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UoT prof and startup CEO to discuss future beyond keyboards at San Fran conference

University of Toronto professor and CEO of digital makeover platform ModiFace, Parham Aarabi, will head down to San Francisco next month to speak at the MobileBeat conference on the mobile user experience and the future of mobile keyboards. 
In an article he wrote for VentureBeat explaining the basis of his talk, Aarabi looks at intelligent touch screen devices and dynamic keyboards, which change based on probable letters. But what he's most fascinated by is the world "beyond keyboards," which makes up the backbone of his current research at the University of Toronto. 
Extended Touch is a technology that turns any surface into a keyboard just by placing a mobile device on it. 
"…A user can tap a location on any surface that a mobile device is placed on, and based on the unique vibrations and sounds, we detect the exact location tapped," Aarabi explains. "Although the core tap detection technology works reasonably well, there are several important challenges that will need to be overcome. However, it is possible in the future that such an interface (i.e. typing on any surface) combined with a probabilistic keyboard will make a viable method for text entry."
Aarabi is developing this technology alongside a team at the University of Toronto's Mobile Applications Lab (APL). He believes this technology will influence everything from presentations to the creation of novel musical instruments and game interfaces.
Check out the full article here and learn more about APL here.
Original Source: VentureBeat

UK looks to Ontario for university fundraising ideas

Canada's university fundraising culture is 20 years ahead of the similarly minded UK system, making our top universities an ideal fundraising case study, according to an article in the Guardian
Writer Andrew Derrington is the executive pro vice-chancellor of humanities and social sciences at the University of Liverpool. He recently toured numerous Canadian universities as part of the annual CASE fundraising study tour, which takes academic leaders from the UK to Canada to study fundraising practices at notable institutions. McMaster University, the University of Waterloo, the University of Toronto and Wilfrid Laurier University participated. 
The tour capped off with a visit to UoT's Mississauga campus where Derrington says he learned about the university's $2 billion Boundless campaign from Gillian Morrison at the central campaigns office. "The biggest in Canadian university history, this campaign is directly linked with academic mission, and shows that smaller universities can have no excuse for lack of coherence in their campaigns," Derrington wrote. 
At McMaster in Hamilton, Derrington learned about the "three main actors: development professionals, donors and academic leaders." Touring the schools and chatting with key academic figures prompted Derrington to conclude that the UK could learn a lot from Canadian universities--both from our successes and our mistakes. 
He predicts that if the UK were to adopt some of our practices, "An average sized, middle-ranking British university should be able to get to a point where they are raising £5-10 million per year from philanthropy within five to 10 years." 
Read the full story about Derrington's tour here
Original source: The Guardian 

Green with envy over UoT Mississauga's Instructional Centre

The Univeristy of Toronto's Mississauga campus has caught the attention of sustainability publication Treehugger for its award winning Instructional Centre. 
Featuring a gallery that highlight's some of the building's greatest attributes, Treehugger pays homage to the Centre's many integrated photovoltaics, solar panels that convert light into energy, as well as its student lounges that overlook green roofs planted with indigenous meadow grasses. The solar panels are unique in that they also offer shading in the centre's main east west corridor and centre staircase while simultaneously providing clean energy throughout the building. An additional star attribute, the building's geothermal system that heats and cools the building, is hidden beneath a playing field. 
The Centre is the creation of architects Perkins + Wills, known for their green educational buildings, as well as design principal Andrew Frontini, a master at crafting breathtaking fixtures. He chose to "clad the building insides and out in copper," which Treehugger points out isn't the greenest of materials, but one that certainly lasts a long time "if it isn't stolen." 
"This is certainly not the greenest educational building that Perkins + Will has turned out; that would probably be Peter Busby's Centre for Interactive Research and Technology. But it is lovely to look at and combines such generosity of comfort, luxury and sustainable features. Leonard Shore would be proud," Treehugger says. 
View the gallery here
Original Source: Treehugger

