Making A Difference With Data

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Steacie Library Dungeon Hackfest

By York University Libraries in association with LaunchYU!

Date: February 17 -18, 2016

Time: 9:00am Feb 17 – 5:00pm Feb 18

Location: Steacie Science and Engineering Library.

Do you love crunching data? Creating breathtaking visualization? Or do want to learn how to do those things? Do you have a brilliant business involving data idea but you are not sure how to build it? Do you think that there’s some wisdom hidden in someone else’s data that can help us understand the world better? Are you a go-getter who will hack your way to your goals?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, we invite you to participate in the Third Steacie Library Hackfest!

What is a Hackfest? If you haven’t been to one, it is about spending two days collaborating with your fellow students on a particular project, and bringing the project to reality! Students from disciplines such as Computer Science and Engineering, Fine Arts, Business, Digital Media, and Health will work together to share ideas and create solutions.

This year’s theme is Making a Difference with Data. The theme is about finding an existing dataset somewhere out there or creating your own and somehow using that data to build a product or service or do an analysis or visualization that will make a difference in the world. We’re purposefully leaving the theme open to interpretation, but we hope that teams will come up with projects that will be geared towards solving preexisting social problems.

If you want to gain experience bringing an idea to life, or just want to participate in a fun collaborative environment, mark your calendar for the Annual Steacie Library Hackfest supported by LaunchYU, on February 17-18th, 2016. We look forward to seeing you there!

Breakfast, lunch, and caffeine provided!


Day 1: Wednesday February 17, 2016


0900: Registration & Breakfast
0930: Idea Pitches
1030: Start Hacking
1100: Presentation: Introduction to Data!
1130: Presentation: Microsoft Azure
1200: Presentation: Bitnobi Data Analysis Tool
1230: Lunch


1330: Mentor Drop In (Until 5PM)
1330: Keep Hacking
1500: Presentation: Sonification!


1800: Dinner
1900: Keep Hacking
2200: Day’s Done
Day 2: Thursday February 18, 2016


0900: Breakfast
1000: Hacking & Presentation Prep.
1030: Mentor Drop In (Focusing on Presentation)
1230: Lunch


1400: Final Presentations
     1. Yacker
     2. Skip
     3. What are YU up to?
     4. YU Deliver
     5. Forage App
     6. Synergy
     7. PortOpt
     8. Village Shuttle+
     9. REAM
     10. The Intercepters 
     11. Transformers
     12. Study Room Finders
     13. STDY.SPACE
     14. Dawn’s Minions
1600: Networking Reception
1700: Hackfest is done!

Registration is now Closed....

Thank you everyone who registered!

We will see you Feb 17th!

If you missed the chance to register and would like to be added on our waiting list, contact us.


Hugh McCague

Hugh McCague is a statistician at the Institute for Social Research and the Statistical Consulting Service, York University. He has worked on wide-ranging data analysis applications in the arts, sciences, health, environment and business.

Jean Adams Portrait
Jean Adams

Jean Adams is currently Director of the Managing Contemporary Enterprise course at Schulich School of Business and Associate Co-Director at York University’s Institute for Research on Digital Learning (IRDL). Her research and articles focus on using new technologies to promote innovative learning, particularly by fostering a “learner in control” pedagogical approach.

William Denton

William Denton is the York University Libraries web librarian and has been at York since 2007. His work at York centres on the library’s web presence: what the site looks like, what the library offers over the web, how people use it, and how other librarians can do more anywhere on the web.

Andrea Kosavic
Andrea Kosavic

As Digital Initiatives Librarian at York University, Andrea manages digital projects supporting scholarly communication on campus including the YorkSpace repository, and the York Digital Journals scholar-led journal hosting service.

Don Sinclair

Don Sinclair is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Digital Media Program in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design at York University.  His research and artistic practice span a variety of media and formats using computer programming for artistic expression.

Ethan Nguyen

Ethan Nguyen is with data analysis startup Bitnobi.

Walter Giesbrecht

Walter Giesbrecht has been the data librarian at York University Toronto since 1998; prior to this he was an organic chemist, atmospheric chemist, seabird biologist, crayfish biologist, medical research technician, and science librarian.

Najiba Hussaini

Najiba Hussaini works in MIcrocomputer Support for the York University Libraries. She is also a past Hackfest participant.

Justin Cuaresma

Justin Cuaresma is with data analysis startup Bitnobi.

Anna St. Onge

Anna St. Onge is the Digital Projects and Outreach Archivist at York University Libraries’ Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections.


Below are some resources, which might aid you in your project.

New to UI and graphic design?
More Data Sets
Free and open datasets on business & economics
  • CANSIM — Statistics Canada’s key socioeconomic database, updated daily.
  • International Monetary Fund — all datasets, including International Financial Statistics, Balance of Payment Statistics, Government Finance Statistics, and Direction of Trade Statistics
  • UNdata — A portal to the many products produced by the United Nationas Statistical Division. The numerous databases, tables and glossaries containing over 60 million data points cover a wide range of themes.
  • World Bank — all datasets, including World Development Indicators (1345 data series in development from 214 countries and 34 country groupings, with data going back to 1960).





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