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IEEE NEWSLETTER
KITCHENER - WATERLOO SECTION

October 1997


Contents


Mark this date on your calendar:

Thursday, October 9th
Professor John Litva on Smart Antennas for PCS,
University of Waterloo, Davis Centre, Room 1304, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 8th
IEEE Workshop on Public Speaking and Presentations,
University of Waterloo, Davis Centre, Rooms 1301 & 1304, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, November 13th
Mr. Michael Poole on the Anatomy of the 'Black Box',
University of Waterloo, Davis Centre, Room 1302, 5:30 p.m.


Section Officers


SECTION TO CHANGE OPERATING YEAR

At present, the Kitchener-Waterloo section operates on a year that runs from July 1st to June 30th. It has been proposed that this be changed to correspond with the calendar year, in conformity with the IEEE.

This would require various changes to the section bylaws. It would also involve holding an Annual General Meeting in December to elect officers whose terms would start on January 1st.

There will be a special issue of this newsletter in November, containing the bylaw changes, notice of the AGM and a slate of officers to be elected for the 1998 term.


IEEE ELECTIONS

The IEEE is holding elections for various officers, including President of IEEE Canada (Region 7). You have probably received information about the candidates and a ballot form by now.

We would like to point out that one of the candidates, Dr. Chandra Kudsia, is a member and former Chairman of this section. If he were elected, he would surely look after our interests (as well as those of Region 7 of course): he would appreciate your vote.

Information about the other two candidates for Region 7 Director can be seen in the current issue of IEEE Canadian Review.

FOR REGION DIRECTOR-ELECT, 1998-1999,
REGION DELEGATE/REGION DIRECTOR, 2000-2001
REGION 7 (CANADA)

Chandra M. Kudsia (Nominated by Region 7)
Chief Scientist
COM DEV Ltd.
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Kudsia is an engineer, manager and educator. He joined RCA Limited (Montreal) in 1967 where he was involved in the design and implementation of microwave equipment for communications satellites. In 1976, he joined COM DEV. He has served as Principal Engineer, Vice-President, and is currently Chief Scientist. His technical leadership has helped COM DEV grow from a 20-man company to a world leader in microwave products for satellites employing 700 people. He has taught graduate courses, has served on many national committees, is on the Board of Directors of two of Ontario's Centres of Excellence (TRIO and ISTS), and GUARD, a publicly-traded company to commercialize university research. He is a registered Professional Engineer, an adjunct associate professor, co-author of a book, and a 'Fellow' of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He received his Ph.D. (EE) and M.Eng. (EE) degrees from Concordia and McMaster Universities.

IEEE ACTIVITIES: (M'68-S'78-M'78-SM'93)

REGIONS:
Region 7 Central Canada Council, Awards Committee, Chairman, 1994-96

SECTIONS:
Kitchener-Waterloo: Chairman, 1992-94; Vice Chairman, 1991-92

SOCIETIES:
Microwave Theory and Techniques: Distinguished Lecture Organizer, 1991-94; Industry Presentations, 1991-94; Student Papers, Judge, 1991-94; Microwave Networks (MTT-8), 1987-97; Editorial Board, MTT Transactions, 1987-97

CONFERENCES:
MTT-S, Technical Program Committee, 1978, 1983-97; Workshops/Session Chairs, 1983-97.

STATEMENT:
Advances in Information Technology are creating a new world order. Rapid access to information and knowledge now transcends international borders, creating new opportunities and challenges for the engineering profession, bringing organizations like IEEE into ever sharper focus. Organizations must incorporate the management of change and make knowledge more productive. IEEE would provide the best service to its members by emphasizing this theme.

If elected, I will:

  • Listen to the membership by visiting each section at least once.
  • Address issues as highlighted by the membership at large in Region 7, promote local programs and initiate a 'Canadian Distinguished Lectures' series, strengthening our unique Canadian identity.
  • Seek greater membership from industry by promoting the image of the engineering profession and advantages of joining and actively participating in IEEE.
  • Develop closer collaboration with universities and student community, develop strategies to add value to engineering education. I bring 30 years of industrial experience spanning numerous international space programs and a close working relationship with Canadian universities and government agencies to meet this challenge.


