The History Of The Sine Wave - An Incomplete Biography

Picture taken in February 2000


Name: Zhan Huan Zhou
Age: 25
Birthplace: Guangzhou, China
Home: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Education: MASc in Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto (in progress)
BASc in Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo (completed)

For those of you who can read it, here is my name in Chinese:
(If it doesn't appear correctly, that means you don't have the proper font installed.)


The Sine Wave

What the hell is all this fuss about the Sine Wave you ask? Look no further than "Off On A Tangent." This unique look at life will change your perspective on life forever. It is my own personal theory of that I've developed from my own experiences over the years. If this doesn't touch you in a provocative manner, then there's something majorly messed up with you.

About My Name

The first question I get asked by most people is "How the hell do you pronounce your name?" My only response is that it loses is pronunciation in the English language. The best approximation would be "Chan Hwan Chow". The next question I get asked is "How does a 'Z' become a 'C'?" I don't see you asking questions like "How does 'ph' become an 'f'?" It doesn't become anything. It's just way it's pronounced. Hey don't blame me, it's the folly of the English language. For you Chinese people, you can try to pronounce my name the way it should be in Cantonese from my Chinese name shown above.

Since many of you are probably curious, I will describe the meaning of my name now. is "Zhou", my family name. Take note that is not a last name. Does it come last? No, it is a family name and comes first. The next part, (Zhan), has to do with water as is evident from the three water marks on the left side. It means deep and clear, like an ocean. The last part, (Huan), means a strong wooden pole or pillar. The association to wood can be seen from the sub-character on the left side.

Much confusion also arises when people read my name and can't determine my gender. This problem is amplified by the increased use of electronic communications. If it makes any difference to you, I'll clarify this perturbing difficulty with gender association with names. For the record I am a male. (even if my friends occasionally seem to think otherwise:)

Education and Work Experience

As of April 2001, I have completed my studies of computer engineering at the University of Waterloo with first class honours. Check out The Flying Circuits, the home page for the computer engineering class of 2001.

After 14 months of full time work at XLTEK as a hardware designer, I decided to go back to school. I am now in the first year of the Master's program for biomedical engineering at the University of Toronto. I haven't settled on a thesis yet, but it will be in the area of genetic circuits.

In my first work term in the summer of 1997, I did my co-op work term at BSM Agri Ltd. in Arthur, Ontario. My primary duty was programming PIC microcontrollers and various other electronics tasks. I ended up with a multi-purpose environment controller of sorts. It can act as a single-stage variable speed ventillation controller, or by simply changing a bit of code in the PIC, it can be used as a heat plate controller, natural ventilation controller or in dairy cooling systems.

My second work term was in winter 1998 at Buskro Graphic Engineering Ltd. in Pickering, Ontario, just a few minutes away from my home in Ajax. They make high volume printers that can do thousands of pages per minute. I used 80C51 microcontrollers and Lattice PLDs for testing of new software and hardware, including a embedded real time heating system.

For my third work term (Fall 1998), I worked at Research In Motion. I'm in the hardware/embedded/power group. My project right now is integrating a new component into the device, but I can't tell you what it is because it is confidential. Their stocks was one of the big stories of the TSE in 1999.

My fourth work term was spent in beautiful British Columbia. I worked for XCELLSIS (formerly dbb fuel cell engines), an affiliate of Ballard Power Systems. I worked on the voltage monitoring system on the P4 fuel cell bus that was released in October of 1999.

I did my fifth work term in San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley. I worked for Nuvation Labs, a startup company by some Waterloo grads. My project designing a board to translate a digital video stream and zoom the output for an LCD display.

My final work term was at XLTEK in Oakville. The location isn't as exciting as Vancouver or San Jose, but at least it is a job in biomedical engineering. I wrote a Windows NT device driver in C++ for a PCI card. I also did some research on motor evoked potentials for intraoperative monitoring.


I like to play sports and I'm quite good at them in fact. I've played on the volleyball team since I was 10 and the badminton team since I was 14. Click for an action shot. I was on practically every sports team in elementary school if that means anything. I also enjoy tennis, baseball, running and cycling. I've always referred to myself as the most athletic nerd among my friends in high school and even sometimes here at university. I did win the All-Round Boy Award of the entire Pickering High School graduating class of 1996.

I'm also quite keen on writing too! In case you didn't notice, I have a poetry page. Take a read through and you may find something you like. Writing poetry is just good. It's helps to let out emotion. I also write for the Iron Warrior, the Waterloo Engineering Society newspaper. I have a column called Take a Zhance. Get it? It's pronounced "Take a Chance", like my name. Basically it's about you as an engineering student and things you should consider as you graduate and make it into the real world. Since I have now graduated, there will be no more new articles for Take A Zhance. In case you really want to read some of my other work, just look at my creative writing. And for all you really voyeuristic types, I have an online journal that I update daily. It usually contains a rant for day.

To find out more about me, you can look at my list of favourite things.

Miscellaneous Information

Just some things that didn't really fit anywhere else and thoughts to leave you with.

Imagine what it would be like to dive into a pool of army ants? You would be nothing but bone in a matter of seconds. If you're not up to that, just imagine putting your hand in a jar of them. It would have to be labeled corrosive or something.

Decoration I want for my room: A life size globe.

Irresitible: Natural blue hair on a woman, like Sailor Mercury!!


©1996-2001 Zhan Huan Zhou. Last updated May-01-2001.

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