May 10, 2013 in McMaster
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May 8, 2013 in McMaster
HAMILTON, ON–(Marketwired – May 8, 2013) – McMaster University and Cisco Canada (NASDAQ: CSCO) today announced they have established a long-term relationship which will see the university increase research activities in Integrated Health Biosystems and Bioinformatics. McMaster and Cisco will also establish a university-wide research cloud computing environment and infrastructure. This partnership will see McMaster build on its renowned research successes and strengthen its links with national and international partners from academia, government and industry.
As part of the agreement, Cisco is providing a $2.1 million contribution to McMaster. The contribution includes $1.6 million over eight years to establish a Professorship in Integrated Health Biosystems, as well as $500,000 over five years to establish a Research Chair in Bioinformatics.
The Research Chair in Bioinformatics will collaborate on a program in Integrated Health Biosystems, the aim of which will be to bridge the existing gulf between data-intensive areas of biomedical research and healthcare by integrating diverse biological datasets with clinical and environmental data.
The Professorship in Integrated Health Biosystems will help to establish a cloud-based computational infrastructure designed to manage, analyze, integrate and distribute the vast amounts of data resulting from biomedical research, clinical trials, and patient feedback.
Current research initiatives at the university tend to store data in separate databases, accessed primarily by the original research team and seldom shared across different studies. By creating one simple cloud-based infrastructure to both house research data and provide high performance analysis, multiple Faculties at McMaster will have easy access to technology resources, and be able to seamlessly share data and collaborate for a more comprehensive delivery of results. In the future, this “research cloud” could serve multiple institutions and research facilities.
Facts and Highlights:
— The proposed research cloud will help to lower operating costs for
researchers and facilitate the growth of cutting edge areas of research.
— An institutional research cloud will allow McMaster to quickly grow,
change and adapt the computing environment as research needs dictate,
through greater flexibility and the quick positioning and migration of
computing resources to meet the changing needs of researchers.
— A cloud-based architecture allows for a bring-your-own-device (BYOD)
model of access, granting researchers secure and easy access to sensitive
data kept safely on campus, from any resource connected to the internet.
— McMaster expects the cloud environment will also facilitate research
sharing with other universities, institutes and colleges as well as
collaborations with industry.
Dr. Patrick Deane, president and vice-chancellor, McMaster University:
“The significance of this partnership with Cisco is enormous. We’re home to some of the world’s leading researchers who continue to make discoveries through novel approaches and applications. The Chair in Bioinformatics and the Professorship in Biosystems will allow us to increase our research capacity and capture the value of the exponentially increasing volumes of data generated by our researchers. This investment will give us the much needed infrastructure to share our information with our local, national and global partners.”
Nitin Kawale, president, Cisco Canada:
“Living in an increasingly connected world brings certain challenges to researchers in terms of managing vast amounts of data and making it easily accessible to the right people for maximum benefit. Cisco and McMaster both realize that this challenge can be turned into a fantastic opportunity to not only improve the way this data is managed, but to also analyze how people’s connection to others and to devices continues to evolve. This innovative project has the potential to transform the way academic research is conducted in Canada and throughout the world.”
About McMaster University
McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 156,000 alumni in 140 countries.
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the previously unconnected. For ongoing news, please go to http://thenetwork.cisco.com.
Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Cisco’s trademarks can be found at www.cisco.com/go/trademarks. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company.
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Last night Software Hamilton (@hamiltonsw) and Hamilton Economic Development (@hamiltonecdev) hosted the inaugural Jobs Night at McMaster University. A big part of the motivation for me to organize Software Hamilton events is the frustration I’ve experienced watching the brian drain occur out of McMaster. Year after year an amazingly talented bunch of people graduate from McMaster University and generally leave Hamilton. I’m told this happens in “University towns” everywhere, but I’m fairly certain it’s worse in Hamilton. An obvious example would be RIM (now Blackberry), which has been great for retaining University of Waterloo graduates in their city. We can’t capture all of the McMaster graduates or even most of them at this point, but with Hamilton software firms now hiring in greater numbers than ever before we should be able to start retaining at least some of them.
McMaster has formal channels for connecting students to jobs that work great; my own experience with the co-op program during my undergraduate years was fantastic. I obviously forward any job opportunities I’m aware of to the right contacts internally (McMaster is my employer, and I’m a graduate student there currently).
