P.G. Sorenson Lectures

1988 marked the inception of the Distinguished Graduate Lecture. As of June 1989, this lecture series became know as the Paul G. Sorenson Distinguished Graduate Lecture. It was so named to acknowledge Paul's effort in establishing this series as well as his numerous contributions to the Department during the seventeen years he was with the Department. Paul left the Department in 1989 to accept the position of Chairman of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Alberta.
2013 - Dr. Diego Zapata-Rivera, Senior Research Scientist, Educational Testing Service

Computer Science and Educational Assessment

The field of educational assessment benefits from contributions in several domains including: cognitive science, measurement science, computer science, and instructional science. Dr. Zapata-Rivera will describe how his early research at the ARIES lab has informed his work on designing, implementing, and evaluating new generation assessments over the past ten years.

About the speaker

Dr. Zapata-Rivera is a Senior Research Scientist in the Cognitive and Learning Sciences Center at Educational Testing Service. NJ. He earned a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Saskatchewan in 2003. His research at ETS has focused on the areas of innovations in score reporting and technology enhanced assessment (TEA) including work on assessment-based learning environments and game-based assessments. His research interests also include Bayesian student modeling, open student models, virtual communities, and program evaluation.

Dr. Zapata-Rivera has produced over 100 publications including journal articles, book chapters, and technical papers. He has served as a reviewer for several international conferences and journals. He has been a committee member and organizer of international conferences and workshops in his research areas. Most recently, Dr. Zapata-Rivera has been invited to contribute his expertise to projects sponsored by the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation and NASA. 

2011 - Dr. Russell Muzzolini, Vice President of Imaging and Rendering at Shutterfly

Do You Have What it Takes? Surviving the Internet Bubble

Dr. Mussolini has provided technological expertise and entrepreneurial leadership for Shutterfly for more than 11 years. His company emerged successfully from significant challenges, including the dotcom bust and tech downturn. In his talk, he will use the backdrop of Shutterfly to present some of the practical lessons he learned about software development from both a technical and business perspective.

About the speaker

Dr. Muzzolini is Vice President of Imaging and Rendering and is responsible for defining Shutterfly’s imaging strategy, along with leading the solution architecture and implementation teams. He has played a key role in developing Shutterfly’s imaging pipeline including Shutterfly’s print production systems, imaging features and industry standard tools for commercial applications.

During his tenure at Shutterfly, Dr. Muzzolini has been a thought leader in the areas of computer graphics, digital imaging, and product imagery software development.  He holds 10 patents for algorithms, software and systems developed in these areas. Prior to joining Shutterfly, Dr. Muzzolini worked at Silicon Graphics, designing and developing specialized digital workflows for postproduction companies in the movie industry.

Dr. Muzzolini was born and raised in Saskatoon. He graduated with a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada in 1996.

2010 - Martin Arlitt, Senior Research Scientist, HP Labs

The Search for Invariants

An invariant is an observation that is widely applicable and holds over time.  Finding invariants is important, particularly in an industrial setting, as they represent universal truths that can influence the design of new products and services, or improve the design of existing ones.  This lecture will highlight some of the searches the speaker has conducted in the past 15 years, and describe how some of the results have been adopted in practice.  The lecture will also explain some of the invariants for success in an industrial research lab.

About the speaker

Martin Arlitt holds B.Ed., B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the University of Saskatchewan.  Since 1997 he has worked at HP Labs, the exploratory and advanced research group for Hewlett-Packard.  He is currently a member of the Sustainable IT Ecosystem Lab (SIEL) at HP Labs.  In addition to that role, Martin is a member of the network research group at the University of Calgary, led by his former advisor, Dr. Carey Williamson.  Martin currently lives in Calgary, AB, with his wife and their three children.