Google acquires Toronto startup DNNresearch

In an effort to "boost its voice and image search technology," Google has acquired Toronto startup DNNresearch, a small company founded by University of Toronto professor Geoffrey Hinton and two of his grad students, Alex Krizhevsky and Ilya Sutskever. 
The financial details were not disclosed, but the news comes following the $600,000 gift provided through Google's Focused Research Awards Programs last year, TechCrunch reports. Much of the discussion is based not just on DNNresearch's research into voice recognition technology and deep neural networks, but also on Google's desire to acquire the talent. Krizhevsky and Sutskever developed a system that "dramatically improved the state of the art of object recognition" and will move to Google. Hinton will "divide his time between his university research and his work at Google," continuing to work part time at UoT and partially out of Google's Toronto office, as well as the company's headquarters in Mountain View, CA. 
TechCrunch summarizes Hinton's many accomplishments, noting he "is the founding director of the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at University College in London, holds a Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning and is the director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research-funded program on 'Neural Computation and Adaptive Perception.' Also a fellow of The Royal Society, Professor Hinton has become renowned for his work on neural nets and his research into “unsupervised learning procedures for neural networks with rich sensory input," the article says.
It also notes that the University of Toronto said the team's research "has profound implications for areas such as speech recognition, computer vision and language understanding." Professor Hinton predicted in a Google+ post that "Google’s team to be the epicenter of future breakthroughs."
Read the full story here.
Original Source: TechCrunch

The key to success: Well planned strategy

Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, was in Mumbai last week promoting his new book Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works. Written with A.G. Lafley, the former CEO of Procter and Gamble, the book explores how to design and implement a strategy for success, a key but often misguided step in business development.
He sat down for a Q&A with Live Mint, a division of the Wall Street Journal, to discuss the book and its themes in more detail. Martin is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School and worked Procter and Gamble before becoming Dean at Toronto's Rotman School of Management. He will be ending his term there later this year. 
"Most companies don’t have a conscious strategy," he told Live Mint. "They are just doing a bunch of stuff that doesn’t add up--they don’t have any useful strategy. They might say 'we are going to be the best in the industry; and they think being the best in their industry is a strategy--it’s not. It’s a slogan."
So what is strategy? It requires CEOs to have a clear vision and an understanding of the company's customers. 
Martin says, "Strategy is an integrated set of choices that produces an outcome. It defines where we are going to play--if a CEO can’t define that, he or she probably does not have a strategy worth having. Saying we want to have the good customers is a non-choice; instead, if you say, for instance, we want customers who value variety over low price, that’s coherent. That way you can organize yourself to have high variety--to have a value proposition to that customer base that is distinctive."
Read the full story here
Original Source: Live Mint

New U of T Muslim prayer room receives international attention

A $25,000 Muslin prayer room recently opened at the University of Toronto's theological campus Emmanuel College has garnered international attention from Muslim media.
An article featured in On Islam writes, "University officials opine that the move to open a prayer room for Muslim students helps promote inter-faith relations." It goes on to describe how the prayer room is part of a larger focus on Islam and "new spaces for Muslim students" to expand efforts to "enrich multi-faith dialogue both on and off campus."
?Emmanuel College is the theological college of Victoria University in the University of Toronto. 
"There’s a history of Emmanuel College and the Muslim community that has been standing for about four years now," Mark Toulouse, principal and professor of the History of Christianity, told On Islam
"In February 2010, we started the Muslim studies program, as well as the Canadian Muslim continuing education certificate program. We also have a master’s program--the Muslim Studies track--for students interested in becoming Muslim chaplains."
The article writes that the Canadian Jaffari Muslin Foundation, the Islamic Foundation of Toronto, the Islamic Institute of Toronto, the Muslim Chaplaincy, and the Muslim Students Association at University of Toronto funded the prayer space. 
It is part of the University of Toronto's plan to develop a "more inclusive multi-faith prayer space to welcome all religions."
Read the full story here.
Original source: On Islam

Canada's top business schools team up to promote MBA programs

Last week, Canada's top business schools announced the Canadian MBA Alliance, a partnership between McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business, University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, York University’s Schulich School of Business, and Queen’s School of Business designed to market Canada as the place to pursue an MBA. 
Now, business critics are beginning to weigh in on Canada's stake in the international business academia, wondering if Canada's new alliance will threaten MBA programs in the States and the UK. An article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek suggests the UK may want to follow Canada's lead should they wish to keep up, as this model combined with Canada's advanced visa programs gives the country serious legs. 
"What makes the Canadian move interesting is the fact that the country is already very successful at attracting foreign students, thanks in no small degree to its liberal immigration policy and enlightened attitudes toward racial and cultural diversity. Canadian visa rules allow international students enrolled in a master’s or MBA degree program to stay and work in Canada under the Post-Graduate Work Permit Program for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years. Building on this through a concerted marketing campaign could make it a very serious competitor in the lucrative international market," writes Matt Symonds. 
Read the full article here.
Original source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek

