Don Cowan, PhD, BASc, MSc
University of Waterloo
2014 Catalyst Grant Program — New technologies to optimize assessment of mobility, activity, and health in the frail elderly (CAT 2014-02)
Donald Cowan is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Cowan obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, and completed his graduate and doctoral degrees at the University of Waterloo.
Dr. Cowan’s current research interest is in software engineering focused on design and implementation of Web-based systems, particularly in reducing the number of abstractions required to produce and validate such software. During the last few years, the World-Wide Web and associated technologies have become the platforms of choice for creating many new software applications. These can encompass extensive multimedia materials including imaginative uses of maps, Web sites, databases and electronic and mobile commerce functions. However, these applications do not operate in isolation but must often be connected to existing or legacy systems. Further they must be carefully designed for future evolution and subsequent maintenance.
Professor Cowan has recently been focusing on component-based systems in this context and testing his design methods by building Web-based applications. He has been developing frameworks for components and using declarative approaches based on XML and XSL to create applications. The work has resulted in the Web Informatics Development Environment (WIDE) an extensive framework-based toolkit that supports very rapid development of applications, often within a few hours.