Queen’s Computing at CAN-CWiC 2018

On November 1st, 23 Queen’s students boarded the CAN-CWIC express bus from Queen’s University to the Halifax Convention Center to attend the Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing conference. This event is special for the Queen’s School of Computing since the conference was founded by Professor Wendy Powley and the members of the “Women in the School of Computing” group in 2010. At that time, the conference was the “Ontario Celebration of Women in Computing” catering to the needs of the province of Ontario. Three years ago, due the increasing popularity of the conference, it grew to a nation-wide conference which is now attended by students from across Canada. Wendy Powley continues to oversee the organization of the conference as head of the CAN-CWIC Steering Committee.

The conference began on Friday November 2nd with a poster session, keynote and banquet. On Saturday attendees were treated to keynote speakers, panels and workshops on topics such as creating inclusive environments, what to expect as a new grad entering the workforce, tips on starting a student group for women, and technical sessions such as building your own FAQ bot and Natural Language Processing in Finance applications. Three parallel tracks provided plenty of choice for everyone.

What was wonderful to see this year were the number of past students who were involved in the conference from a presenting/sponsorship perspective, now giving back to the students who were in attendance.

There were approximately 450 attendees at CAN-CWIC 2018 with 30 different institutions represented from across Canada. Queen’s had the 4th highest number of attendees among the schools. Many thanks to the School of Computing for sponsoring the bus to transport the Queen’s cohort!

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David Skillicorn Talks to CBC News about Data Security of Federal Agencies

David Skillicorn comments on the recent report that over a dozen federal agencies failed a security test of their credit card systems. Read his comments and more here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/security-data-shared-services-it-1.4848688

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Computing Student Research Conference (CSearch)

The inaugural Computing Student Research (CSearch) Conference https://www.csearchconference.com/ took place over the weekend featuring 5 keynote speakers, a panel session on Graduate Studies featuring Professor Qingling Duan, Professor Parvin Mousavi and Professor Hossam Hassanein, 16 undergraduate and graduate research talks from Queen’s students and students from other universities, a programming competition and lots of great food, conversation and networking.

The conference was attended by over 100 students from across Canada – some coming from as far as Manitoba!

Many thanks to the organizers who put in countless hours of volunteer time to provide an excellent learning opportunity and to showcase Queen’s School of Computing.

The organizing committee consisted of:

  • Zac Baum – MSc student,
  • Brandon Chan – MSc student,
  • Rachael House – MSc student,
  • Nuwan Perera – MSc student,
  • Grace Underwood – MSc student,
  • Taylor Smith – PhD student,
  • Alex Wojaczek – Undergraduate student

With additional volunteer, planning and logistics support from:

  • Ramy Ayash – Undergraduate student,
  • Anne Liu – Undergraduate student,
  • Justin Gerolami – MSc student,
  • Sou Theocharides – Undergraduate student,
  • Kenny Patel – Undergraduate student,
  • Ftoon Kedwan – PhD student,
  • Shahnaz Shariff – MSc student,
  • Katherine Le – Undergraduate student

Wendy Powley lent her time and efforts as faculty advisor for the conference – helping with acquiring keynote speakers and additional funding for the conference without which the event would not have been possible.

The conference was made possible by our generous sponsors including Queen’s Faculty of Arts and Science, Dean of Student Affairs Office, Queen’s School of Graduate Studies and CS-CAN/INFO-CAN; and of course the support of the School of Computing.

Congratulations are also in order to our research competition prize winners; in the graduate category Alireza Sedghi took the grand prize, with Sazia Mahfuz as runner up. In the undergraduate category, Eric Steinke claimed the grand prize, with Michael Lombardo taking the runner up prize.

Many thanks also to Aaron Visser who spent his weekend providing technical expertise so that we all looked professional!

We look forward to seeing the event come back to life next year and hope to see some of you back there again!

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Computing at the Ontario Universities Fair 2018


The Ontario University Fair was a complete success. The Computing booth was again one of the busier booths throughout the three-day event. As with the last several years, the level of interest in Computing was phenomenal and prospective students were keen to hear about our plans for the next academic year. Feedback from both our current students and future Queen’s students was quite favorable.

There was again great interest in Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence. Many students were also interested in Queen’s many available certificates, especially the Data Analytics and Business Certificates, and were excited to learn that it will be easier to do a Major in Computing and a Minor in another discipline.

As always, Computing was well-represented with both staff and student volunteers. Thanks to:

  • Karen Knight
  • Sarah-Jane Whittaker
  • Ben Hall
  • Matthew Pollock
  • Carolyn Chow
  • Nana Boateng
  • Katy Scott
  • Maxwell Keleher
  • Jessica Dassanayake
  • Duncan Stuart

A special thanks to Doug Martin who prepared beautiful new degree maps.

Well done.

(Photos by Ben Hall)

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3 Tenure-track Faculty Positions Available

The School of Computing in the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen’s University invites applications for three (3) Tenure-track faculty positions. While strongly qualified applicants from all areas of computer science are encouraged to apply, preference will be given to candidates conducting cutting edge research in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer systems that include distributed systems, internet of things, security and intelligent human computer interaction. Hires will be made at the rank of Assistant Professor commencing from July 1, 2019. In the case of an exceptional candidate, a tenured appointment at the rank of Associate Professor may be considered.

For more information, see: http://flux.cs.queensu.ca/employment/2018/09/24/school-of-computing-3-tenure-track-faculty-positions/

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David Skillicorn in Yahoo News Discussing Midland, Ontario Hacking

David Skillicorn was featured in a Yahoo Canada article talking about how the town of Midland, Ontario could have prevented their data from being held ransom by a hacker.

You can read the full article here.

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Ahmed Hassan Named New member of the Royal Society of Canada

Congratulations to Professor Ahmed Hassan for being elected to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC), the most senior and prestigious academic society in Canada. See posting at https://www.queensu.ca/gazette/stories/royal-round?utm_source=e-queens-gazette_faculty

Ahmed and other elected scholars will be formally inducted as Fellows and Members of the College at the RSC’s Celebration of Excellent and Engagement, Nov. 15-18, in Halifax.

Well done Ahmed.

(Photo by Martin Lipman/NSERC)

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Human Media Lab’s Rollable Tablet – MagicScroll – in the News

The Human Media Lab was featured on the BBC, TechCrunch, Kingston Herald, Gadgetify, and other publications this week with their rollable tablet phone – MagicScroll. The device can be rolled like a Rolodex to select contacts and unfurled to get a better view or to type.

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Marwa Afifi and Dr. Mohammad Zulkernine Receive Best Paper Award at ICSSA

Congratulations to Marwa Afifi and Dr. Mohammad Zulkernine. Their paper “Integrating Security in Cloud Application Development Cycle” received best paper award at the IEEE International Conference on Software Security and Assurance (ICSSA), Seoul, Korea, July 2018.

Well done.

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Dr. Farhana Zulkernine Receives Funding for PTSD Research

Dr. Farhana Zulkernine (with Dr. Alex Singer from the University of Manitoba and Dr. Don Richardson from Western University) received funding from IBM Canada Ltd. (IBM) and Mitacs, through the Advanced Analytics Initiative, a research initiative launched in partnership with CIMVHR (Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research) and IBM. The research will develop text mining and machine learning techniques to identify the symptoms of PTSD and suicidal tendencies from patients’ data.

The project title is “Using Advanced Analytics to Understand PTSD in Family Practice and Specialty Cate.”

Congratulations!!

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