McMaster University

Artificial Intelligence Linker at McMaster


When: Tuesday March 6th 2018 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Where: CIBC Hall, McMaster University (3rd Floor of McMaster University Student Centre, 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON)

Organizer: McMaster University



The Michael G. DeGroote Initiative for Innovation in Healthcare (MGD School of Medicine), Faculty of Engineering and DeGroote School of Business are bringing large-scale discussions about emerging technologies to McMaster University. Join us, as we engage with industry professionals, researchers, clinicians and students to discuss how artificial intelligence is contributing to the future of health, engineering and business.


5:45 – 6:00 PM – Registration

6:00 – 6:10 PM – Opening Remarks

6:10 – 6:40 PM – Panel Discussion

6:40 – 7:30 PM – Debate-Based Conversations on Key Questions Concerning Artificial Intelligence

7:30 – 7:45 PM – The Future of AI

7:45 – 8:30 PM – Open Networking

Food and refreshments will be provided. Come ready for a great conversation!

Mac students win Google Challenge at hackathon

Originally posted on



A strong friendship, a shared passion for music and dreams of working in the tech industry helped two McMaster Engineering students win the Actions on Google Challenge at the University of Toronto’s annual hackathon. The event took place from January 19-21.

Liane Ladouceur, a third year electrical and biomedical engineering student and Kerala Brendon, a computer science student, also in her third year, won judges over with Talking Notes, an interactive music teacher application. The pair took home a Google Pixel 2, a Google Home Mini and the opportunity to work alongside Google Actions engineers to bring their application to life for over 400M users.

“We went into UofT Hacks with the intention of learning something new and didn’t expect to win any challenges,” explained Ladouceur. “When we won, we realized our app really did offer everything the Google judges were looking for. The user experience was well thought out, it was useful and unique to the Google Assistant. Plus, it had a lot of ‘Googleyness’ and passion behind it.”

Talking Notes teaches a user how to play up to five instruments; the cello, clarinet, piano, violin or recorder. The music teacher assesses a user’s skill level, walks them through tuning the instrument, practicing scales and rehearsing sheet music.

“Before starting the hackathon, we had no experience with Actions on Google, so we were starting from scratch, learning this new interface,” said Brendon. “We learned to use Firebase, the Google mobile development platform, as well as Dialogflow, which takes care of natural language processing.”

In its fifth year, UofTHacks brings developers, designers and creators together for 36 hours of collaborative computer programming. The event introduces attendees to new hardware and application programming interfaces (APIs). There are also workshops and support from volunteer mentors.

This year, 500 people attended. There were 12 challenges in total and the Actions on Google Challenge attracted 29 teams.

Ladouceur and Brendon’s idea for Talking Notes stemmed from their love for music. Ladouceur plays the clarinet and Brendon plays the piano and cello. Brendon continues to keep her skills sharp by playing cello for the McMaster Chamber Orchestra and the McMaster Engineering Musical.

In their first year, the duo became best friends as Welcome Week representatives.

“Being in different programs, we had never worked together on a project or any school work,” said Brendon. “We were happy to find out that we work very well together, and that spending 36 intense hours together didn’t ruin our friendship, but actually made it stronger.”

Ladouceur and Brendon hope to enhance the user experience of the app by giving it the ability to recall information on specific users to tailor the experience each time it’s used. They also want to create a more personal music teacher for each user.

“We were both intent on pursuing careers in the tech industry already, and this experience has certainly given us a boost in confidence.”


DeltaHacks IV showcases student tech talent


The fourth annual DeltaHacks (@deltahacks) took place on Sunday January 28th at McMaster University.

The hackathon is unique amongst regional hackathons for emphasizing hacks for change, in other words, hacks with social good. This year’s event attracted over 300 students, not just from McMaster University, but from post-secondary institutions around Ontario (e.g. Waterloo, UofT, Guelph, etc.).

Check out all the finalist presentations from DeltaHacks IV below!


DoctorDM – a text message based app that allows users to request a diagnosis via SMS messaging


Safety First – an image recognition tool that identifies and provides information about safety issues given an image


Findr – an app to help users identify find out how many other people are checked in to different rooms (e.g. so students could find free space on campus)


Kobot – provides text recaps of previous novel chapters (inspired by Netflix episode recaps)


ReadRelax – an app to help users relax and read quicker


Aloud – an app to read aloud physical written text materials


Kobot won 3rd place, Findr won 2nd place, and the 1st place winner was Aloud, who mentioned they didn’t even know each other before the hackathon! Many awards were also given away for individual, special categories, from “best use of blockchain” to “IoT”.