PROFESSOR JOHN LITVA ON SMART ANTENNAS FOR PCS

Date: Thursday, October 9, 1997
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Place: University of Waterloo, Davis Centre, Room 1304
Subject: Characterizing the Propagation Channel for Evaluating Smart Antenna Performance
Speaker: Professor John Litva, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario

[ABSTRACT], [BIOGRAPHY]

Dinner: Meet the speaker for dinner after the meeting if you wish. Contact Raafat Mansour at (519) 622-2300 Ext. 246 for further details.


IEEE WORKSHOP ON PUBLIC SPEAKING AND PRESENTATIONS

In today's increasingly competitive environment, the ability to make coherent, interesting and informative presentations is becoming an essential skill for the practicing engineer. This workshop will discuss some basic tips on creating an effective presentation. It will be an interactive workshop and participants will have an opportunity to do some public speaking in order to get first-hand feedback on their weaknesses and strengths.

Date: Saturday, November 8, 1997
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Lunch provided)
Place: University of Waterloo, Davis Centre, Rooms 1301 & 1304

Cost:
IEEE Members $ 50
Non-members $ 100
IEEE Student Members $ 20
Student Non-members $ 50

(Students register after October 20th. IEEE memberships will be available at the event.)

Please contact David Wang to register:

Phone: (519) 885-1211 Ext. 3968;
E-mail: dwang@sail.uwaterloo.ca

Register early as there are only a limited number of openings.


MR. MICHAEL POOLE ON FLIGHT DATA RECORDER ANALYSIS

Date: Thursday, November 13, 1997
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Place: University of Waterloo, Davis Centre, Room 1302
Subject: Anatomy of the 'Black Box' - Its Role in Aviation Safety
Speaker: Mr. Michael R. Poole

[ABSTRACT], [BIOGRAPHY]


COMMUNICATIONS CHAPTER PROPOSED

It has been proposed that a Chapter on Communications be re-instated in this Section. Anyone interested in helping this process, or in joining such a chapter, can contact Slawo Wesolkowski at 884-1710 Ext. 5130 or at
wesolko@MSDEV1.Waterloo.


CONFERENCES IN CANADA

1997
Oct 5-8
1997 IEEE Ultrasonics Symposium. Toronto. Stuart Foster (416) 480-5716, e-mail: stuart@srcl.sunnybrook.utoronto.ca
Oct 6-9
OCEANS'97. Halifax. IEEE Ocean Engineering Society and the Marine Technology Society. Ms. Michael Ellis (908) 562-5362, e-mail: m.ellis@ieee.org
Oct 17-20
IEEE Symposium on Planning and Design of Broadband Networks. Montebello, Quebec. Ihor Gawdan (613) 763-9926, e-mail: igawdan@bnr.ca
1998
May 3-8
IEEE/IAS Industrial and Commercial Power Systems Technical Power Conference (I&CPS). Edmonton. D.W. Hucul (403) 413-5533, e-mail: huculd@navcanada.ca
May 17-20
9th IEEE Workshop on Local & Metropolitan Area Networks. Banff, Alberta. Terry Todd (905) 525-9140 Ext. 24343, e-mail: todd@mcmaster.ca
May 18-21
IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC). Ottawa. Tara Hennessy (613) 990-4711, e-mail: hennessy.tara@ic.gc.ca, URL: http://www.ieee.ca/vtc98/
May 25-28
Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering (CCECE 1998). Waterloo, Ontario. A.K. Khandani (519) 885-1211 Ext. 5324, e-mail: khandani@shannon.uwaterloo.ca
Jun 2-5
IEEE 5th International Conference on Software Reuse. Victoria. Ted Biggerstaff (206) 936-5867, e-mail: tedb@microsoft.com
Sep 15-18
1998 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference (IPCC 98). Quebec. Cheryl Reimold (914) 725-1024, e-mail: c.reimold@ieee.org
1999
Jul 18-22
1999 IEEE Power Engineering Society Summer Meeting. Edmonton. Doug Topping (403) 448-3406.