But in past years I’ve also run more unofficial informal “networking events” for undergraduate students where I’ve had alumni come in and pitch what their company does and what types of jobs they will be looking to fill over the next 6 months. It ends up being educational for the students if nothing else, they get to see what types of career paths exist and what companies out there are looking for in terms of skills and experience. But a cool thing happened where every time I ran one of these events companies would fill positions with students they interacted with that night. I’ve always wanted to do one of these event focusing on companies from Hamilton specifically, but it wasn’t until the software startup and job surge over the last few years that doing so was really possible.
At Job Night last evening we had Mabel’s Labels, Weever Apps, REfficient, ProSensus, HiFyre and others from the Hamilton-area come in and talk about what positions they’ll be looking to fill over the short term to about 60 students in attendance. I know at least a few of these companies will be conducting interviews with students that they met at the event, and they spoke highly of the McMaster students that they have hired thus far. A representative from the Small Business Enterprise Centre was also there to explain the Summer Company program. Several students indicated they would be using the program to help launch their own software development shops over the summer. There’s a huge opportunity for them there… I get a lot of requests for help with short-term software development projects from companies that are overburdened with work but not yet at a level that they can justify hiring a new employee.
A single event like this isn’t going to stop the brain drain or build a better funnel from McMaster in to Hamilton. In some sectors like healthcare the talent already flows freely and in large numbers from McMaster in to Hamilton. But in others the talent doesn’t flow in to Hamilton, it just flows right out, and the lack of local opportunities can lead to a perception that McMaster is a bit of a wall within Hamilton. Based on feedback from participating companies and students, I suspect Job Night helped put a nice little crack in that wall, with many more to come.
January 25, 2013 in McMaster
The Graduate Enterprise Internship (GEI) is an internship program that will ensure southern Ontario meets future labour market needs by providing business and management experience to graduate students and recent undergrads of STEM programs.
Focusing on students from science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs, the GEI will help match SMEs (Small/ Medium Sized Enterprise) in Southern Ontario with eligible interns for a six-month paid internship.
This initiative will develop the next generation of leaders in business and innovation. If you are an SME looking to benefit from new skills and technologies, and harness emerging talent, this program might be the initiative you have been looking for. If you are a recent grad or enrolled as a master’s/Phd candidate eager to get great experience from a local business, this program might just be the opportunity you have been waiting for.
Employers – SME Businesses
â€¢ Small to Medium size companies (< 1000 employees worldwide)
â€¢ Located in Southern Ontario
â€¢ Operating in the STEM sector (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)
â€¢ Provide a 6-month internship that develops an intern’s business skills and experience
â€¢ Provide structured mentoring during the placement that includes regular meetings with a management-level mentor
â€¢ Up to 50% of an intern’s salary, to a maximum of $15,000 for STEM Post-Grads and $10,000 for recent undergrads will be provided by the Federal Government- the host employer must provide the remainder of the interns salary/benefits
â€¢ McMaster will post job positions, provide mentorship outlines and help promote the Internship program to prospective candidates
â€¢ All internships must be completed by March 31, 2014.
Interested applicants are required to fill out and email a completed application with training plan to Lynn Stewart, McMaster University.
Need more info? FAQ sheet
â€¢ Obtained a Bachelorâ€™s/Masterâ€™s/PhD/Post-Doc Degree in the last 5years within the STEM sector (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)
â€¢ Currently enrolled in a Masterâ€™s/PhD/Post-Doc program within the STEM sector (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)
â€¢ Must be a Candadian Citizen or Permanent Resident
â€¢ Participate in a 6-month internship that develops your business skills and experience
â€¢ Take part in a structured mentorship during the placement that includes regular meetings with a management-level mentor
â€¢ All internships must be completed by March 31, 2014.
McMaster University’s Cybernetic Orchestra (@CyberOrchestra) performed “jingle bells” to wish everyone a Season’s Greetings this year. Check out the video below:
I just demoed for the third time at a DemoCamp Hamilton on Tuesday night. I showed off Bus Ticker for the first time and received a lot of great feedback. Both previous demos I gave provided me with great feedback as well as well as a sense of accomplishment and pride in my work. My experiences presenting my work to the software community in this city has resulted in an abundance of personal and professional growth. I want to discuss a couple of these areas in this post.