2008 - Jason Collins, Chief Technical Officer, VendAsta Technologies

Code Free or Die Hard

Free content. Free application hosting. Unprecedented access to customers eager to use your application - and promote it to their social networks, for free. Multiple frameworks, APIs, and development tools jostling for your attention. Users are on the move, their phones know where they are and where they've been, they're connected all the time - but their interactions with technology are faster, more fleeting, lighter on content but heavy with context. What does this all mean for developers? It means being able to operate in multiple environments simultaneously. It means writing smaller amounts of highly functional code. It means keeping pace with a consumer-facing software sector that is frantic, kinetic, and creatively destructive - now more than ever.

About the speaker

Jason Collins is the Chief Technical Officer of VendAsta Technologies responsible for all aspects of technological evaluation, direction, and strategy. Prior to VendAsta, Jason was the Chief Technical Officer for Point2 Technologies setting the architectural directions for their business systems for both the heavy equipment and real estate divisions. Working at Point2 from 1999 through 2007, he helped recruit and grow the technical team from 3 people to 50. Jason has also worked as a software consultant, a research associate at the University of Saskatchewan, and a software engineer for IBM Canada in the AS/400 languages group. Jason holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Saskatchewan.

2007 - Douglas Konkin, Solido Design Automation Inc.

Lessons Learned 

Mr. Konkin's seminar covers lessons learned from his varied experience: "Over the last 20-odd years working in high technology, a number of themes have recurred enough times and captured interesting enough notions that I find them worth discussing. I make no claim of original discovery or invention. My goals in presenting them are three: to inform students of the joys and pitfalls of the working life they will be entering; to pique the interest and thoughts of my academic and industry peers; and to entertain all with anecdotes describing my discovery of these nuggets of experience."

About the speaker

Douglas Konkin is Vice President, Product Development for Solido Design Automation Inc. Prior to Solido, Doug spent nine years at fabless semiconductor company PMC-Sierra, Inc., where he was a design centre manager and a Director of IC and software development, developing networking ICs and SOCs, and the associated system software.


Prior to PMC-Sierra, Doug co-founded HyperCore Technology, a startup developing cell-switching systems, led the design of real-time online auction and online brokerage systems at PDN, Inc., and led the development of Unix-based real-time monitoring systems for telecom and oil and gas applications at the Datap Systems division of Sandwell, Inc. He holds a BSc (Royal Military College, 1977) in Engineering Physics, and an MSc (University of Saskatchewan, 1985) in Computer Science. Between receiving his bachelor's and master's degrees he served as a Signal officer in the Canadian Army. Solido Design Automation is Doug's fourth startup.

2006 - Dr. Barbara Wasson, University of Bergen, Norway

From ARIES to iTELL: Technology Enhanced Lifetime Learning

Barbara Wasson (Ph.D, University of Saskatchewan 1990) is Professor of Pedagogical Information Science at the Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen, Norway, a Senior Researcher at InterMedia, and a founding partner of eNOVATE AS. She is one of the founders of Kaleidoscope, a European Network of Excellence on Technology Enhanced Learning, and has been leader of its CSCL SIG with over 400 members. Barbara is an associate editor of the new International Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, and she is on the board of the ICT Programme VERDIKT at the Norwegian Research Council. In 2003 she obtained the contract for InterMedia to develop the ICT-based National test in English for the Norwegian Ministry of Education. In December 2004 she attended, by invitation only, a research summit to launch the international research initiative on Youth, Technology and Learning at the UN Headquarters in New York. Barbara«s research interests include computer support for collaborative learning, socio-cultural theories of learning, design-based research, methodologies for studying virtual environments, and pedagogical agents. Her speciality is the design and evaluation of collaborative learning in distributed settings.

