Dr. Stephen Wismath joined the U of L in 1983 and teaches primarily computer science coures. His main area of research interest is the design and analysis of efficient algorithms. In particular, his research focuses on problems in computational geometry (primarily the complexity of visibility of objects in the plane), algorithmic graph theory, and graph drawing (for example, dynamic layouts of graphs in 3 dimensions and lower bounds on such constructions). In addition to complexity issues, he is interested in practical algorithms and he has hired students to implement several tools for researchers in these areas; the resulting packages (GLuskap, VisPak, OrthoPak and ArrangePak) have been widely distributed. Research funding by NSERC is gratefully acknowledged.
Dr. Stephen Wismath received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from U.B.C. in 1989. He obtained his B.Sc. (Hons., Mathematics) with a minor in Computing Science in 1975 and an M.Sc. (Computing Science) in 1980 from Queen's University.
When I was an undergraduate, Computer Science was still a young discipline and there was a great deal of excitement about the potential for computers to solve problems and change the way we do things. While some of this has happened, many of the problems remain unsolved.
We have never been very good at predicting what is ground-breaking, critical research and what is a dead-end. As a graduate student, I was excited about the potential of Artificial Intelligence, but soon realized the area did not really have the necessary tools yet. I switched into a different, less-hyped area where the problems are better defined.
Most of my research is theoretical in nature and not directly applicable to real world problems.
However, most of the problems that I work on are motivated by issues in robotics, graphics, VLSI design, GIS, etc. Some of my students have worked on 3D projection techniques -- polarized stereo-glasses and now work in industry for video game companies.
I have not received any official honours other than NSERC Discovery grants and the general respect of my colleagues in my area.
I have graduated 3 MSc students and hired several undergraduates for summer projects over a lengthy period. Students are an important component of my research activities and I enjoy the skills and enthusiasm that they bring.
There is some equipment that I could purchase (for example a 3D printer). And I would likely expand the software projects that are related to my research (for example the GLuskap package for drawing and editing graphs in 3D).