TODD VELDHUIZEN ASKED WHETHER C++ CAN BE FASTER THAN FORTRAN

by Slawo Wesolkowski
Fortran is the war-horse of engineering number-crunching: C++ is widely used, but even three years ago it could be 20% to ten times slower than Fortran. Now, with the advent of new compilers, especially KAI, C++ is catching up.

At a Computer Chapter meeting on May 13, Todd Veldhuizen took us through the comparison between the two languages, and looked into the future a little.

In planning and programming a large problem with a large multidimensional array, speed of execution depends very much on how data is arranged and called up. Todd gave us a simple analogy: you are working in your office and need a fact to continue: if it is in your head, there is no delay; if it is in a book in your office there is a short delay; but what if you have to go to the library for the book, and worse still, it has to be obtained by inter-library loan from Australia? The analogy is data that is in the register, in cache, in main memory or on disk: the access time can go up to 100,000 clock cycles.

His conclusion - productivity is improved by changing practices, not languages.

[ABSTRACT]


DENNY TANG DESCRIBED DISK DRIVE CIRCUITS

by Arokia Nathan
On May 16, Dr. Denny Tang of IBM Research gave a seminar, which was well-attended, on the circuit technology used in magnetic storage media. Dr. Tang started with an introduction to magneto-resistive recording head technology. The storage density of the magnetic disk is growing at about 60% per year. As a result, the demands on the recording data rate have increased, along with the speed of readout and signal processing electronics.

Dr. Tang reviewed the work of his research team at IBM Almaden Research Center. He showed the chip set function in the drive box, and described mixed-signal circuit design issues related to the CMOS 270 MHz partial-response maximum-likelihood channel.

[ABSTRACT]


COMMUNITECH - VOICE OF CANADA'S TECHNOLOGY TRIANGLE

The centres of Cambridge, Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo form a triangle which has been pooling its industrial development efforts for many months, under the name Canada's Technology Triangle, rather than competing. Now, it has a new body "Communitech" to spearhead its activities under president Vince Schiralli.

The 43 founding members of Communitech include the cities, universities, college, and companies such as Com Dev, DALSA, NCR, Northern Digital, Open Text, Raytheon, RIM, Sybase, Virtek and Waterloo Maple. Their home page is http://www.communitech.org.


HEWLETT-PACKARD PUTS S-PARAMETER APPLICATION NOTE ON THE WEB

S-parameters are used in RF and microwave circuit design to specify input and output impedances and transfer functions. Hewlett-Packard published "S-parameter techniques" 30 years ago, and it has been in great demand to this day.

Now there is an interactive version on the World Wide Web at http://www.hp.com/go/tminteractive. The original note, which has been expanded and updated, is available in Abobe Acrobat PDF format and contains over 70 online pages, 20 zoomable illustrations and other features. Viewers can link to a Java-based model where they can design a circuit and interactively match its impedance. A Smith Chart is updated in real time.


COMPUTERS FOR SALE

The IEEE Student Branch of Conestoga, in an effort to raise money for both the activities and resources of the Branch office and for other groups like the Spectre Solar Car team of Conestoga College, has been selling computers and computer hardware at affordable prices to our students and faculty for almost two years. Our efforts have been successful enough that we now are ready to offer competitive prices to the IEEE community and at large.