2005 - Dr. Hazel Everett, Professor, University of Nancy, France

Effective Geometric Algorithms for Graphics and Solid Modeling

Hazel Everett is a Professor at Université Nancy 2 in Nancy, France and a researcher at LORIA, the Lorraine laboratory for research in computer science and its applications. She is a founding member of project Vegas, a research team of INRIA, the French national institute for research in computer science. Hazel graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a B. Comm. in 1984 and a M.Sc. in 1986 and received a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1990. Prior to moving to France, she spent two years at McGill University as a postdoctoral fellow, six years on faculty at the Université du Québec à Montréal, and passed a delightful sabbatical year at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Hazel's current research focus is on the design and implementation of effective geometric algorithms.

2004 - Dr. Gordon Kurtenbach, Director of Research, Alias

Seven Weird Ideas That Work

Gordon Kurtenbach is the director of research at Alias where he oversees a group whose focus is research on 3D interactive graphics in the areas of input technologies, manipulation, modeling, animation and rendering. Prior to Alias, Gordon was a researcher at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center working on pen based user interfaces for wall-sized display systems. Before Xerox, Gordon was a member of Apple Computer's Advanced Technology Group researching gesture-based input techniques for graphical user interfaces. Gordon received a B.Sc. from University of Saskatchewan in 1984, a M.Sc. from University of Toronto in 1988, and a Ph.D. from University of Toronto in 1993 in Computer Science. Gordon's Ph.D. work on "marking menus" is a patented feature used broadly in all Alias products. His research interests in the field human-computer interaction include input devices, bi-manual input, high degree of freedom input, menuing systems, UI for 3d graphics, human motor control and perception. Gordon has many research publications and eighteen granted patents.

2003 - Dr. Steven Woods, CEO of Kinitos, Inc.

"In a software company, timing is everything - and today the timing is perfect for you to start a software company!"

Steven Woods obtained a B.Sc. Honours with Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan in 1987, and M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees form the University of Waterloo, the latter in 1996. Following a position at Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute, he co-founded Quack.com, which was bought out by America Online (AOL) in 2000. In May 2002, Dr. Woods left his position as a Vice-President at AOL to co-found the software company Kinitos, where he is currently the CEO.

2002 - Dr. Carey Williamson

The Role of "Awareness" in Internet Protocol Performance

Carey Williamson is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Calgary and an iCORE Senior Research Fellow in "Broadband Wireless Networks, Protocols, Applications, and Performance". He holds a B.Sc.(Honours) degree in Computer Science from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University. Prior to joining the University of Calgary, he spent 10 years on faculty at the University of Saskatchewan, winning a University Master Teacher award in October 2000.

2001 - Dr. Tim Brecht

Towards an Environment for Parallel, Distributed and Mobile Applications

Tim Brecht learned everything he knows about Computer Science at the University of Saskatchewan, where he graduated with a B.Sc. in 1983. He obtained an M.Math from the University of Waterloo in 1985 and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1994. He is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo and is enjoying a sabbatical in the Internet and Mobile Systems Lab and the Hewlett Packard Labs in Palo Alto, CA.

2000 - Dr. Larry Aupperle

Human Modeling in Computer Graphics

Larry Aupperle is a technical director at Pixar Animation Studios. He was born and raised in Saskatoon , Saskatchewan where he received a B.Sc. (High Honours) in Computer Science in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Saskatchewan in 1986. He receieved an M.Sc. in Computer Science from the U of S in 1987, studying computational geometry under Dr. Mark Keil. He received a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1993, working in computer graphics under Dr. Pat Hanrahan. After graduation, he joined the Pixar shorts group as a technical director, working on commercials for clients such as Levis, Coca-Cola, and Life Savers. He was a member of the lighting crew on on the first Toy Story feature and did the lighting for the first shot of that film. Larry joined the Toy Story 2 team in 1996 as one of two Associate Technical Directors, and led teams tackling a variety of complex models and characters. Larry has also served as the instructor for the computer graphics training courses given at Pixar to new technical personnel.