Acceptance. The first demo I did at a DemoCamp was back in my first year in university with a friend of mine, Zaahir, together we had a built an web service that allowed restaurants to easily launch a mobile presence of their own. We had never presented our website to anyone and hadn’t even fully finished building it but in hindsight it was good we didn’t let those problems stop us from demoing. While nothing came of the project I think we both had a great time presenting and we saw that the software community in this city took us seriously and respected our efforts despite our less than impressive credentials. That experience made me realize that the community here respects you for what you do regardless of age.
Confidence. The first presentation at DemoCamp got me quite nervous and I certainly did not feel very comfortable presenting but as I continued to present those nerves wore off and now I’m excited to get up on stage and show the community the software I’ve built. Getting criticism for the first time on an application you’ve been working hard on is tough, you have to learn not to take it personally. I felt more confident and able to address criticism this past week than my previous 2 demos. I feel more at home in front of a crowd and relish the opportunity to present applications I’ve built!
Perfection. When I think back to my first demo I cringe at how unpolished and raw it was. Each presentation resulted in a more complete and thought out application than the demo before it. In my opinion Bus Ticker is by far the best app I’ve built, I put a lot of work into making sure that I took care of all the loose ends and launched something I was more than happy to attach my name to. When you are reminded that you will have to stand in front of an audience to present your hard work you make sure that you can be really proud of what your showing people. My experiences both at DemoCamp and my summer internship at Inkling have forced me to put more attention on details and the finer areas of an application to produce a product that pushes the limits of my abilities.
I’ve learned so much from DemoCamp and met many really amazing people in the software community in Hamilton! And of course a big thanks to Kevin Browne for getting the ball rolling in Hamilton!
If you’ve been following this blog you’ll know that a startup called Groupnotes (@Groupnotes) led by McMaster students Matt Gardner and Jason Moore won Startup Weekend Toronto (@startupwekndTO) earlier this month and was then entered into round one of the Global Startup Battle. Groupnotes is a collaborative tool that you can use to easily share, annotate, and comment on websites. It’s one of those simple but beautiful ideas that have big potential – perfect for a Startup Weekend. As part of the Global Startup Battle the team competed against startups from around the world in a one week vote competition. It was close, but the team managed to get into the top 15 which allowed them to move on to the 2nd round where a panel of judges would select a winner. The judges picked Groupnotes.
This is really an amazing accomplishment considering that they were up against 138 teams from around the world that each won their respective Startup Weekend events. Groupnotes was up against the best of the best and they came away with the top prize. In addition to design, PR, legal, and other services, the $35,000 prize package includes trips to Rio De Janeiro to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Congress and a trip to San Francisco to meet with founders, investors and mentors. I think the most important prize may be the publicity – Startup Weekends are held all over the world and act as a connecting force within each city’s startup community and across different startup communities. People in startup ecosystems around the world are now going to know who Groupnotes is and that they won; this event has put Groupnotes on the map in the startup world.
By winning this competition Groupnotes hasn’t just put itself on the map either, through their ties to our local community they’ve helped to put McMaster, Hamilton and the broader Canadian startup ecosystem on the map as well. Matt and Jason both went through the Mechatronics undergraduate program at McMaster’s Department of Computing & Software, and Matt is currently working on both a master’s of Software Engineering in addition to a master’s program in the Xerox Centre for Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation. They’ve made the entire community here in Hamilton very proud. As they continue with the next exciting chapter of Groupnotes we should continue to give them our support. Amazing job guys.
McMaster student Shawn Janas (@ShawnJanas) has built a music discovery web app called TurnChannel (@TurnChannel) which he demoed at DemoCampHamilton9. TurnChannel is off to a great start in terms of song plays and media coverage, so I’ve interviewed Shawn to give him a chance to explain what TurnChannel is all about:
Tell me about yourself.
I am a fourth year Business Informatics (Computer Science & Business) student at McMaster University with a passion towards online media/music. I attempted my first startup when I was 16 years old in the field of multiplayer casino games. Since then I have had a huge passion towards entrepreneurship and programming. In my freshman year, I built a ChatRoulette style application restricted towards McMaster students, called ChatBuzzed, which gained a lot of popularity. Since ChatBuzzed, I have been working with tech startups in the fields of online gaming, social media management platforms and YouTube management software learning the ins and outs of business and leadership in technology.