How to turn international students into local talent

The UK's Economist magazine reports on how Canada's MBA programs are trying to attract the world's top students—and keep them here as residents after they graduate.
"Several things have happened to persuade more overseas students to consider Canada. Firstly, the US, in response to a tough job market, has tightened up its visa policy, making it more difficult for foreigners to stay and work in the country once they graduate. The number of H1-Bs, as the relevant visas are called, is now capped at 65,000. In 2003 it was 195,000. This is a puny number given that in 2011 there were around 723,000 foreign students in the US, according to the Institute of International Education. Furthermore, students are only awarded an H1-B if they already have a job offer. To make matters harder, this must be directly related to their field of study. MBAs have been particularly affected by the clampdown because the raison d'être of many business students is to get a new job at the end of the course."
"While America works to keep well-qualified people out, Canada has moved in the opposite direction. As of 2008, all students who complete a two-year Master's degree automatically have the right to stay in the country and work for three years. They do not need to have a job lined up and are not restricted to working in a particular field."
"Charmaine Courtis, executive director of student services at York University's Schulich School of Business, says that around 80 per cent of foreign MBAs at the school choose to stay and work in Canada immediately after their MBAs. After that, she adds, most tend to return home, taking their newly honed skills with them. It is a similar story at Rotman, says[Jeff] Muzzarall. However, given that the average age of an MBA on its full-time programme is 28, by the time that they have studied for two years and lived in the country for a further three, many have settled down with a mortgage and new family, which can persuade them to stay for good."
Read the full story here
Original Source: The Economist

Look on the bright side, U of T pres advises TO

In an April 6 column, Globe and Mail writer Marcus Gee reports on a recent speech by David Naylor, the president of the University of Toronto, who wants to turn those GTA frowns upside down.
"'It's time to get over ourselves. Yes, there are things to fix. But please make time to celebrate the hugely positive features of the remarkable municipalities that together make up the Toronto metropolitan region.'"
"That region, he says, ranks high on many global surveys: number three in livability, number four as an innovation hub, number six on a scale of business competitiveness—yet Toronto ranks number 59 on a list of the world's most expensive cities."
"It has the third largest financial centre and fourth largest health-sciences community in North America. Its design sector is the third largest on the continent, with a work force of more than 28,000 designers. The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development says Toronto has the fourth highest rate of entrepreneurship among regions in the industrialized world."
"What is more, he says in a 'pointy-headed aside,' these strengths are 'multiplicative.' They build on one another."
Read the full story here
Original Source: Globe and Mail

U of T ranks 16th globally in a survey of academic reputation

The University of Toronto has the best reputation for post-secondary learning in Canada and the 16th best reputation in the world, according to the UK-based 2012 Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings. The Reputation Rankings (now in their second year) are based on a survey of 17,554 published scholars from 137 countries.
"Last year, U of T ranked 17th in the survey, with Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cambridge University in the top three spots."
"'Only 100 universities are listed in our prestigious World Reputation Rankings—that is around 0.5 per cent of the world's higher education institutions,' said Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education Rankings. 'So those that feature in the list are part of an exclusive global elite of exceptionally powerful university brands.'"
"Two other Canadian universities, the University of British Columbia and McGill University, are also among the 100 universities featured in the World Reputation Rankings."
"These reputational rankings complement Times Higher’s annual World University Rankings that are published each fall and measure the institutional performance of the world's top 200 universities in research, teaching and knowledge transfer. Last October, the University of Toronto was rated 19th overall in these rankings, the best of any university in Canada."

read full story here
original source U of T News

U of T researchers develop quicker and cheaper HIV testing

A "portable lab" created by University of Toronto researchers James Dou and Stewart Aitchison could revolutionize the way HIV is diagnosed and treated around the world.

As reported by the Toronto Star, the portable cytometer can take blood tests on the spot and produces results within minutes, making it faster, cheaper and easier to use than any other HIV testing device to date. 
"'The current gold standard for CD4 testing is a machine roughly the size of a photocopier called the flow cytometer,' Dou says."
"Not only is the flow cytometer bulky, it's also an expensive piece of machinery that requires a trained technician to operate it. As a result, flow cytometers are typically restricted to large urban centres and are mainly inaccessible to HIV patients in developing nations."
"In Canada, those who live in remote communities must send vials of blood away to be tested, with results taking up to two weeks to process."
"In contrast, Dou's portable cytometer works like a diabetes test. A pinprick of blood is placed on the disposable cartridge and inserted into the handheld device, which counts the CD4 cells and produces results in 10 to 15 minutes."

read full story here
original source Toronto Star

$35 computer with Toronto-designed software sells out worldwide in minutes

A group of Toronto software designers is receiving international attention after the $35 computer containing their software sold out within minutes of its release.