1999 - Mr. Berni Schiefer

e-business and DB2: Transforming the Role of the Internet

Berni Schiefer is a Senior Technical Staff Member and manager of DB2 Universal Database Performance and Advanced Technology. He joined IBM in 1985 after graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a B. Sc. (Hounours) and has worked on a wide range of database development projects, including SQL/DS and the Starburst experimental relational databse at the IBM Almaden Research Lab, prior to working on DB2. Since 1990, he has been working on introducing advanced technology into DB2 UDB with particular emphasis on performance.

Berni has written and presented extensively on DB2 and has been awarded several patents related to query optimization. He also chaired the Transaction Processing Performance Council's TPC-D benchmark subcommittee in 1995 and 1996. In 1996, Berni joined the DB2 management team and let the team that delivered TPC-D results using DB2 PE and DB2 UDB. In 1999, his team released the industry's first 1TB TPC-D benchmark result on a cluster of 32 4-way Netfinity servers.

1998 - Ms. Dorothy Josephson

A New General Insurance System for SGI

Dorothy Josephson received her B. Sc. from the University of Saskatchewan, majoring in Computer Science. She continued her education in regina, where she obtained her M.Admin degree in Business Management in 1990. Her research interests lie in the areas of Electronic Data Interchange in the Insurance Industry, which led to the development of SGI CANADA's strategy in this area. Currenty Dorothy is the Underwriting Program Sponsor for the General Insurance (GIS) System. In this rols, she has coordinated the business activities required in moving the SGI General Business Systems off the mainfram and onto client-server technology.

1997 - Dr. Keith Geddes

The Maple System: Symbolic Math and the Hybrid Symbolic-Numeric Paridigm in Scientific Computation

Keith Geddes received his B.A. from the University of Saskatchewan in 1968, majoring in Mathematics with a concentration in Computer Science to an extent possible at that time. He continuted his education in Toronto where he obtained his Ph.D. degree in Computer Science in 1973. His research interests lie in the areas of algebraic algorithms, computer algebra systems, and scientific computation. He is one of the original developers of the Maple computer algebra system and one of the founders of Waterloo Maple Inc. He is co-author of the textbook "Algorithms for Computer Algebra". He is currently Associate Dean for Computing in the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo, where he is a Professor of Computer Science.

1996 - Dr. Deborah Fowler

The Making of Toy Story

Deborah R. Fowler was born and raised in Saskatoon. She received her B.Sc. and M.Sc. at the University of Saskatchewan, and her Ph.D. from the University of Regina, where the focus of her research was spiral patterns in plants and seashells. After post-doctoral studies at the University of Calgary, she went to work with PIXAR in Richmond California on Toy Story, the world's first full-length computer-generated movie. She is now an animation scientist in their feature film division. Her publications include two papers in the annual ACM SIGGRAPH Conference Proceedings in 1992, contributions to two books, The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants (1990) and The Algorithmic Beauty of Sea Shells (1995), as well as published images in both technical and popular magazines.

1995 - Henry Spenser

The Age of Uncontrolled Information Flow

Henry Spenser earned his B.Sc. from the University of Saskatchewan in 1976 and his M.Sc. from the University of Toronto in 1982. He worked as a Unix systems programmer at University of Toronto for a number of years before becoming an independent consultant and author.

Henry ran the first Usenet site in Canada (and the first outside the U.S.), which was part of the Usenet backbone in its early days. He and Geoff Collyer wrote C News, one of the two major software packages for network news transport and storage. He and David Lawrence are currently rewriting the Nutshell Handbook on managing Usenet for O'Reilly and Associates. He's working on a first draft of the replacement for RFC 1036, which currently defines the format and protocols of network news. He was involved in the early definition of CA*Net (the Canadian national research network) and was primary speaker at the Workshop On NetNews of the RNP (Brazil's National Research Network) in Rio de Janeiro in August 1992, as a United Nations technical consultant.