What is TurnChannel?
Everything we do at TurnChannel, we believe in challenging the standards set by most music streaming websites and labels. We do this by thinking differently. The way we challenge these standards is by strictly focusing on the discovery of underground Electronic Dance Music and by building meaningful, transparent relationships with our independent artists. This is done with a beautiful and intuitive interface where simplicity is our main priority and by providing a win-win scenario between TurnChannel and the artists we work with. We happen to have the best music, care to try it out?
Why did you decide to build TurnChannel?
There is a lot of skepticism in the music industry where typically deals between a record label/promotion company are interpreted as a win-loose scenario where the artist looses or feels the label/promotion company are taking advantage of them. TurnChannel’s main goal is to challenge this standard by providing a win-win scenario when working with our artists by building meaningful and transparent relationships. As a developer and entrepreneur, I am super passionate about innovation in the online media/music industry. With the growing popularity of EDM, there has been a huge rise in EDM artists producing great music but these artists are having a hard time getting their name out there. Also, finding new great music is not as easy as it should be so we are bridging this gap between the artists and fans.
How has it been received so far?
Within a month of being launched, we reached 80,000 track plays and have been featured on the front page of HackerNews. The artists we are promoting have been very appreciative over what were are doing and we are looking forward to building more relationships with upcoming artists in the near future.
What tools did you use to build TurnChannel?
TurnChannel is built using Ruby on Rails and Postgres hosted on Heroku. We use Resque as a queue for scheduling background jobs and unicorn as the web server. All of the mp3 are streamed off of SoundCloud via SoundCloud’s API.
What challenges have you faced?
The main challenge we have faced would be solving the chicken and egg problem. We were able to solve this by building an algorithm to pre populate TurnChannel with new trending music produced by independent EDM artists. Once we are able to build a user base off of this music, we are able to reach out to artists and start promoting their tracks on the TurnChannel.
Our future plans are to connect with more uprising artists as well keep improving the discovery aspect of the website by listening and interacting with our users. We are planning on launching a YouTube channel in the near future.
What advice would you give developers looking to build similar projects?
My main advise for programmers and entrepreneurs looking to build a product/startup is to build a product in an industry that you are truly passionate about. Once you have found the industry you are super passionate about, build the product because you want to solve a known problem in that industry and not strictly for making money. This is very important because if you build the product for the purpose of making money, that motivation will guild the product in the wrong direction where you will no longer be solving that original problem. This will lead to people not using or purchasing your product. If you are very passionate about solving a problem, the money will come later and you will end up building a quality product that people will want. Another advise would be to release the product to the public as soon as possible. Your product is originally an experiment where validating your idea and talking to your users is your main priority.
The last Startup Weekend Toronto (@startupwekndTO) took place earlier this month from November 9th – 11th and was won by a startup called GroupNotes led by McMaster students Matt Gardner and Jason Moore. Groupnotes is a collaborative tool that allows users to easily share, annotate, and comment on websites. The big win at Startup Weekend Toronto led to Groupnotes receiving coverage on Mashable, TechVibes and the Financial Post.
Groupnotes is now part of a vote-based global startup competition in which they will face off against teams from around the world. It’s a great chance for Hamilton to raise our profile as a tech startup city – so be sure to vote for them! I figured the best way to let people know about Groupnotes would be talk to one of the founders, so check out this quick interview with Matt below:
How did Groupnotes get started? Why did you tackle this problem in particular?
Groupnotes was started as part of StartUp Weekend Toronto (http://toronto.startupweekend.org). Basically any budding entrepreneur can come with a company name and idea to pitch in under a minute friday night. The top ideas (by vote) get to form teams and that team works as hard as possible to produce a product with validation over the next 54 hours. By sunday afternoon 5 minute pitches and demos are given to a panel of judges made up of investors. After only 54 hours Groupnotes had almost $500 in sales and took top prize for the weekend, also being featured in mashable, techvibes, and the financial post in the following days. As well the team was given the privilege of opening the TSX Tuesday morning.
The problem Groupnotes set out to tackle was wasted time during collaborative projects. To cut down duplicate work and make it easier to work together, the concept was to add virtual sticky notes to any webpage (Any at all!) and have your “group” also be able to see them as they browsed, like leaving a note on your mom’s fridge. As well, while on the same page at the same time group members can collaborate live as even single character presses load in real time.
