Youth, Big Data and Massively Impactful Ideas


Who said young people don’t have great ideas? Last week, the League of Innovators was a judge in both the Toronto and Calgary National Big Data Challenge for high school students, and we were blown away by the caliber and insight of the projects. The STEM Fellowship Big Data Challenge is a competition that helps students get excited about data science. The event was supported by Let’s Talk Science and under the patronage of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, students came together from across the country to present their findings.

The overarching theme for the entire challenge was was focused on exploratory data analysis of Canadian Space Agency (CSA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and European Space Agency (ESA) open data to produce descriptive and graphical summaries of data with the goal of revealing the impact of environmental condition on human health and well-being. It invites high school students to go further into predictive analytics of optimal environmental characteristics for long-term, long-distance space travel. The resulting projects ranged from tuberculosis and its’ sustainability all the way to global mental health, happiness and its’ impact in space as well as orbit prediction through machine learning. Other presentations included the effects of PM2.5 on lung cancer rates and their effects on long-term space travel as well as applications of real-time data to tackle the opioid crisis.

LOI was judging the competition in both Calgary and Toronto and was honoured to award one team in each region with ‘the most entrepreneurial’ award. Both the winners of the League of Innovators award will receive an invitation to join LOI Labs program in September 2019 to further build out their projects into tangible businesses. The winners were:

Calgary: The winner was Webber Academy created by Shounak Ray, Jaqueline Seal and Evin Chin who were exploring the Potential Indicators of Tuberculosis Disease: Extrapolation to Other Infectious Diseases and Space Travel. This team illustrated innovative thinking and real-world application. The team applied machine learning and time-series forecasting to tackle how global conditions are affecting our future’s environmental sustainability as well as how we might tackle infectious diseases and learn what environmental conditions are best for sustainable living environments.

Toronto: The winner was TanenbaumCHAT built by Jonah Garmaise, Ethan Ohayon, Ryan Goldberg, and Mason Silverwho. TanenbaumCHAT was tackling the challenge of pollutant concentrations and its correlation with cancer incident rates. The solution that the team proposed was a hybrid App that would consolidate the data and present it for the everyday user based on select criteria. The app would allow users of various cities to see live updates on pollutant concentrations and their impact on health.

“The caliber of the youth is mindblowing. It is great to see the initiative it takes to develop full fledged solutions to real issues and showcase them live. We definitely saw the entrepreneurial spirit in these youth. Choosing who was wining the awards was very difficult” - League of Innovators Ontario Market Manager Fardan Khan

The bridge between science, data and entrepreneurship was one that was highlighted by a few of the esteemed guests and it was refreshing to see youth in high school jump on this opportunity. We can not wait to see the startups and solutions these young innovators build out over the years to come.


LOI Team