Henry Spencer is also known as the author of various pieces of freely-available software -- the public-domain getopt() UNIX library function, the first redistributable string library, a widely-used regular-expression library, the 4.4BSD POSIX regular-expression library, the awk text formatter, etc. -- and as the author of The Ten Commandments For C Programmers. He participated in the public reviews of the ANSI C standard, contributes to the Standards Council of Canada working group that formulates the Canadian position at ISO on C and related subjects, and was a member of the POSIX.2 technical working groups on regular expressions and awk. He wrote the Regular expressions chapter for Software Solutions in C (ed. Dale Schumacher, Academic Press). He is also a founding member and past board member of the Canadian Space Society, a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, and an occasional consultant to the Canadian Space Agency, and was head of mission planning for the now-dormant Canadian Solar Sail Project.

1994 - Judith Escott

Successful and Usable Software: How To Get There From Here

Judy received her first degree in Home Economics in 1971 from the University of Saskatchewan. Subsequently she completed two Master's degrees: one in Community Nutrition at the University of Guelph in 1976, and one in Computational Science at the University of Saskatchewan in 1988. Ms. Escott received the Governor General's Award from the University of Saskatchewan in 1988 as the top post-graduate student.

Prior to moving into the field of computer science, Judy worked as a CUSO volunteer teaching high school science in Malawi; as a researcher on a CIDA rural development study project in Indonesia and on a University of Guelph nutrition project; and finally as coordinator of a school nutrition program for the Saskatoon Community Health Unit.

Judy joined the Toronto IBM Development Lab in April, 1988 subsequent to her graduation from the University of Saskatchewan. While there, she has risen from team leader to manager, holding a variety of different positions on database and application development tools projects. She has been the recipient of several awards for her work, most notably an IBM Canada Achievement Award in 1991 and a Special Contribution Award in 1992 for her technical and project leadership. In 1993 she completed a special assignment as technical assistant to the Director of the Lab. Ms. Escott is currently Manager of DB2 Client/Server Software Developer Kits for OS/2, AIX, and DOS.

1993 - Darwyn Peachey

Making An Animated Film Using Computer Graphics

Born and raised in the Saskatoon area, Darwyn attended the University of Saskatchewan receiving the B.Sc. with High Honours in Computational Science in 1978 and winning the Governor-General's Gold Medal. He received the M.Sc. in Computational Science from the U. of. S. in 1983. Before joining Pixar in 1988, he spent three years working on the UNIX operating system development at the Hospital Systems Study Group, and five years as a member of the research lab staff in the Dept. of Computational Science at the U. of S.

Darwyn has been active in the computer graphics research community. He was a member of the program committees of the ACM SIGGRAPH 92 and 93, and the Graphics Interface 86, 88, 89, 90 and 91, and was Program Chair of Graphics Interface 88. He has lectured in five course at SIGGRAPH conferences and has published eight research papers in computer graphics, performance evaluation and AI. In march 1993, he (along with six coworkers) received a Scientific and Engineering Academy Award for the RenderMan rendering software from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Pixar is a San Francisco Bay area computer graphics company whose products include software packages and animated TV commercials. Pixar is currently producing the world's first 3D computer graphics animated feature film, funded and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Darwyn described his work at Pixar, focusing on the technical challenges of computer animation production: geometric modeling, parametric keyframe animation, inverse kinematics and dynamics simulation, shading, texturing, rendering, compositing, and recording.

1992 - Dr. David Taylor

Debugging in a Distributed Environment

Dr. Taylor obtained his B.Sc. in Computational Science from the University of Saskatchewan in 1972 and the Honours Certificate in 1973, M.Math. and Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo in 1974, 1977, respectively. Dr. Taylor has been on the faculty at Waterloo since 1977, with a sabbatical spent at the Computing Laboratory, University of Newcastle upon Tyne (1983-84). He is currently on sabbatical at the IBM Toronto lab. He served as Associate Chairman for Undergraduate Studies in the computer Science Department from 1987 to 1990. Dr. Taylor's research interests include distributed systems and fault-tolerant software. He has been performing research in software for fault-tolerant systems for many years, primarily studying implementations of data structures suitable for use in a fault-tolerant environment. More recently, he has focused his research effort on the area of distributed systems. Work includes replication issues and protection in remote-procedure-call environment.

