Tag : big data week

The viafoura big data week hack-a-thon was a success! A hack-a-thon is a 12/24 or 48 hour non stop programming marathon (ours was 12 hours held last Saturday). Teams present their ideas at the end. Judging ensues and the team with the best project gets street cred and/or wins a prize. Hackers are usually fuelled by coffee, energy drinks, pizza, subs and a desire to learn.

We had an amazing turn out from multiple disciplines: data scientists, database developers, UI/UX and psychologists. We even had some curious people come by and check out to see what a hack-a-thon is and enjoyed the final presentations.

Thank you all for taking the time to come out, learn and meet other curious people.

Below is a list of the winners, along with some photos from the event.


1st Place – House Crunch ($1,000 grand prize)

An easy to follow visual representation of the state of the housing market based on sentiment.

Source code on Github

Team: Kevin Yuen, Kent English and Elgin Chau

With Big Data Week 2014 drawing to an end, we felt there was no better way to send it off than to host a datathon with our partners, Data for Good. The objective was to bring together data scientists, statisticians, programmers and others in the data community to analyze and use data provided by UNICEF in order to produce innovate visualizations and tools to better the lives of future generations.

Lisa Wolff, Director of Policy and Education for UNICEF Canada, spoke to us about their work and their data initiatives, inspiring the crowd and seeding ideas. After revealing some exciting new plans for data collection from the world’s most at-risk populations and how child indicators have been used to stabilize child survival rates, Lisa finished by thanking the Toronto data community for donating their time to such a worthy cause.

Our teams worked tirelessly over the day, stopping only for meals and the odd game of foosball. They covered the whiteboards with notes and the air was thick with chatter and planning.


The teams drew a lot of conclusions, some surprising, some affirming and came up with a lot of fantastic visualizations and interactive tools to educate and inform. At the end of the night, they presented their findings, and propelled rich discussions among the room.




Thanks to our friends at OneEleven, we had plenty of space to host all 100 participants, while Alchemy API donated 100 API keys for use during the datathon. We were thrilled with the turnout and by the potential of the projects and can’t wait for the next one! It was our great honour to be involved with this event, and to be able to witness the innovation, creativity and intelligence of our participants from the Toronto data community. Good company, good food and good causes makes for an amazing weekend and the perfect send off to another fantastic Big Data Week in Toronto. Be sure to read our Tech Talk recap as well!

Check out our gallery and feel free to tag yourself!