Our basic system contains this impressive list of quality, name brand components:

  • Acer motherboard with SIS Chipset
  • Intel Pentium 166 MMX Processor
  • 16 MB EDO RAM
  • Proview 15 inch Monitor
  • ATI 3D Expression Video Card with 2 MB
  • 1.7 GB Hard Drive
  • Acer 24X CD-ROM
  • Acer 33.6 Voice/Fax Modem
  • Acer FX 3D sound card & 80W speakers
  • 3 1/2 inch floppy drive
  • Acer Minitower case
  • Win95 Keyboard
  • MS compatible Mouse

- for only $1480 plus taxes -

1 year warranty on labour, Manufacturers warranty on parts. The systems are assembled by qualified IEEE members. Custom systems and system upgrades are also available.

AMD, Cyrix, Pentium Basic/MMX/Pro/II options available, plus a wide variety of options to suit any needs from the budget student system to workstation quality.

All proceeds from the sale of computer hardware supports upgrades to our student Branch facilities, funds Branch activities, and supports student projects such as the Spectre Solar Car Team that provide benefits for the whole College. The systems are assembled by qualified IEEE members.

For information or to receive a price list or a quote, call the Branch office at (519) 748-5082 during regular business hours.


NEWS FROM ACADEMIA

Grand River Collegiate Institute in Kitchener had three prize-winning entries in a competition in Hartford, Connecticut last April. The contest was to design and build a robot to detect a burning candle and extinguish it. Teams from GRCI came first, second and fifth.

Professor Elmasry, director of the VLSI research group in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UW, has been elected to the grade of Fellow by the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

The University of Waterloo solar car, Midnight Sun IV, came 7th out of 36 entries in the annual Sunrayce competition. Its average speed over the 10 day, 1980 km race was 61.8 km/h. California State University came first.

The Canadian Strategic Software Consortium is one of the winners in the 1997 University-Industry Synergy Research and Development Partnerships Award Program, sponsored by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Conference Board of Canada. Winning entries will be showcased in Richmond, BC on October 23-24. The Consortium is a joint venture of UW and seven Canadian Software companies, including Open Text.


NEWS FROM INDUSTRY

ComDev International and Newbridge Networks of Kanata are setting up a new company, SpaceBridge Networks Corporation. ComDev sales continue to increase.

DALSA Inc. reports increased sales and profits during the quarter ended June 30, especially in Asia. The company has been hiring more staff.

Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Ltd. has donated four blood pressure monitors to St. Mary's Hospital in Kitchener. Patient blood pressure readings will be automatically recorded on each patient's computerized chart.

PearTree Software Inc. of Kitchener (formerly Professional Team Solutions) reported a profit for the year ended November 30, 1996. The company designs, develops and markets industrial software applications primarily for automotive and industrial suppliers. The software allows customers to optimize their production, inventory, distribution and financial information for Just-In-Time delivery.

Research In Motion Ltd. has received an order from BellSouth (USA) for two-way pagers worth $50 million.

Virtek accepted the resignation of Prof. Andrew Wong as Chairman: he remains on the board. His successor is Charles Greb. Virtek develops machine vision systems for industry.


NEWS FROM CONESTOGA COLLEGE

Brent Clements, Chair. Conestoga College IEEE Student Branch
Greetings from the Conestoga College student branch. My name is Brent Clements, and I am the Chairman of the branch. As of the deadline for this newsletter, our branch office is in a state of upheaval in preparation for our membership drive and fundraising efforts for the 97-98 school year. The success we had last year in our efforts gave us great expectations for the coming year.

Our primary fundraising effort has been the sale of PCs and computer upgrade hardware, primarily in the college community. Our efforts have provided us with the money to cover costs, as well as services such as fax, laser printing, CD creation, a paper cutter and other services that assist our members as students. Our fundraising even generated enough money that we were able to share the gains with the Spectre Solar Car team of Conestoga College. Although the team was unable to complete the car in time to compete in Sunrayce'97, it is hoped that the effort put forth by the team will show the community and the world what the students of our college are capable of accomplishing if given the resources.

We are currently preparing to welcome the new students and will be talking to the classes to show them the benefits provided by both the IEEE and our student branch in particular. We hope to duplicate the increase in new memberships that was seen last year, so our student branch continues to flourish into a centre for the growth of our field and the IEEE.