It’s always so wonderful to see this event happen year after year and grow in scope and quality – congratulations to the organizers for yet another great hackathon!



Learning Technologies Symposium

October 11th-12th, 2017 – McMaster Innovation Park, Hamilton ON

Have you remixed traditional teaching practices using innovative technologies like open resources, social media, or VR? Are you exploring digital solutions for teaching and learning such as video, animation, interactive media, flipped approaches, or online and blended classroom environments? Or, are you thinking about accessible learning, conducting research on digital pedagogies or the impact of technology on learning?

Share your methods, experiences, and research at the Learning Technologies Symposium 2017. Join us as we explore an ‘education remix’ that is making its way into classrooms everywhere.


Learn more about LTS2017 and register at:


Learning from startup hiccups with David Carter

When: Wednesday February 1st 2017 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Where: McMaster University – Room ETB 535 – 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton

Organizer: The Forge (@theforgehamont)



There are many reasons why startups experience failure. To celebrate and learn from these inevitable “hiccups”, join The Forge@Mac and David Carter for Failing Forward: How to learn and grow from startup hiccups. David will outline how to fail well and use it to your advantage.

David Carter is the Executive Director of Innovation Factory (iF). iF is Hamilton’s Regional Innovation Centre with the mandate to be a catalyst for innovation in Hamilton. Appropriately, David’s career has been working in innovation since he joined the workforce. It started as a consultant in the burgeoning personal computer industry and then as an International Markets Analyst at the Toronto Stock Exchange in the late 80’s. At Microsoft he worked through the revolution in desktop computing and the internet in the 90s. In 2001, after 11 years at Microsoft he decided to start his own company. From 2001 until 2012 he and his partner took their start-up from a small office in Burlington, to a Boston based firm raising $20 million in venture capital. Carter is thrilled to support today’s entrepreneurs in Hamilton and to be a part of the larger Hamilton ecosystem.


Self-driving car research at McMaster


Check out this video on self-driving car research taking place at McMaster University!



Autonomous vehicles are become more and more the technology of the future rather than a mere concept. The rise of computer-driven cars comes with the added concern over safety.

At McMaster University, a team of researchers headed by Engineering professor, Saeid Habibi, is developing technology to help make self-driving cars safe on the road.



Mac researcher partners with IBM to improve Watson

McMaster University professor Fei Chiang has received funding from SOSCIP to partner with IBM to improve Watson Analytics!

SOSCIP is a research and development consortium that pairs academic and industry researchers with advanced computing tools to fuel Canadian innovation within the areas of agile computing, cities, mining, health, digital media, energy, cybersecurity, water and advanced manufacturing.

Check out the excerpt below from the full article on the project:

Big data can lend many insights that give an organization an edge in the global marketplace. It can inform decisions that can improve profit margins and help leaders better understand patients, customers and employees, and improve inefficient and costly processes.

Data, however, can also be rife with errors, duplications, inconsistencies and incomplete information. That’s where Fei Chiang and her team comes in. Chiang is an assistant professor in the Department of Computing and Software, Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University. Funded as part of the OCE-SOSCIP Smart Computing R&D Challenge, a collaboration between OCE, NSERC and SOSCIP to provide $7.5M in funding to SOSCIP projects, her SOSCIP project involves working on improving data quality to achieve trusted and accurate results from data analysis tasks.

“Poor data quality costs businesses and organizations millions of dollars a year in operational inefficiencies, poor decision-making and wasted time,” she explained.

“Real data often contains missing, duplicate, inconsistent and empty values. The currency and timeliness of data is also important as many decisions need to be made with the most recent data.”

Chiang is working with IBM to improve the data quality metrics in Watson Analytics, IBM’s cloud-based data analytics platform. The first step is to build a set of detailed quality metrics that provide in-depth information on the data quality problems. The metrics are aggregated to provide customized data quality scores to users based on their data analysis task.

When the research is completed, the aim is to provide organizations with a means of “cleaning” their data, a process which could take weeks to months. Chiang’s research could trim that time down to days, saving the organization money and vital time needed to make big decisions in a fast-paced marketplace.

The research also provides valuable hands-on training for data scientists, which represents a significant gap in the Canadian market.


Dwayne Wasylyshyn on lessons learned at Blackberry


McMaster Engineering has been running Café X talks for the last few years aimed at bringing in speakers to share experiences that spark ideas, discussion and debate.

They’ve recently started live streaming the talks, including the most recent by Dr. Dwayne Wasylyshyn about his past projects during a very interesting time at BlackBerry (then Research in Motion) and what he learned in the process.

Check out the talk below!