Analyze Re Design Challenge

Shiftkey Labs and Analyze Re are planning an exciting design challenge aimed at students with a keen interest in ML, and micro services.

The goal is for you and your team to hack together a working proof-of-concept/prototype for one of the presented design challenges unveiled at the start of the event. You will have approximately 24 hours to conceptualize, model, create, and demo your solution!

Meals, snacks and hot/cold beverages will be provided throughout the event to keep you fuelled up.

The best part… compete for awesome prizes and the challenge of delivering the best solution as determined by the event judges!


There are lots of amazing prizes up for grabs:

  • Subscription to Pluralsight courses
  • Subscription to Codecademy
  • Hundreds of dollars in AWS credits
  • SWAG giveaways
  • Consideration for upcoming job positions and co-op placements at Analyze Re
  • Connections to experienced software engineers in the industry

Judging Criteria

Teams will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Functionality
  • Creativity (your approach on how to solve the problem)
  • Usability
  • Presentation (Demo and Documentation)


Friday, Mar 8th
5:30 pm Registration Registration/attendance at the door
6:00 pm Welcome and Announcements Welcome and opening announcements by ShiftKey Labs staff
6:10 pm Analyze Re Info Session and Design Challenges Learn about AnalyzeRe, the design challenges, and APIs available for developers to use as part of their solution
7:15 pm Q&A Brief Q&A period between event participants and AnalyzeRe. Optional one-on-one time to discuss technical aspects
7:30 pm Day 1 closing Day 1 wrap up announcements
Saturday, Mar 9th
9:00 am Registration Late registration/attendance at the door. Morning snacks and coffee/tea provided
9:30 am Day 2 Opening Opening announcements for Day 2
9:45 am Team Formation Team formation and facilitation. Any individual registrants should join/form a team
12:30 pm Lunch, Coaching Catered lunch provided. Grab a plate of food and keep hacking! Analyze Re staff will be on-site to provide coaching to student teams.
4:00 pm Solution Outline Submission Due All teams should complete the online solution outline form by this deadline for judge consideration
5:15 pm Presentations/Demos All teams deliver a max 5-minute presentation/demo of their solution to judges
6:30 pm Judging Judges break to deliberate on the winning teams
7:00 pm Winners and Prizes Winning teams announced and prizes  awarded. Team photos with judges.
7:15 pm Certificates and Group Photo All participants receive a certificate of participation and gather round for a group photo.
7:30 pm Event Closing Event closes


All information about the design challenges and the Slack channel can be found at

About Analyze Re

Founded in 2013, Analyze Re provides a software analytics suite designed for the reinsurance and insurance industries. In addition to predictive analytics for strategic planning, Analyze Re technology helps organizations make faster and more accurate pricing and portfolio decisions.



Please submit the following form to register for this event


Dan Russell – Meet and Greet

Google search is a tool we use every day—from getting the daily weather report, searching for directions, finding our favourite products buying online, to learning more about the world around us.  Surprisingly, most people are unfamiliar with Google’s advanced search capabilities but Dr. Dan Russell dedicates a considerable portion of his life to helping people become better searchers.

On Thursday, April 19th at 10:00 am, ShiftKey Labs is very pleased to host a meet-and-greet with Dr. Russell. Students across any faculty are welcome to attend and participate in informal discussions with Dr. Russell on topics ranging from Google Search, AI, startups, working at Google, music or anything else that contributes to a lively and stimulating conversation!


Daniel Russell is Google’s Űber Tech Lead for Search Quality and User Happiness in Mountain View.  He earned his PhD in computer science, specializing in Artificial Intelligence until he realized that amplifying human intelligence was his real passion.  His day job is understanding how people search for information, and the ways they come to learn about the world through Google.  His 20% job is teaching the world to search more effectively.  His MOOC,, is currently hosting 3,000 learners / week in the course. In the past 3 years, over 3M students have attended his online search classes.  At this rate, during 2016, students taking the online course will have engaged in over 200 years of learning.  Dan enjoys teaching, learning, running and music, preferably all in one day.


MyMem Models Startup Success with Competition Wins

A siri-like app, developed by current and former Dalhousie students, to assist older people and those with dementia to recall information easily and independently using artificial intelligence has recently been awarded $50,000 investment after success at national and regional competitions.

Last week, Volta Labs in partnership with Innovacorp and BDC Capital, launched the Volta Cohort – a new $125,000 micro fund for Atlantic Canadian early-stage companies. The Dalhousie-based team, MyMem were one of five Halifax companies to be awarded a $25,000 funding and mentorship package at the November 14th launch event, following a competitive pitching process.

Age-Well Ideathon 2nd place winners (L to R): Arun Athisamy, Eric Fisher, Harish Gopinath, and Aishwarya Ravichandran

This follows similar success at a national ideathon competition. Back in October, AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence and HACKING HEALTH hosted the culmination of a Canada-wide competition to identify and invest in new technologies and services to support healthy aging. MyMem placed second in the national initiative and took home $25,000 investment.

MyMem is the creation of alumnus Eric Fisher (PhD Biochemistry & Molecular Biology ’13) and current Master of Applied Computer Science program students Harish Gopinath, Arun Athisamy, and Aishwarya Ravichandran.