The problem was tackled because it is something we had all encountered as students, and this was a way to easily remedy the problem. But, during the validation process it turned out that the platform had a lot of usage addressing specific problems that Teachers and Professors had been having. The problems were so severe and educators so eager to have them dealt with, that Groupnotes sold several advanced licenses for a January release date to professors and teachers as far away as New Brunswick. Again, this was all in 54 hours!
Currently the plan is to bring Groupnotes to education for January, but also to have the secure corporate version up and running to sell enterprise licenses early next year.
The most exciting thing though is that we’re now representing Canada and Hamilton in the world’s largest startup battle, www.globalstartupbattle.org. Canada has never won the competition, but we’d love to put our city and our country on the global radar for great startups! Round one is vote driven and begins Wednesday, so if people check out www.groupnotes.ca and follow our voting directions it would be really appreciated by us and the Hamilton Startup Community! You can win prizes for supporting us, too!
Who should be using Groupnotes?
Educators, Students, Enterprise, Startup Founders, pretty much everyone has found a use!
What has the reception been like so far for Groupnotes?
The reception has been incredibly positive! Each person we get feedback from gives us a new use for the platform, it really seems like it addresses different problems for everyone. We also have an awesome quote from a great education-centered CEO that will be revealed Wednesday when our video is released for Global Startup Battle, so be sure to check www.groupnotes.ca daily starting Wednesday! We’re raffling off some great prizes for anyone who supports us.
What challenges is Groupnotes facing right now?
Right now we’re just trying to build our PR campaign for Global Startup Battle, we need to properly represent Hamilton and Canada and bring our startup community the respect it deserves.
Where do you see Groupnotes being a year from now?
Hopefully it has a happy home in your browser!
What advice would you give to people attending Startup Weekend events?
Don’t be nervous, put yourself out there. The community is nothing but supportive. Talk with everyone and you’ll meet great people, build your network, and possibly assemble your dream team as I did. Finally, USE THE MENTORS! They are invaluable and continue to help me far past the end of the competition.
What about student entrepreneurs, what advice would you give them?
Talk is cheap, start working hard. It’s all doable with school but don’t skimp on market validation! Make sure your problem exists and know that your MVP (minimum viable product) will 99% not work exactly how you think. You’ll need to constantly be validating, testing, and refining your product until you have that perfect market fit. Also come out to more events and share your ideas! We don’t bite…
Is there a way that the community in Hamilton can encourage more students to take up entrepreneurism?
It’s doing a great job with democamps, startup drinks, etc. Students need to know that this is a viable career options. I’m actually in the MEEI program at McMaster, which is an Masters of Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation. That’s right, I’m majoring in startups! They help with funding, networking, paying your way into events, and have a ton of resources (in everything from connections to mentor networks) that I use every day to keep going in the right direction. So don’t be afraid to say that when you graduate you don’t want to work for a big company! What I’m doing I want to keep doing forever, and I know others are out there in school. Start learning now, fall flat on your face a few times, and you’ll be raising your first seed round before you know it.
Overall Hamilton is showing great support for startups, the only thing it may lack is widespread news coverage. Maybe we can help by winning the Global Startup Battle and bringing the title to Canada for the first time!
Roz Allen (@TheRozBlog) of Double Barrel Studios (@DoubleBarrel_) has produced a new video showcasing the healthcare industry in Hamilton. In particular the video does a great job covering the technology innovations taking place at the hospitals and in institutions like McMaster University and Mohawk College, featuring interview snippets with people like Duane Bender (@Duane_Bender) and Rob MacIsaac (@RobMacIsaac) about important infrastructure like Mohawk’s iDeaWORKS program (@MohawkiDeaWORKS).
Hamilton hosts Ontario’s eHealth conference AppsForHealth (@AppsForHealth) and we have companies like ISIS doing some pretty cool things like BeDoc. McMaster’s medical school is ranked 16th in the world and Mohawk is embarking on an ambitious plan to become Ontario’s first institute of health and technology. Health technology has been an emerging area of strength in Hamilton for sometime now and all signs indicate we’re only just getting started. If you have a health technology startup or wish to train and/or work in the field, you should check out the video below and consider Hamilton: