Jul 11, 2002

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vol. 24, no. 6

Wosk centre wins medal
Simon Fraser University's Morris J. Wosk centre for dialogue is reflecting new glory. The building, and its architect, Alan Endall of Architectura, were the recipients of a 2002 Lieutenant-Governor's medal, an annual juried award of the Architectural Institute of B.C. recognizing outstanding work by B.C. architects.

Magazine salutes faculty members
BC Business magazine has been thinking about thinkers. The June 2002 edition offers a list of 25 of the province's brightest intellectual lights. Simon Fraser University is well represented by David Baillie, molecular biology, Jonathan Borwein, mathematics, Kieran Egan, education, Diane Finegood, kinesiology Richard Harris, economics, Len Berggren, mathematics and Yosef Wosk, continuing studies.

Making better decisions
Guts and intuition are often the deciding factors when business executives make a strategic business move, such as acquiring a new company or marketing a novel product. An SFU team of business researchers, however, recently received a $200,000 Social Sciences and Humanities Research grant to discover whether they can use computer technology combined with formal, theoretical methods to help executives make better informed, high-level business decisions.

“We're looking at the process of strategic decision-making,” says assistant business professor and team member Michael Brydon. “We're trying to find more effective ways to assess and analyze business options.

For example, should a company build their own technology or buy another company to acquire their technology? We suggest that some formal techniques, which draw on the latest advances in artificial intelligence, raw computing power and computational finance, might result in better decision-making,” he says.

Brydon notes that while people are good at thinking creatively and identifying alternatives, they aren't very good at accumulating all of the information and then predicting the probability of potential outcomes. His team hopes to create a computer application that can assess probabilities and help decision-makers make better choices.

Comments invited
President Michael Stevenson is inviting the campus community to comment on draft revisions to the policies and procedures governing the use of information and communication technologies, such as e-mail, at SFU. Last year, in an effort “to find an appropriate balance between the fundamental principles that support free expression and the duty to provide an environment free from abuse for all members of our community,” Stevenson convened a committee to review the existing policy. See the revised policy at revised policy.

Comments will be received by (Jan Sanderson) until the end of September.

Globalization dialogue scheduled
An impressive array of community leaders and SFU professors will participate in a dialogue on economic globalization on July 22 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Harbour Centre. Organized by international student Malte Schindler , the presenters will discuss the implications of economic globalization on ethnic diversification in local communities and the world at large. Schindler, a fourth-year communication student from Germany, invites SFU students who would like to actively participate in this dialogue to sign up at dialogue.

Igali to carry flag
When Canada's athletes march into a stadium in Manchester, England later this month to participate in the Commonwealth games, SFU Olympic gold medallist Daniel Igali will lead them, carrying his adopted country's flag. Igali calls it a rare privilege and knew he was up against some tough competition for the honour, including Simon Whitfield, who won gold in the triathlon at Sydney, and Olympic silver medallist in judo, Nicolas Gill.

The Nigerian-born wrestler, who returned to his homeland in May to begin construction of a new school for village children, was the first Canadian to win Olympic gold in wrestling when he captured the medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. He has moved up in weight since winning gold in the 69 kilogram class, competing now in the 74-kilogram class. A graduate of the school of criminology, he will begin graduate studies at SFU this fall and says he's prepared once again to combine his athletic commitments with academic studies. The Commonwealth games open July 25.

Johnston to assist United Way
For the first time, SFU will participate in the United Way's loaned representative program. President Michael Stevenson has appointed Paulette Johnston, program manager of the arts co-op program, to assist with this fall's fundraising effort. For 16 weeks beginning Aug. 26, Johnston will assist volunteer committees at various Lower Mainland workplaces, including SFU, to plan and implement their employee campaigns. Johnston says, “It's pretty clear to me that there are increasing needs for certain resources in our community, and that funding is rapidly dwindling. I'm excited about raising SFU's profile in the larger community, while helping raise the United Way's profile on campus.”

Tong prizes up for grabs
A business plan worthy of capturing the attention of professional investors - that's the goal of management of technology MBA students competing for two $2,000 Tong prizes in entrepreneurship. Jacqueline Tiong, Jennifer Martini, Shaheen Jivraj and Duhane Lam, won one of this year's prizes for their business plan seeking financing to proceed with Phase I clinical trials of a local biotech firm's cancer vaccine in the U.S. The cancer vaccine is a revolutionary product that uses the body's immune system to target and destroy cancer cells.

Karl Furlong, Oz Greenberg and Nigel Protter won for a business plan describing how their firm, SemantiQ, will bring to market a new information classification and retrieval product for improving Internet search success. The business plan calls for $5 million in first and second round risk capital. The Tong prizes in entrepreneurship are donated by SFU alumnus and MOT business council member Kooi Ong Tong.

Pinto has sweet win
Carbohydrate chemist and professor Mrio Pinto researches the use of carbohydrates as the lead compound for developing new drugs and vaccines. Since sugar is a simple carbohydrate, it's particularly apt that he is this year's winner of the B.C. Sugar achievement award. The annual award ($5,000) honours someone from SFU who, through a commitment to excellence, has brought distinction to the university and B.C. by achieving national or international prominence. Pinto has achieved both, winning awards and recognition for his work in the U.S., Canada and abroad. He is frequently a speaker at international meetings and was the 2000-2001 Apotex lecturer at the University of Toronto. Earlier this year he was given the Canadian Chemical Society's Bernard Belleau award for distinguished contributions in medicinal chemistry. He is currently the chair of the SFU chemistry department.

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