The computer—the Raspberry Pi—is a small, but powerful machine meant to equip classrooms in the developing world with affordable technology. The software for the computer was developed by Seneca’s Centre for the Development of Open Technology after the college partnered with the Raspberry Pi's Cambridge developers last August. 

"A $35 computer with Toronto-designed software stormed the tech world Wednesday, selling out in minutes, wrote the Toronto Star. Back orders hit "the tens of thousands," said Ebden Upton, executive director of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

"'We’re absolutely blown away by the interest,' he said."
"Seneca College’s Chris Tyler used one of his fall semester software building courses to create and refine the software for the Raspberry Pi launched Wednesday."
"In fact, it was the release last Wednesday of the Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix software that potential buyers had to download that gave Tyler and Upton an inkling of the flood to come."
"'We had 120,000 views on the video,' said Tyler. 'The mailing list of people who wanted to be informed was over 100,000.'"

read full story here
original source Toronto Star

New Ryerson residence employs unique public-private approach

Ryerson University continues to transform Toronto's downtown; the school recently announced a partnership with MPI Group to develop a new, 500-bed residence at 186-188 Jarvis St (currently occupied by a parking lot). As reported by the National Post,  construction on the new residences—estimated to be about 20-storeys high—is set to begin in 2014.
"Ryerson University is once again turning to the private sector as it expands in downtown Toronto. The university announced on Monday it will be partnering with MPI Group to develop a new, 500-bed residence."
"This is the first public-private partnership in student-housing development for the university, but the school partnered with the private sector in the construction of the Ted Rogers School of Business Management. It also sold airspace above the AMC movie theatres in return for the use of the theatres for day-time lectures."
"According Monday’s press release, the university has more applications for available residence spots than any other university in Ontario. Due to the high demand, this building represents just the first of 2,000 new spaces the university plan to add by 2020."

read full story here
original source National Post

Study abroad? Why American students head north

Reuters reports on the increasing number of American students choosing to pursue their post secondary degrees in Canada. Canada's appeal—a combination of internationally reputable institutions (Toronto's York and U of T among them), lower tuition fees and a high quality of life—has been drawing just under 10,000 American students across the border every year for the past five years. 

"You also get great value," Katherine Cohen, CEO of Manhattan-based educational consultants IvyWise tells Reuters.

"'International students at McGill pay $17,000 a year for a BA, which is nothing compared to the top US schools, where you might pay three times that amount.'"

"A study visa won't be hard to procure, and with that in hand you'll be able to work on-campus (and off-campus too, as along as you apply for a special permit). As for smoothing the process to get into graduate schools, American institutions are very familiar with the prominent Canadian undergrad schools, so they won't be put off by a foreign degree. Katherine Stimson, for instance, did her undergraduate degree at Toronto's York University in 2004, which is priced at around $12,000 a year and her graduate degree at the University of Miami in 2011."

read full story here
original source Reuters US

'Culture of caring' pervasive in Toronto's hospitals

An Inside Toronto special looks at the "culture of caring" and innovation that permeates Toronto hospitals, healthcare centres and medical research facilities. From the Scarborough Hospital's new tasty food options, to Humber River Regional Hospital's digital transformation, Toronto's healthcare centres are on the forefront of patient care and medical innovation. 
"Not only does this culture of advancement and innovation attract brilliant minds in the health care field, it establishes Toronto as forward-thinking and a global leader."
"And the giving travels in both directions. There are fundraisers and walks throughout the year, which raise much-needed funds for one form of research or another. Citizens give back when they are proud of the work being done by those in the medical field. In particular when it is happening in their city.
The great strides being made in healthcare by institutions across the city are the kinds of things Torontonians should be proud of—especially when everything coming from various levels of government is all doom and gloom. In particular, hospitals are under fire for CEO salaries, the province is talking of delisting some services from OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) and the federal government wants to transfer healthcare funding to the provinces."
"At this time, everyone should know about the eye surgery being done at Toronto East General Hospital, which takes amniotic membrane from donated placentas to repair and reconstruct damaged eyes; the stem cell research at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine that helps find treatments for conditions like heart disease and spinal cord injury; the work into children's health at the Hospital for Sick Children; and the coronary artery clinical trials underway at North York's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre."
read full story here
original source Inside Toronto 

69 Higher Education Articles | Page: | Show All
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