and Recognition, 13(2):133-146, 2010.
S. M. Watt,
Two Families of Algorithms for Symbolic Polynomials,
Computer Algebra 2006: Latest Advances in Symbolic Algorithms -- Proceedings of the Waterloo Workshop,
World Scientific, 193-210, 2007.
Y. Chicha and S. M. Watt,
A Localized Tracing Scheme applied to Garbage Collection,
Proc Fourth Asian Symposium on Programming Languages and Systems, Springer Verlag LNCS 4279:323-339, 2006.
R.M. Corless, S.M. Watt and Lihong Zhi,
QR Factoring to Compute the GCD of Univariate Approximate Polynomials,
IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, 52(12):3394-3402, 2004.
University of Waterloo
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