“We wanted to develop a solution for dementia sufferers and their families to makes things easier for those suffering from memory loss, their caregivers and families,” said Ravichandran.

“Through AI based personalized voice command, MyMem helps people living with dementia recall information quickly and independently, and hold onto memories and experiences. It will enable users to access important information and photos by voice command, requiring very little proficiency with technology. We hope the app will be fun to use as well as helpful and believe this could change the way disorders such as dementia are approached.”

MyMem’s recent accomplishment follows first-place success earlier this year at HACKING HEALTH HALIFAX in March, and Nova Scotia Sandboxes Introduction to Innovation Bootcamp in May.

The team is based out of innovation sandbox ShiftKey Labs in the Goldberg Computer Science Building, where they have benefitted from the expertise of lab manager, Grant Wells.

“MyMem have shown real potential since the idea was first conceptualized earlier this year,” says Wells. “The app could have a huge impact on people’s lives and the way in which health professionals deal with dementia, related disorders and those living with them.”

Following their recent wins, MyMem are looking ahead and moving forward with tailoring the app to better serve customers.

“The investment from both competitions will make a huge difference in how we can continue to innovate and develop the best product possible for users,” Harish Gopinath says. “We are hoping to go public with the app in 2018 and the investment of support and money we have received so far will really help to make this happen.”

Intel Nervana AI Academy – Virtual Workshop

ShiftKey Labs is pleased to partner with Intel to offer an online-only virtual workshop (details below). Keep an eye on your inbox for the most timely updates as the event date approaches.

Exciting news! The Intel® Nervana™ AI Academy is hosting another AI Student Webcast on Friday, October 20th, from 8:30 pm–10:00 pm with a technical seminar on Deep Learning.

Join us for a live stream to your campus, with new content, key learnings, live Q&A and giveaways!

Learn the fundamentals of Machine Learning, Deep Learning & Artificial Intelligence focused on newly optimized frameworks for Intel Architecture like Intel® Software Optimization for neon™, Intel® Optimization for Caffe*, and Intel® Optimization for TensorFlow* from our technical experts. The workshop will touch on topics relating to:

  • Machine Learning & Deep Learning Fundamentals
  • Applications in Real Life
  • Deep Learning Examples, like Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) for Image Recognition
  • How Intel plans to help developers to improve performance of Machine Learning workloads
  • What frameworks are optimized for Intel Architecture, and how you can get access to them
  • And more!

Make sure to register now with your university/school email address to save your seat!

You’ll receive an email the morning of the event with further instructions of where to go to watch the webcast, how to participate, and the access link to join the Slack channel. 

You’ll want to make sure you register with your school domain email address to get access to live discussion during the event via Slack.

Stay tuned to learn more, as we get closer to the event. If you have any questions, please contact us via Eventbrite.

Supporting the Next Generation of Halifax Start-ups

By: Rebecca Rawcliffe

It may be summer but Dal-hosted innovation sandbox ShiftKey Labs is buzzing with activity from emerging entrepreneurs.

Based in the Goldberg Computer Science Building, ShiftKey is hosting seven teams from the Faculty of Computer Science all taking part in the NS Sandboxes Project Incubation Bootcamp.

From a Canadian Visa Superhero to an automatic meeting scheduler, teams are two thirds of the way through a three-month long provincial bootcamp to develop their innovation ideas.

Cutting-edge artificial intelligence

RovBOT uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence algorithms to understand the needs of individuals manoeuvring through the Canadian visa process. The idea is being developed by Computer Science graduate students Ruhi Madiwale, Dhivya Jayaraman and JeyaBalaji Samuthiravelu.

“Through Facebook Messenger, RovBOT makes the visa process easy by guiding users every step of the way, providing customised guidance”, says Ruhi Madiwale, Master of Applied Computer Science student and RovBOT Tech Evangelist. “We have trained RovBOT using publicly-available information from Citizenship and Immigration Canada(CIC) to understand individual needs and keep track of application deadlines and documentation.”

“As international students at Dalhousie who have all gone through making visa applications, we saw a need to make the visa process easier and more streamlined for those wanting to come to Canada. We hope that RovBOT can fill that gap and also offer tailored support for newcomers.”

Nurturing business potential

The aim of the bootcamp is to support teams of up to 3 founding members in the early stages of developing a product which has some business potential.

“Through mentorship, innovation-focused workshops and collaborative workspace, we are supporting the next generation of Halifax start-ups get off the ground”, says Grant Wells manager of ShiftKey Labs. “Sandboxes across the province are hosting teams with a diverse range of ideas; it’s amazing to witness the innovation and help in developing ideas which could have a real impact on day-to-day life.”

Connor Walsh, Computer Science alum, had an everyday workplace struggle in mind when developing automated meeting scheduler, Let’s Schedule.

“Identifying group availability for meetings is a common problem for most people in the workplace,” says Walsh. “This inspired me to think about developing a solution that goes beyond the traditional systems currently used.

“Let’s Schedule finds suitable group meeting slots by automatically looking at individual calendars and highlighting ideal times and dates for everyone, without requiring any manual input from users. The solution can be incorporated into existing calendar systems used in the workplace.”

Teams will go head-to-head in final presentations on August 24, with the most promising teams receiving prize money from a pool of $50,000.