I will keep everyone informed of our activities and any special college events through this newsletter. As this is my last year at school, I hope that my executive and I can continue to develop this student branch into a shining example for the IEEE.


NUCLEAR FUSION UPDATE

by Tom East
In our issue of November 1992, "Fusion: Energy for the Future" described plans for ITER, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. It was to be built by a consortium of Europe, USA, Japan and USSR: Canada would join the European team. Construction was to start in 1996. But the program seems to slowing to a crawl.

According to IEEE Spectrum's Technology 1997 (page 41-42), Russia has dropped out (the USSR no longer exists), the USA is scaling back its involvement, and France and Germany are less enthusiastic. Japan has offered to commit a substantial part of the cost, conditional on participation by others, if the ITER were located in Japan. South Korea plans to build a tokamak, similar to one cancelled by the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in the US: it would cost about $300M. The Canadian tokamak program at Varennes is to be closed.

It is sad to see an exciting venture which, if successful, would eventually lead to a reduction in global warming, apparently dying.


Y2K RESURRECTS LSD

Robert A. Martin: Dealing with Dates: Solutions for the Year 2000. Computer: Mar. 1997.
The year 2000 problem in which programs that use only the last two digits of the year in dates can have bizarre results. Here is an example quoted from IEEE Computer magazine March 1997, page 51.

"Peter de Jager tells of a Scottish bank that was so confident of its systems that it overruled its Y2K service provider's desire to continue testing. The bank advanced the year and started running reports. One looked very peculiar. After long study, one of the bank's elder statesmen recognized it as a printout in the old fractional pounds, shillings and pence. Apparently, when Scotland adopted a decimal system in 1971, the bank had used a date switch that caused every report generated after 1970 to use the new decimal format instead of the old fractional units. But when the time was advanced to 2000, the part of the system that used the date actually thought it was back in 1900, and so it reverted to running the old reports."


INSTITUTE FOR COMPUTER RESEARCH SHORT COURSES

October to December 1997
Registration:
Everyone is welcome to attend the ICR Short Courses. You should register early as space is limited. Employees of companies that are ICR Corporate Partners/Corporate Associates may attend free-of-charge. ICR faculty members and graduate students supervised by ICR faculty members may attend free-of-charge, subject to availability of space.

Location/Schedule:
All short courses are held in the Davis Centre, Room 1304, University of Waterloo. Each course begins at 9:30 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m.

To Register:
Mail/Fax/Phone: Institute for Computer Research, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, attn: Jean Webster. Ph: 519-888-4530, fax: 519-885-1208, email:
jrwebste@icr.uwaterloo.ca. Or, visit ICR's Website to register: http://icr.uwaterloo.ca/ICR.


IEEE CONTINUING EDUCATION COMMITTEE WANTS YOUR OPINION

The IEEE Continuing Education Committee wants to know what you think about the Educational programs provided by the IEEE. To that end, we ask that you fill out and return the survey form below. You may also forward your opinions by email to committee chair Ted Moody,
t.moody@ieee.org, or to staff manager Peter Wiesner, p.wiesner@ieee.org , or to either at IEEE, 445 Hoes Lane, P.O. Box 1331, Piscataway, NJ 08855-1331.

1. What do you want and expect from the IEEE in the area of Continuing Education?
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2. What specific courses or other programs would you like the IEEE to provide?
______________________________________________________________________
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3. What method of delivery do you prefer, e.g.printed, email, Internet, CD-ROM, other?
______________________________________________________________________
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4. Have you ever used any of the IEEE educational services? Which ones?
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5. If you have used or heard of any IEEE educational services, how did you find out about them? What avenues would you suggest the IEEE use to publicize its educational services?
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6. Describe your present position in general terms - e.g.student, new graduate, senior engineer, retired, etc.
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7. Any other comments or suggestions about how your IEEE Continuing Education Committee can serve you?
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