1991 - John K. Johnstone

Lines and Circles in Solid Modeling

Dr. Johnstone graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1983 with a B.Sc. Honours in Mathematics. During this time, he maintained a strong link to the Computational Science Department, taking many courses and working two summers as a research assistant in the Department. He graduated from Cornell University in 1987 with an M.S. (1986) and Ph.D. (1987) in Computer Science. While at Cornell, he was a member of the Robotics and Solid Modeling Group led by Prof. John Hopcroft. His Ph.D. thesis is entitled The Sorting of Points along an Algebraic Curve. He has been and Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Johns Hopkins University sine 1987. His research, which has been funded by the National Science Foundation, includes solid modeling, computational geometry, and robotics.

1990 - Fred Smith

The Care and Feeding of Baby Boomers in the Changing Computer World

Fred Smith received a Bachelor of Commerce degree with Honours in Computer Science in 1970. He took a position as programmer/analyst with the Coputer Services Bureau of the Federal Government in Ottawa. In 1972, Fred joined Quasar Systems Ltd. (now Cognos Inc.) as their microcomputer specialist. His first project was designing and implementing a Broadcast Control System for CBC using Datapoint 2200 minicomputers. The first computer used on the project had 8K of memory, 2 cassette tape drives and a 30 cps printer. In 1980, Fred returned to Saskatoon to join Buy-Rite Furniture Inc. as their Vice-President of Finance. In 1985, Fred started a Money Concepts Financial Planning centre in Saskatoon. In 1990, he was Regional Vice-President in Saskatchewan for Money Concepts (Canada) Ltd. and Chairman of the franchise in Saskatoon. Since its inception, it has received several Internaional awards, including top franchise for Canada. Fred is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and a Registered Financial Planner (RFP). Fred is President of the Saskatchewan Chapter of the Canadian Association of Finacial Planners, Director of the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, Past Director of Tourism Saskatoon, past President of the Bridge City Cosmopolitan Club, Secretary of the Western Canada Federation, Cosmopolitan International, Chairman, cartage Division, 1989 Jeux canada Games, Campaign Chairmang of the 1989 United Way of Saskatoon, Past Chairman of the U od S Computational Science Fund for Excellence, and a member of Mensa Canada. Fred writes a monthly column called Money Matters for SASK Report magazine and hosts a bi-weekly program calledCoping with Finances on TELECABLE 10.

1989 - Chris Thompson

The Myrias SP-2: System Overview and Architecture

Chris Thompson received his B.Sc. with High Honours in Computational Science from the University of Saskatchewan in 1975. Chris completed his M.Sc. in 1976 at the University of Alberta. From 1976 to 1983, Chris worked for the Computing Services Department at the University of Alberta. At the same time, he founded his own software company, called Chion Corporation. In 1982, Chris became one of the co-founders of the Myrias Research Corporation, a company with the goal of developing a low-cost supercomputer system. Since 1986, Chris has been System Architect for Myrias Research. He played a major role in the system integration of SPS-1. He also specified the hardware architecture, and guided the software architecture and language development for SPS-2. In 1989 he assumed a leading role in SPS-2 integration, support for marketing activities, and the primary responsibility for future technology directions at Myrias

1988 - Dr. Joseph Wald

Scientists' Array Manipulation Language

The first lecture, by Dr. Joseph Wald, was held in conjunction with the 25th Anniversary Celebrations. Dr. Wald was our first Ph.D. graduate. After completing his Ph.D, in the area of Database Systems in July, 1985, Joe joined the Schlumberger-Doll Research Lab in Ridgfield Conn. to work in the Strobe/Impluse knowledge-base system. This was one of the first systems ever developed to support large expert system development.